Evaluating Your Cloud Options

John Storts
Slide Show

Is Your Cloud Provider Enterprise-ready?

10 questions that IT organizations should be asking cloud computing providers before signing on the dotted line.

Usually, the phrase "head in the clouds" is used to mean that a person was caught daydreaming or is otherwise not engaged with what's going on or the topic at hand. But, when the subject is cloud computing, and when the task at hand is to gain information in order to make a choice for your company, you'll find that solid research on your options is critical. In other words, you'll need to have your head in the cloud to make good decisions.


Last week, I recommended the National Institute of Standards and Technology's PowerPoint presentation on using cloud technology effectively and securely. While that presentation contained a wealth of information about cloud computing in a format that's easily used in training programs or project briefings, the NIST has contributed an even more robust, cloud-focused document to further inform decision-making and promote cloud-tech understanding by providing greater detail.


The NIST "Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations" document, still in the draft stage and available for public comment, offers an in-depth look at the concepts and issues related to cloud computing, starting with its own evolving definition of cloud computing (one which I find a bit more accessible and jargon-free than others out there):

Cloud computing allows computer users to conveniently rent access to fully featured applications, to software development and deployment environments, and to computing infrastructure assets such as network-accessible data storage and processing.

From there, the immensely informative document goes on to:

  • Describe cloud computing benefits as well as issues surrounding its adoption
  • Give an overview of the major classes of cloud technology
  • Explain deployment models, service models, economic considerations, operational characteristics, service-level agreements and security concerns
  • Present recommendations on and guidelines for how businesses and other organizations should evaluate cloud risks and benefits


Use the NIST's insight and recommendations to make sure you understand the strengths and weaknesses inherent in cloud computing solutions before committing money, time and other valuable resources.

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