Cloudy Days Ahead

6/13/2012

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past three or four years you know that ‘The Cloud’ tops the list of growth areas in IT.  Many vendors now offer organizations the opportunity to move your data and LoB apps into the cloud.  Microsoft also has plenty to offer in the cloud, both by creating your own private cloud and taking advantage of Windows Azure.  In fact Microsoft now has cloud specific certifications.

I generally don’t like the role of prophet, but if I were you I’d start learning all I can about cloud computing.  Unlike others before me I will not predict the ‘Death of the PC’ but I will say this, cloud computing is the next evolutionary step in application and data access.   Why should you be required to carry a high-end laptop when a tablet with access to ‘the cloud’ can do the same tasks and more? 

As an IT person perhaps one of the many burdens you carry is keeping applications secured and up to date.  Third party cloud based apps are managed by your cloud  vendor.  Think about a world where when you add users to Active Directory it automatically syncs with the cloud to create required connectivity to all of your other services. 

Do you provide VPN access?  Why?  If your users can reach the could with a simple https connection and your apps and data are ‘cloud enabled’ then just run them through your SharePoint portal.  Oh, SharePoint?  In the cloud.  Application servers, database servers, email servers, web servers all in the cloud.  How much more time would your IT staff have if they were allowed to not have to deal with server and client software issues?  What kind of amazing projects could you accomplish to grow the company’s bottom line if many mundane tasks were removed from your plate?  How much of your time is used in putting out fires? Get a tablet or laptop with a basic OS, when it has issues just push down a current image and get it back onto the cloud.  No application reinstalls, no updates and where did the image come from?  The cloud.

I know at this point some of you are freaking out.  WHAT?  Put my DATA in the CLOUD???  Is it secure?  What happens if I can’t reach the Internet?  What about all of the stories of companies losing data? 

Let me make a few simple statements:

  1. Cloud computing isn’t going away anytime soon.
  2. Just like any new technology there will be some issues to overcome.
  3. Complete due diligence before deciding to move any sensitive information to the cloud.
  4. Get recommendations from folks who are already in the cloud.
  5. Test extensively with various users from many locations, both for access and security.
  6. Talk to your legal/compliance department to be sure you are following all regulatory requirements.
  7. Consider updating your privacy policy to account for both customer and employee data being stored in the cloud.
  8. Get on the bandwagon or you WILL be left behind!

Ready to ‘get your head in the cloud’?  🙂  Check out the following brand new classes offered by LRS Education Services!

Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012

Private Cloud Configuration and Deployment with System Center 2012

Have a great day!

-Troy