Adopting the Cloud: Addressing Management Concerns

Adopting the Cloud: Addressing Management Concerns

Thursday, March 15, 2012 | Dan Blacharski

Members of management often have concerns when faced with the adoption of a cloud computing model for their business.  Many times this is the result of a lack of understanding of the cloud, and this can morph into active resistance if it is not addressed promptly and with facts that address those concerns.  Two central issues arise when most migrations to the cloud are being planned:  Financial considerations and security.   

Most companies that have moved to the cloud report an overall cost reduction of IT, along with the same or better IT capability for less money.  Fujitsu recently commissioned a recent study by Vanson Bourne of 100 CIOs and IT managers.  Not only did the report show strong success rates for initial cloud projects, those surveyed reported an average costs savings of 24% on their projects, with some respondents reporting up to 40%.  A high rate of satisfaction was also reported.  Seventy one percent of those who reported savings said that cloud services had met or exceeded their expectations.  The percentage of respondents that reported no savings was extraordinarily low, at a mere 3%.

Cost in the cloud model is based on user demand.  Instead of a constant fixed expense for IT resources that is inflated by paying for capability that is not being utilised, businesses pay for the resources they actually need and use.  Instead of the necessity of provisioning servers with peak use in mind, IT resources can be added or reduced immediately, depending on the demands of the business.

Security concerns are nearly always named as a significant concern when moving to the cloud, and to some degree, that is rightly so.  At the same time, overwrought fears that result from a lack of understanding of the cloud computing model is of no benefit to a business.  One common concern is that critical and confidential data is more exposed to security breaches if moved to the cloud.  This can be addressed by simply identifying data that is of sufficient sensitivity that it should remain stored on internal servers or a private cloud

Also, most major cloud service providers have large and talented teams of security experts dedicated solely to keeping the cloud secure.  This is something that relatively few businesses can honestly say about their own IT departments.  As the senior director of Cloud Strategy at Avanade, Larry Beck stated, "The cloud is one option, and like any approach it introduces both benefits and risks. But companies can minimise these security challenges and risks by taking a few key actions."  It should be clear to management which data will be migrated and which will not, along with reassurance that all data stored in any kind of cloud model will be securely backed up. 

Perhaps the most persuasive voice concerning a migration to the cloud is from those who have already made the shift.  When participants in the Vanson Bourne study were asked the ultimate question of whether they would recommend cloud services to their peers, over two thirds said that they would.
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