Cloud Accelerator: top tips when adopting the cloud
The potential impact of a digital single market (DSM) should not be underestimated. Earlier this year, the European Commission (EC) cited that with 315 million Europeans using the internet on a daily basis, its proposed DSM initiative could create up to €415bn in additional growth and new jobs openings.
When it eventually becomes a reality, the EC’s DSM strategy will offer a huge opportunity for businesses to flourish and grow, creating and IT environment that will allow them to sell their services and digital products to consumers from across the entire region. For many organisations it will be an accelerator into the cloud, pushing them to make the investment in this new IT models.
While many organisations have already started using the cloud in a small way (perhaps through tools such as Dropbox or Google Apps), the future requires a far more sophisticated strategy, with a number of significant areas needing to be addressed.
So what are some of the crucial turning points for organisations taking the next step in their cloud strategy?
Choosing between a private cloud and shared cloud:
The first and perhaps most important question to ask is: what do you even mean by cloud? Are you looking to build your own cloud environment? Or to work with a third party provider and tap into their resources? Tailoring you cloud is crucial as one size does not fit all. Cloud computing means freedom and flexibility – organisations should feel free to move between platforms, creating a single IT estate that offers the best possible environment for achieving their business aims.
Understanding the relationship between ‘Data Sovereignty’ and ‘Data Integrity’:
Essentially, it’s about being in control of your data. While many organisations are increasingly concerned over data sovereignty, they are losing sight of the fact that hackers and corporate spies don’t care where the information is stored, they will still try to break in!
And of course, if the worst happens and your data is hacked, it needs to retain its integrity, ensuring that there are no changes to the data.
Building awareness of the distinction between open data and private data:
While all data should be secure organisations need to understand that not everything needs to be kept in strict lockdown. Privacy is important but it can also be a grey area: data issues are nuanced and organisations should think carefully about the real requirement of their data. Not all data is equal, not all data needs the same rules, so ensure you are clear on what data you intend to bring to the cloud.
Ensuring you have an exit route:
No IT strategy can last forever. It’s inevitable that at some point in the relationship between an organisation and its cloud provider will end and data will need to be removed or deleted from the service. Do you trust your provider to hand over all copies of your data?
I’ve noted before that trust is the most important factor in bringing a European cloud to the mainstream and I believe it still remains the decisive issue. My colleague Mick Symonds has also discussed why trust remains at the heart of all major cloud decisions: as an organisation, do you trust your data in the hands of a third–party? The EC’s DSM strategy will, hopefully, help to address some the region’s demands for trust – including transparency, resilience and portability – making it easier for businesses to make the leap into the cloud.
The above list is far from exhaustive and there are certainly other areas that merit consideration. Crucially, organisations need to gain a better insight and understanding of their own business. They need to look at the cloud question from as many angles as possible, only then will they be successful in developing their cloud solution.