The world of business has changed with rapidly evolving market dynamics and high customer expectations. Modern customers demand fast, responsive and tailored-made services. To remain relevant in this changing landscape and to secure future growth, enterprises are adopting cloud service delivery models.
Cloud offers agile, flexible and scalable pay-per-use service delivery models. For today’s IT enterprises, cloud is a great operating model, offering automated tools that are fine-tuned for scalable performance, quick deployment and building business capabilities. By moving their IT enterprise to the cloud, organizations can explore next generation business models that ensure a streamlined efficient IT infrastructure as well as innovative channels for customer engagement, self-service social media tools for collaboration and business analytic tools for strategic planning. The most important thing to note here is that enterprises no longer look at cloud as an isolated technology but as a key platform for driving business growth. While there are many cloud solutions – ranging from private to public to hybrid cloud – the intent behind the adoption is always the same: better business performance. However, IT enterprises need to make a critical assessment of the associated benefits and risks before jumping onto the cloud bandwagon.
There is no doubt that moving the IT enterprise to the cloud can result in a number of tactical advantages for organizations. However, the move is not without some risks – the biggest of which are security and privacy. Public cloud in particular is an area that not many enterprises are ready to step into given its multi-tenant environment. As the 2013 Target data breach showed, not only are such incidents damaging in terms of information lost, but they also cost the company dearly in terms of reputation and customer perception. Regulatory compliance and governance is another concern with cloud models. Non-compliance with relevant industry regulations and local laws can result in legal problems for organizations. Added to these are concerns relating to accountability, control and even costs.
Cloud models are revolutionizing the way IT resources are managed, operated, and consumed. Cloud models help an enterprise to scale up performance of its IT resources. It can be a true blessing for a small enterprise setting out on a growth path because it means that resources can be provisioned immediately when needed, suspended when no longer required, and most importantly, billed only when used. This on-demand service model enables enterprises to make judicious utilization of their infrastructural assets by lowering costs and increasing capacity to handle business peaks. Cloud also promotes greater optimization and utilization of IT assets allowing enterprises to do more with less. This reduces capital expenses and saves significantly on costs. Thus, cloud lowers IT costs through a faster, flexible and cheaper delivery of IT services within an enterprise. It also provides overall better performances for IT operations by simplifying the underlying infrastructure resources to lesser standardized products, technologies and platforms. This reduces operational complexities on one hand, and gives organizations the much needed ability to build business capabilities on the other.
However, the move to the cloud is not without its pitfalls. The real question before organizations is that of balance. Do the risks outweigh the benefits? Are the benefits worth taking the risks? And most importantly, are the risks manageable? It is a good idea to spend some time and effort in structuring a cloud strategy which will help in achieving the desired costs, performance and business goals without compromising on the security risks.