As new technologies come to our life, it is always tempting to fall under their magic charms. But with the time passing it is important not to stay overwhelmed by “the newest and shiniest thing on the market”, but rather watch out for how it actually works, what risks are implied and if it is actually worth trusting it.
Not long ago, a question was asked on Spiceworks community, and actually got a lot of responses. This is definitely one of the hottest topics in the IT community these days, especially after the Snowden and NSA scandals. In this article you’ll find out what the Spice Heads think about the current state of the Cloud, if they still use Cloud providers and are going to continue adopting the new Cloud Technologies.
According to the Spice Heads, there are several things to consider before deciding, whether to trust a Cloud provider with your own data, or not. Here are the five most important ones:
#1 What Do I Require from a Security Standpoint?
Before you make a decision, whether to rely on a Cloud provider or to build an “in-house” IT infrastructure, you should prioritize your needs. Security, reliability and availability of data should be the first priorities.
Force Flow: For some people/organizations, storing data in the Cloud is great. For others, it’s not so great. It all depends on what your requirements and goals are for storing/retrieving data.
Veet8676: I do feel that using the Cloud or not should depend on how critical and sensitive your data is, and to what extent you are willing to expose it to a third party.
#2 How Sensitive Is My Data?
The next thing you have to define is what kind of data you have: how sensitive it is and how tragic it can be for you to get a leak or to lose it all together. It is important to understand the difference between business information and personal data. It would probably make sense to trust a Cloud service with one kind of data and only rely on an “in-house” and well-controlled system with another.
Gary D Williams: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Cloud is your data, the most important thing you have, on someone else’s hardware and that someone else will not care about your data as you do. Understand that, accept its limitations and you’ll be fine. Expect the Cloud to be a never ending resource of uptime and performance and you will be in for a nasty shock. I don’t trust the Cloud at all but I see its potential and its uses.
Keg: Personal Cloud services have no place in business. The risk is too great for data leakage. No trust whatsoever in the Cloud. Private cloud for me is the way to go.
Jim4232: I know at my level the data security is not quite to the level as most others but I also understand that Cloud services may be in the adolescent period in its level of service and security. Just like anything else it will grow and get better. Just get the best information you can and make the best decision you can based on your future needs, whatever it might be.
#3 Does the Data Belong to Me or to My Company?
Your decision should also depend on your purposes: what suits a private person and the data he might have can be not applicable to a huge enterprise. There is a different degree of risk, and the losses, caused by a leakage, can be tremendously incomparable. But it seems, that most of IT guys share a thought, that SaaS as well as Cloud are most suitable for small and medium-sized business, as opposing to an Enterprise market.
Kris (Spiceworks): SaaS is just the way things are going to be. I see absolutely no reason for SMB/Mid-market organizations to run their own Exchange infrastructure, for example. Unless the organization is willing to invest in full-time domain experts in Exchange (along with all of the supporting hardware and software), then SaaS providers will do it better. They will have purpose-built data centers, trained staff, and Exchange expertise. That goes for most other LOB applications as well, including CRM (Salesforce), HRM/Finance, etc. We should embrace these services and utilize them to their full extent. Security worries should just go away. I guarantee Salesforce will do a much better job at securing customer data than a lone IT guy with no formal background in info-sec.
SD_GS500E: If you have data you’re going to be responsible for, I don’t trust the Cloud any further than I can throw it. As for SaaS, I do think that poses a lot of promise for small companies.
#4 How Do I Approach My Data?
It is important to decide, how and when you access your data. This can help you make the right choice about how to handle it and where to store it.
Rich_Bruklis: The Cloud is essentially a remote data center. It can be vulnerable to outage and security issues. You would think that a ‘name brand’ Cloud will invest to prevent just about anything bad from occurring. In that case, I would probably trust the Cloud a bit more than my own data center (I can’t afford dual redundant generators, triple network connections, etc). As far as security, I think the Cloud folks have enough in place to make it as good as if not better than what I have. Good security starts at home. If you have a good strategy and tactics locally, I am pretty sure that can translate to the Cloud.
# 5 What Is the Cost vs. Benefit Ratio?
When it comes to cost, you should ask yourself these questions:
- How will I deal with Cloud service outrages?
- What downtime can I afford?
- Is it really important for me to know, where my data is actually stored?
If you are relatively flexible on these things, then a Cloud provider might suit you well. Plus, it is cheaper in most cases.
Gravesender: There was a considerable debate about Cloud vs. in-house for Exchange. We opted for in-house for a number of reasons:
1. We lack affordable access to reliable internet connectivity with decent bandwidth. This has been a chronic problem since I started here 10 years ago. Our in-house Exchange lets most folks keep working if we lose outside connectivity. Shared calendars and such are very important here. On the other hand, our sales manager was a big advocate of the Cloud because he could, in theory, remain in touch through his smart phone if anything went wrong with our server or connectivity.
2. The boss has a suspicious nature and doesn’t trust the Cloud.
3. As far as operating costs go, once we got Exchange going, it pretty much runs itself. I have to maintain an in-house network for some LOB applications that are not really suitable for the Cloud, so I have to be here in any case.
So, as you can see, everyone has their own reasons to blame or defend Cloud providers and SaaS. But it is important to understand, what kind of data do you have and also don’t omit, that there are always risks in giving your data to someone else even if it is a trusted contractor. Just don’t forget, that the best choice is always based on your needs and not on what seems to be the trendiest thing out there.
What do you think about the Cloud services? What role does Cloud have in your company?