Navigating the Cloud

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Navigating the Cloud (in comfy shoes)

Cloud computing. Everyone has heard of it, but what is it and how do I know it’s right for my business? You might be surprised to know that deciding is almost as easy as buying a new pair of shoes.

Let us start with the most simplistic view of cloud computing. In its simplest form, cloud computing is obtaining a service or resource over the internet. This is nothing new and has been around for decades when you consider having an ISP account gives you an email address. That is in its essence a cloud service, someone maintaining an infrastructure that provides you with a service.

Over the years cloud services have become more prominent and in 2020 it is estimated 94% of enterprises make use of a cloud service in one form or another. The most common cloud services are Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Think about your current enterprise solutions, do you use a cloud service?

Some of the common services are:

· Microsoft Azure

· Amazon AWS

· Office 365

· Google Apps

· Xero


· Dropbox

Straight away you will recognize these names. Most of you will make use of the service provided by one of these reputable companies.

For a long time, the consensus around cloud computing has been indifferent. Some enterprises embrace technology while others are more apprehensive. This is natural with any change in technology when you consider how long it took enterprises to adopt electronic bookkeeping.

On a personal level you use cloud computing more than you realise for example: -

· Email

· Payment Gateways

· Google/Apple Maps

· Banking Apps

· eBay

· The list goes on

At the end of the day we have accepted cloud computing as the norm, and it has infiltrated our lives without question.

When you consider your enterprise, the choice to cloud or not to cloud is not so simple as we have obligations to our clients, compliance regulations and our own fears.

Gartner who are a trusted advisor and objective resource have performed research into cloud adoption in 2020. Here are some statistics compiled by Gartner in relation to adopting cloud computing in 2020:

· 83% of enterprises will be in the cloud by 2020

· 94% of enterprises already use the cloud

· 30% of all IT budgets are allocated to cloud computing

· 50% of enterprises spend more than $1.2 million on cloud services annually

The statistics compile by Gartner are quite confronting if you are not already in the cloud.

Moving to the cloud has many advantages that would benefit the majority of enterprises currently operating. These benefits range from expense, availability, and resources. The list goes on but the question that is paramount to your enterprise is, will cloud computing work for you? The answer is not as simple as a yes or no. There are many barriers between maintaining your business internally and moving to the cloud with a careful analysis of your requirements forming an integral part of the enterprise’s decision.

For those enterprises not currently on the cloud, consider the following:

· What does your current disaster recover (DR) solution look like?

· What is the cost of maintaining your internal infrastructure?

· If I move to the cloud, am I going to have regulatory issues?

· Can I trust a cloud provider?

The questions asked above are only a minute number of considerations that must be considered when deciding about moving to the cloud.

Regardless of which path your enterprise decides to follow it will be successful given the right circumstances with each enterprise having its own requirements that need to be considered and conformed to.

The cloud computing arena has many offerings that may or may not suit your enterprise. Below is a list of pros and cons of moving to a cloud solution.


· Improved disaster recovery

Moving to the cloud makes disaster recovery easier and less expensive, at the end of the day it is now somebody else problem to ensure that your data is safe and can be recovered in its entirety within an acceptable timeframe

· Cost effective

Using a cloud provider reduces your outlay, no longer are you responsible for or have the expense of purchasing a server and other infrastructure to cater for your enterprise or employing a team of IT experts to manage the environment

· Ongoing support and upgrades

Generally speaking, when a cloud service releases an update you will receive it without creating a major ordeal within your enterprise. You get the most up to date functionality and support for the service as it is what the provider is offering

· Environmentally friendly

On average cloud computing can reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint by up to 30%

· Security and Compliance

On the whole, cloud service providers aim to meet or exceed the regulatory requirements of the industry they are involved in


· Internet Connectivity and Performance

Running an enterprise in the cloud is a fantastic option providing you can be assured that you have access to reliable internet connectivity. The loss of internet connectivity has the potential to cripple your enterprise, likewise poor performing internet can reduce your staff’s productivity

· Ongoing costs

As a general rule, IaaS or SaaS is based on a subscription whether it be monthly, yearly or another timeframe. Buying and installing an internal infrastructure is a big upfront cost that can be prohibitive to many enterprises.

· Who do you trust?

With the multitude of cloud providers in the marketplace you need to be sure that your provider is trustworthy and can meet your obligations to your clients and regulatory guidelines, this process can be long and drawn out


There is push by the larger corporations that we depend on to move to the cloud. Take Microsoft for example. Consider this from their point of view, how much easier it is to support an Exchange server when it is on environment that they control. However this is a double edge sword, if something goes awry it is the responsibility of Microsoft to deal with the problem rather than pushing back on your IT personnel to ensure that the problem is not related to the hardware or environment you are running it on.

The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is a case and point example that would sway enterprises toward using a cloud provider, At the end of the day, your staff if required, could more than likely work from home. Obviously, this is a massive coup for an enterprise to ensure they have the chance to operate as per normal.

Choosing cloud or non-cloud is like buying a new pair of shoes, “does it feel comfortable?”, this is a question only you can answer.

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