By Jose Cornejo
There’s no doubt that the Cloud has many attractions for the network. It can help you to build an information service that’s everywhere you need it, that runs every application your users want, and that’s scalable, flexible, and manageable enough to support the Instant-On Enterprise.
But not every network is cloud-ready, and not every organization will want to head towards a usage-based cost model. Here are three important questions to help you decide whether a cloud environment is for you.
1. Do you have business systems that can benefit from the flexibility and adaptability of a cloud-based utility system? Not every business system is for every company. If you have rigid business applications with many limitations, your ability to really make things happen may be fairly limited.
On the other hand, if you have applications that ramp up very quickly or that have batch processing modes and capabilities that allow them to run a lot of transactions, you can quickly benefit really from a cloud-based environment. Part of the idea of cloud is that the infrastructure will adapt to your requirements. You don't necessarily have to pay for very high-end equipment upfront; instead, you pay for it on a usage model. You don’t have to worry about “am I going to have to build a much bigger infrastructure in order to be able to accommodate those spurts of data?”
2. What are your compliance challenges? Regulatory issues may make you think carefully about whether your business information should be held in a shared-base model. Sarbanes-Oxley, with its far-reaching implications for financial data, springs to mind; or perhaps you’re subject to Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards. Don’t assume that a cloud environment is incapable of meeting your compliance needs for these, or any other, mandates. But be prepared to dig deep by developing strong Role Based Access Control Mechanisms and mature governance processes to manage the data, infrastructure and administration policies for the overall IT Echo System.
3. What is your risk appetite? There are risks beyond compliance that need careful consideration, too. For some organizations, no amount of guarantees from a third-party provider will be enough to persuade them to turn over critical business applications; they will always choose to keep them within their own data center and under their direct control. You need to be totally confident that the provider has the right controls in place to safeguard your data from being compromised.
Bear in mind, though, that there are tradeoffs between risk and flexibility. If you run your operation under the strictest, most rigid policies, your flexibility as it relates to leveraging a shared infrastructure model, regardless of data classification, may be basically insignificant. The most successful organizations are aware of this delicate balance, and structure their risks accordingly.
It’s also true, unfortunately, that some companies face severe challenges in managing their information internally. These organizations will likely be especially fearful of turning to a third-party provider because they don’t even know what information they have!
If you’re interested in finding answers to these and many other questions about Cloud for your network, check out the HP Assessment for Cloud Ready Networking; see my blog post Is Your Network Ready for Cloud Computing? Here’s How to Find Out.
Read more about HP Network Services and how we can help you get the most from your network.