Forrester Research reported a couple of years ago that corporate executives typically cited security fears as the primary reason they were avoiding any IT changes that would include cloud computing service providers. But, at the same time, Forrester also predicted that cloud computing would quickly become the most-favored solution, thanks to its ability to provide robust security. Digital insurance, if you will.
Just the fact of migrating applications to the cloud enables you to centralize data enterprise-wide. And that makes control and overall management easier. For some wary execs, construction of a private cloud can represent a more palatable solution, because private clouds are established via virtualized data centers inside the company’s own firewall. You retain direct control.
For most enterprises, private clouds aren’t necessarily the ultimate solution. But they can offer a more comfortable start, giving your company a chance to try out cloud computing and work out lingering concerns before moving toward cheaper public cloud adoption.
Digital insurance starts with carefully vetting cloud computing service providers.
Providers differ in their capabilities and expertise, but they all have one thing in common: their business would cease to exist if they weren’t able to provide customers with top-level security and reliable performance.
Nonetheless, it’s incumbent on you as a prospective client to ask the right questions before contracting with any cloud computing service providers, to ensure you’re choosing partners who have what it takes to meet your needs and whom you fully trust. You’re protecting your own data, but also your customers’ confidential business or personal information, so only the best will do.
In addition to that fundamental motivation of business survival, cloud computing service providers have the advanced equipment and technologies, leading-edge training, knowledge of all the latest industry trends and best practices, time and other resources necessary to maintain a first class security environment.
Securing your IT environment extends beyond infrastructure protection:
Complex data issues.
All types and sizes of companies are grappling with concerns about how to safely and effectively integrate a widening array of devices and data access points, along with how to handle storing and managing rapidly increasing volumes or data. Increasingly, government entities and certain industries are requiring companies to meet strict compliance and reporting standards to ensure sensitive customer data is fully protected.
Performance and up-time.
You have to protect your organization’s ongoing ability to access reliable, top-quality services, in order to ensure competitive performance. Diminished functionality can be as debilitating as a security breach, in a global business environment where agility is king. And in an unforgiving online environment, down time is a problem that goes straight to your bottom line.
You can lose sales if impatient shoppers have to wait even an extra second or two for a page to load. Far worse, however, is the potential – and potentially permanent – damage to your company’s brand and reputation. In fact one survey of IT managers showed that while 43% expressed concern about losing revenue, almost 80% feared the intangible costs of poor customer-facing performance.
These issues do not argue against adopting cloud-based solutions, they merely reinforce the need to choose cloud computing service providers wisely. Furthermore, many potential security threats aren’t any different with cloud computing than they are in other IT environments. As with most risk management issues, common sense and vigilance are as important as formalized processes and specialized technologies.
Industry experts suggest your best bet is to be realistic. Assume something might go wrong, because sooner or later it will. But if you choose the right cloud computing service providers and design your systems to respond swiftly and comprehensively when a failure occurs, you’ll have all the digital insurance you could hope to have. At least until the next best thing comes along.