Even though Cloud Computing can greatly benefit both small and medium sized businesses by making accessible and affordable the kind of infrastructure traditionally reserved to large companies, not all is as trouble-free as it may seem, and some considerations must be observed. Leasing services instead of buying them makes a lot of sense for most companies, and having unlimited accessibility, immediate deployment, and easy scalability without having to implement or even administer any type of server software, might seem like a dream come true, but we need to be aware that Cloud Computing also comes with potential logistic and security issues we should be concerned with.
First of all we need to understand that Cloud Computing is not a new technology, but just a new delivery model. We also need to understand that neither are new many of the risks and issues associated with Cloud Computing, and therefore adopting a risk-based approach to our strategic planning should be the first point on our agenda.
Because applications reside in the cloud, there are less opportunities for customization, which may add an extra layer of complexity when integrating cloud services with existing legacy environments. Moving to a cloud environment will require more emphasis on business design, focusing first on eliminating any technical obstacles.
We must also be aware that because all infrastructure will depend on external internet services, we will be totally dependent on the performance of those services, which ultimately means that any interruption will affect us directly, and critical information may not be readily available in the event of a disaster. That’s why is so important to make provisions for business continuity and disaster recovery plans first.
Performance should also be another point of greatest concern, and we need to ensure that guaranteed service levels are achieved, specially in those environments where multiple service providers are employed. Slower performance shouldn’t be a possibility and failure of a service provider to perform to expected service levels should be the definite signal for the termination of a contract.
Perhaps the biggest of concerns when it comes to Cloud Computing is Security. Channeling confidential information through third party networks essentially means that we are opening at least some doors to sensitive information. This can pose a significant threat to ensuring the protection of the company’s property, and we should make sure that service providers meet privacy requirements. The security of the cloud ultimately depends on who is your provider.