The cloud – is it for everyone?

The cloud has been the buzz word in the IT space for 3 years now and if an organisation was to look around, you would be lead to believe that if you haven’t moved into the cloud you have missed the boat.

The question that needs to be asked is should all organisations be moving to the cloud? What benefits will it bring to your organisation?

Although some organisations can benefit from the cloud, the cloud is definitely not right for everyone.

In a nutshell, the benefit of moving to a cloud solution means that an organisation can outsource some if not all of its components of its business to a hosted provider. The comes in many forms, ranging from Software as a Service (SaaS) through to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

It can reduce the upfront cost of implementing a server or project and you can generally have a predictable ongoing cost.

With those benefits, it’s easy to see why a lot of organisations both large and small are deciding to jump into the cloud.

This brings me back to the original question- is cloud everyone? The answer is no and some might be surprised that the reason behind this is not the ongoing costs.

Two of the reasons not to move to the cloud are:

  1. Application Compatibility
    To utilise the cloud, data (at a bare minimum) needs to be in the cloud. This means that in some cases the way your application is used will differ to the way it used to be. In other cases the same applications will not work in a cloud environment. When this happens, users will tend to work around the problem by partly using the cloud and partly using local infrastructure.
    Another example is mapped network drives. For them to be useful you will need to have a fast enough link that will be capable of transferring the files from the cloud to your local desktop and not delay the user experience.
  2. Cloud Connectivity
    While most organisations will be impacted quite considerably if their link to the Internet was down, it generally doesn’t stop the business. If you have moved your business applications to the cloud and your Internet connection is disconnected, how will your business continue? In a lot of cases it will not unless you have a secondary method to connect to the Internet.
    This means your connection to the Internet becomes business critical, as it is the central point that will bring your organisation to a halt. There are ways to alleviate this. Organisations need to consider this at the onset and include all these costs in evaluating if moving to the cloud is right for them.

It is interesting to note that this information is not often raised in discussion reports!

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