Organizations need to plan carefully how they transfer important IT resources and enterprise applications to the cloud to sidestep potential problems, according to one industry expert at a Ziff Davis Enterprise Digital University presentation.
Although the cloud-computing
market is growing rapidly, organizations should take a measured and deliberate
approach to how they adopt the cloud.
That was the key takeaway
from Jim Reavis' opening keynote on megatrends in cloud computing at
"Cloud Computing: Securely Moving From the Fringes to the
Mainstream," a Ziff Davis Enterprise Digital University presentation on
June 22. Reavis, the executive director of the Cloud Security Alliance,
addressed why enterprises are moving applications to the cloud and discussed
the importance of properly planning the migration.
Cloud computing empowers people within an organization, Reavis said, noting that anyone with a
credit card can now get the computing resources they need. With the cloud, IT
and line-of-business departments can be agile and open up more opportunities.
"This is a revolution.
We need to think about it that way, not as the death of IT," Reavis said.
Organizations are attracted
to the cloud's promise of greater efficiency. Regardless of what is being
moved, such as migrating email operations to the cloud, it's "not
unusual" to hear companies claim metrics of "six to 10 times more
efficient," when discussing the cloud, according to Reavis.
There are also significant cost
, as high as 75 percent, among organizations. The federal government
recently claimed cost savings of as much as 90 percent, Reavis said, noting
that the amount included time saved, benefits from getting to the market
quickly and reduced development costs.
Many organizations think
about moving applications to the cloud and take the outsourcing mindset, and
don't think about the underlying architecture. There are a lot of nuances about
the cloud, and organizations have to do proper assessment and think through
their responsibilities, Reavis said.
The Cloud Security Alliance,
a "social network and professional organization" of people interested
in the cloud, offers various best-practices documents and a "pretty good
primer on things to think through," Reavis said. Organizations can take
advantage of the guidance tools on the site to make sure they are addressing
their specific concerns and needs, such as application security, virtualization
and operations. Otherwise, there will be issues, "and lots of
fingerpointing," Reavis said.
There are trust issues, and
transparency is one of them. Organizations have compliance concerns and questions
about making sure their data is protected. For small and midsize businesses,
the cloud will always provide more security than they could ever manage on
their own, Reavis said. For larger enterprises, they need to request the
provider do specific security tasks to fit their requirements.
There has been some downtime
with cloud providers
, but it "hasn't been that bad," Reavis said.
Most of the problems have been the result of people not doing their due
diligence in planning for business continuity and disaster recovery.
Organizations are beginning to realize that, and there has been a "lot of
learning" as they go back to ask those questions, figure out how to get redundancy
and look at their contracts, according to Reavis.
There's a learning curve,
but it's one that is reasonable, Reavis said.
There is a sense that the
cloud will result in IT professionals getting laid off. Reavis said the cloud
actually has a greater need for skilled IT folks, and provides an opportunity
for professionals to update and enhance their existing skill sets. Moving to
the cloud will hit people with primarily operations skills the hardest, such as
desktop management, as those jobs will be pushed out to the cloud provider.
However, IT departments will continue to need analysts and people with a strong
understanding of how to optimize the cloud, Reavis said.
The virtual show was a
digital university event for Ziff Davis Enterprise.