What Does the Cloud Mean for You? Is it for Everyone or Every Situation?

By - November 19, 2013

Part 2 -Welcome to the Cloud! Series

This is the second in a series of blog entries about Cloud Computing.  Over the next several months, RSM will deliver a series of posts about the opportunities that the Cloud presents to business organizations like your own.

So what does the cloud mean for you? 

Among the immediate benefits:

  • The Cloud presents a number of cost saving opportunities for many organizations.  When you start considering the server room, hardware and personnel costs required to keep many information technology solutions running, the Cloud often presents a cheaper alternative.
  • Beyond cost savings, the Cloud can also transform how you spend money on technology.  On premise technology generally requires significant, cash-flow impacting capital expenditures.  Cloud offerings are operating expenditures that are more easily predictable and increase or decrease often based upon month-to-month use.  No more three-year depreciation lock-in on user licensing and underutilized equipment!
  • The ongoing utilization of technology becomes less of a headache.  How many times have you undergone painful infrastructure or application upgrades (Microsoft Office, anyone)?  Many Cloud offerings include mandatory upgrades as part of your ongoing subscription.  When you leave the office today you might be on one version of Microsoft Office and when you arrive in the office tomorrow you will be on the next version.
  • The Cloud provides a great solution for businesses whose volume explodes well beyond the norm at times.  Rather than build out a highly elaborate, expansive environment that will handle peak volumes that occur during holiday shopping periods and are unused the other eleven months of the year, engage the Cloud and pay more for that month and less for the others.
  • Cloud offerings can place best-of-breed technology solutions within the reach of even small-to-midsized businesses.  Cloud solutions are devised to serve all types of businesses from the largest to the smallest.  As large businesses demand robust capabilities from their Cloud providers, small businesses benefit from enhanced functionality of which the lion’s share has been paid from by the larger businesses.

Is the Cloud for everyone or every situation? 

No.  A few reasons why the Cloud may not be for all of your technology needs today:

  • As ubiquitous as the Internet might be, there are still rural areas whose connectivity is poor enough that putting critical, day-to-day business applications in the Cloud might not make sense.
  • It can often be difficult to put highly customized technology solutions into the Cloud because of its typical multi-tenant structure and the difficulties of keeping customizations working in an environment that frequently upgrades itself.
  • Different businesses have different legal or regulatory requirements.  Industries or solutions that are heavily regulated with HIPAA, PCI, FDIC, Homeland Security and other requirements might be difficult fits for the Cloud.  The contractual considerations of the Cloud are extremely important as well.  Understanding your rights as relates to your Cloud provider as well as the steps they are taking to ensure the security and availability of your critical business data are important.

So how does one go about starting to consider how they can best utilize the Cloud?  We suggest a high-level Cloud Rapid Assessment that helps you consider what opportunities and risks the Cloud presents to your business towards the development of a roadmap to the Cloud.

Looking for more details?  Stay tuned for upcoming posts discussing specific business applications and gotchas for the Cloud.  More information can also be found at RSM’s web site. Please revisit this blog in the next few weeks for the next Cloud post in our series which will discuss the virtues of Public Cloud offerings versus Private Cloud offerings. For more information on cloud computing please contact RSM’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.

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