Cool Solutions

Does Convenience Trump Fear of the Cloud



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June 29, 2010 5:11 am

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I hear an awful lot of fear about cloud computing in my work here on the Cloud Formations blog, when I go to conferences, and wherever CIOs and IT folks gather, but I don’t ever hear about this fear from users, who are tickled to have the convenience the cloud provides. Are users deluded? Are IT pros paranoid? Or is it somewhere likely in the middle (like so many things).

Can’t Argue with Convenience

The cloud provides a convenient place to store, share and collaborate with colleagues and friends. Services like Dropbox let you easily store and share files in the Cloud. Others like Box.net provide a collaboration platform in the Cloud, one that grows in sophistication with each new release. With tools like these, I sync my files to the cloud, and I pick them up anywhere I have internet access, whether that’s my cell phone, my office or a business machine at my hotel. You are never without your files because they are always there for you, ready to access whenever you need them.

Security, Privacy, Control

IT on the other hand, looks at this convenience and sees all the things that can go wrong when you distribute files outside the firewall. There are issues of keeping the file secure as it travels over the internet, maintaining the privacy of the individuals using the service (and those who could be named in the files ). When it leaves the firewall, the files leave the control of IT and that understandably concerns IT pros, but is the fear warranted or is it a gut reaction to a primal loss of control?

Craig Carpenter, VP of marketing at eDiscovery software vendor Recommind thinks there is an economic imperative to carefully review your concerns about cloud computing to see if they are valid or not for your organization. He says a lot of the concerns are “gut-level,” but under closer examination, many concerns turn out to be “red herrings.” He says companies need to explore cloud options because “it’s more cost-effective in spite of the risks.”

Carpenter says his company offers a cloud option for eDiscovery and nobody is more security-conscious than attorneys, but they too are beginning to see the advantages of using a cloud option. As eDiscovery data grows inside the enterprise, does it make more sense to let Recommind (or other cloud vendor) grow the data center for you, or to continue to watch data center costs escalate with no end in sight?

No Easy Answers

Of course, the argument could go on forever, but as companies get more comfortable with the cloud, we will begin to see more types of data moved to that model. There is no perfect solution to any computer problem, but you have to weigh the costs versus the benefits and decide which risk is bigger: the growing costs of maintaining your own data center or the fear of losing control of data outside the firewall? My guess is convenience and cost trumps fear in most cases.

What do you think? Is moving your data to the cloud too big a risk or is it worth it for convenience and cost savings?

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2 Comments

  1. By:FlyingGuy

    Of course the VP of marketing of a company selling cloud services is going to say;

    ” but under closer examination, many concerns turn out to be “red herrings.” He says companies need to explore cloud options because “it’s more cost-effective in spite of the risks.”

    Oh look that person is afraid of the “Cloud” lets point of how foolish they are for even having such concerns and not ascribing to our “economic imperative”. I wonder what the opposite of FUD is because if I could come up with the polar opposite of FUD and have it be taken with the same gravitas then that is the message he is spreading.

    He wants to sell you something and it is his job to steer any conversation concerning the very real issues of data integrity, security, reliability and many other topics to the bottom line. This guys target audience are not IT people, his target audience is accountants and other people who’s sole concern is profit.

    Running grade C mortgage paper was very cost effective in spite of the risks and look where that got us. You and the people you quote do not speak to the risks you only speak to cost and profit and the alleged benefits.

    Write an article that addresses the risks involved, an example of a company who tried it and said, “This is not working” and what they did to get their data back. Take one of the companies you espouse and tell us about their backup strategy, their disaster recovery plan, their plan to give you back your data in a usable format should you change your mind.

    Write something besides yet another marketing blurb then you might get more believers especially from the IT people.

  2. By:rsmiller510

    Actually, Recommind sells cloud services as part of their offering, but they are not a cloud vendor per se. They are a well known eDiscovery software vendor, so it’s not really fair to throw this criticism at Carpenter.

    He would be just as happy, I’m sure if you bought his in-house installation as his cloud option, so that’s just not a fair accusation.

    I tried to present a balanced view of the pros and cons of the Cloud and why IT folks might be reluctant to use it. You chose to concentrate only on the part that suggests you look carefully at your reasons for rejecting the cloud.

    Carpenter in no way stated that all concerns are invalid, only that when you look at it closely you find sometimes your fears aren’t warranted.

    I’m not writing marketing for anyone. Just using a very knowledgable person as a source.

    Thanks for commenting.

    Ron

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