I've increasingly begun storing personal files off-site using services like Google Docs, Dropbox and Flickr, but I still don't quite feel comfortable doing so. Worries about security, availability and privacy nag at me. I sometimes find myself having serious doubts about transferring so much of my digital life into the hands of what could be untrustworthy, self-interested third parties.
I wonder if this general sense of doubt is one factor in the slow transition of both personal and business data and infrastructure into the much-vaunted cloud. People and organizations alike must trust cloud services to protect their institutional knowledge, to be dependable and to have the longevity to provide a return on investment.
IT Business Edge's Arthur Cole notes that cloud-watchers like ZDNet's Phil Wainwright view the transition as an ongoing process whose technology may have been over-hyped last year, but is no fad. Cole asserts that the flexibility of virtual and cloud environments makes for a more responsive enterprise. But, he also agrees that security and reliability are paramount to cloud adoption in business.
Furthermore, Solstice Consulting's J. Schwan argues that cloud computing "provides a compelling pricing structure that takes advantage of the concept of economies of scale" in a way that's already gaining huge traction. The cost-savings potential alone will prod more companies to evaluate cloud technologies and services. Finally, slow as the shift may be, Simon Wardley of UK software firm Canonical predicts the move to the cloud is "unavoidable."
IT managers looking to expand understanding of the cloud and its potential for their organizations should take advantage of our Knowledge Network resources. The Cloud Computing Checklist provides a list of what users should look for in a cloud, focusing on factors such as architecture, reliability, availability, capacity and reporting capability. Armed with information, IT decision-makers can approach cloud computing with a minimum of doubt.
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