Cloud Computing Strategy – Do You Have One?
With the release of IOS 5 for Apple mobile products, interest in cloud computing is at an all time high.
Firstly what the heck is cloud computing? Well…it is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product. Think of your data, software and processing being delivered like electricity over a network. It doesn’t matter which socket you plug into, your appliance just works. It’s the same with cloud computing. Your email comes to you wherever you are connected through a wired network, wireless or 3G, now imagine all your computing requirements working like that.
So what are the benefits?
Work anywhere you have internet access. If you and your team are on the move this is
a huge advantage. I have a vision of running 3D Business Boot Camp from the cockpit of a yacht in the Mediterranean.
Data backups. With your data stored off site you don’t need to worry about secure
backup, investing in additional memory and remembering to actually do it.
Lower investment in programs. Why invest in the latest version of Microsoft
Office when you can use Google Docs, CRM (customer relationship management) when you can use Salesforce.com. When you take on a new employee you don’t have to buy a new suite of licences.
Lower hardware costs. You don’t need the fastest machine with loads
of memory, just ones that run the interface efficiently.
Reduced IT support costs. Fewer potential program conflicts, no need to upgrade versions as often.
More office and desk space. Having your data stored off site saves physical space.
Now the downside!
Data security and privacy. Someone else has your data. If you have a retentive personality type this will freak you out. Make sure you use a highly reputable provider.
Data ownership. Who actually owns the data and who can use it? For example there have been issues with Facebook using photos. Make sure you read the fine print…as always.
Downtime. What happens if your provider suffers an outage? Again look at the fine print and guarantee. Amazon S3 (simple service solutions) guarantees 99.999999999% durability and will work with concurrent loss of two facilities.
Monthly costs. Most cloud based services charge a monthly fee. These can very quickly add up and wipe out savings on hardware and software.
Before you dive in and place you data and your head, in the clouds have a plan!
Goal: What do you want to accomplish with a move to the clouds;
Reality: What have you been doing so far and what was the result (good, average or bad). Is there a reason to change?
Options: What are you options for the various applications you use or would like to migrate to;
Will: Decide what you are going
to do and set a time frame.
What do you use?
I am always amazed by how many cloud applications there are. Here are the ones I like
Personal Finance: Mint.com
Data management: Dropbox.com, YouTube, AmazonS3, Google, Apple iCloud
Share what you have tried, use and would recommend.
Feel free to post a comment.