Moving Your Systems to the Cloud
The IT industry is promoting cloud computing and online applications as the new normal for computing, and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you have heard how it is supposed to make our computing lives ever so much better. Hiding under that rock might also have spared you from reading about the various failures and outages which impact users, forcing them to make do without the online solutions they have become so reliant upon. It’s surprising, but not unimaginable, that businesses rely so heavily on applications and services that didn’t even exist a few short years ago.
The potential benefits of a cloud computing model are many, but the risks are equally significant and should not be minimized. Included in the risk assessment should be a review of the application software in use, and consider whether or not it is meeting the needs of the business. Where and how the software runs is much less of an issue than the functionality and process support it provides – most “legacy” applications can be run in a hosted environment, making remote access and managed service part of the service model. There is risk in changing business applications – risk of data loss, changed or broken data relationships, lost productivity, and more. Many businesses would benefit by running their applications in a cloud hosted model while continuing to utilize the software solutions their operation relies on.
Application hosting models are often overlooked when businesses go looking for cloud-based IT solutions, often due to the fact that they’re shopping for software and the platform. With a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution, the software and the platform are combined and, together, are the service. With application hosting models, the software is the same software a business would traditionally run on PCs and servers, but the applications are installed and managed on the service provider platform. The customer connects to the platform, and runs the applications and accesses the data in much the same manner as previously. The difference – the benefit – is the management and protection of the platform, and the user mobility it allows. The unspoken benefit – you can still “take your ball and go home” if it doesn’t work out.
Removing the first adoptive barriers – those related to Internet-based computing, managing a mobile workforce, and outsourcing IT service – allows the business to experience the benefits attached to cloud computing models without introducing unnecessary risk through unneeded change.