4 major considerations for leveraging public cloud


My previous blog post, 5 Key messages for Cloud Adopters talked about the importance of public cloud for businesses.  Many businesses that initially said they would never use public clouds are starting to see the importance and value.  The pressure to “do more with less” is getting CIOs to start thinking seriously about leveraging their budgets in the most efficient manner.

To do this effectively, CIOs must determine what work they should go after and what work they should outsource to the public clouds. This requires a shift in IT business culture.  IT needs to go from being a provider of services to a broker of services. This transition is critical because today’s lines of business, rather than IT, are leading the move to cloud. Lines of business are much more focused on providing a function rather than protecting the company, and as a result they are not the best at determining which cloud providers are appropriate for the business.

Since IT is responsible for protecting the business, in addition to providing function, CIOs must vet appropriate service providers to determine who can provide function with the security, availability, and disaster recovery requirements, at a price point that fits the business. This will allow IT to determine what they can do externally versus what can be done internally. Successful CIOs and IT architects will be able to look at the services that they can find externally and augment them with services that they can provide internally.

So what are top considerations when making the move to public cloud?  Here are the basic points I discuss with clients:

1.   How will you deal with the service if the provider is unavailable?

  • If the service provider disappeared, what would you do?
  • Is the provider solvent?  What keeps them active?
  • How much of your data, is retrievable?
  • If the company folds what is your contingency plan?

2.   How will the provider deal with disaster?

  • Do they have a good disaster recovery plan? If not, can I provide the same service across multiple service providers?
  • Can I spread the work across multiple providers and keep them in sync?

3.   What are the security requirements for this application?

  • Does the service level agreement ensure that the data is protected, and the systems will not be compromised?

4.   How often are you going to be auditing the service provider?

  • Do they perform self audits?
  • How can I ensure that this provider will follow the compliance issues that I must follow?

Originally, CIOs thought that cloud would allow them to worry less about IT infrastructure. What they must come to realize is that while they may worry less about the bits and bytes of the infrastructure, they still need to worry about the infrastructure as a whole.

These 4 considerations barely scratch the surface of what needs to be done when making the move to public cloud, but they point to the myriad of things that should be considered when making the transition.

Frank De Gilio is the Chief Cloud Architect for IBM STG. With over 30 years experience, Frank is focused on providing enterprise wide cloud solutions to clients who are interested in leveraging their IT to be more cost effective and agile. His unique approach looks at an enterprises holistic requirements on cloud, uniting the development, operational and business aspects of the cloud deployment model to ensure that a business is looking at all of the implications of implementing the technology.

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