What is the fastest developing area of IT that is taking the biggest chunk of your budget? If you said Cloud Computing then you are right. Spending on cloud systems, both for storage and the use of applications, is soaring. A recent survey indicated that cloud now accounts for a quarter of all IT budgets globally.
That’s enormous – a quarter of all IT spending globally?
However, it’s not a surprise when you consider how cloud computing is expanding and becoming more important at different levels of the organization. Think about the three main areas where cloud strategies are significant:
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); offering unlimited storage and computing power by buying what you need, when you need it
- Platform as a Service (PaaS); offering access to platforms on which you can build new services, such as Windows Azure from Microsoft
- Software as a Service (SaaS); offering access to tools you can use online and only pay for them as you need them – in contrast to software that needs to be installed and maintained locally in your office or on your computers
As you can see, the cloud-based approach is changing how software is designed and used, how platforms that support other solutions are built, and how the raw computing power and storage itself is managed. All these changes in strategy also affect how the services are paid for – in general companies mostly pay for services only as they are used, not up front by purchasing equipment and office space where it can be used.
But there are two issues that are being raised by this change and that is security and how to manage the various cloud systems a large company might be using.
Cloud security is often featured in the news. When we read reports about millions of customers losing their personal data because a company did not secure their cloud then it’s a concern. This can be even more important in markets like Europe because of legislation such as GDPR that has the power to heavily fine companies that do not secure customer data.
And all these clouds need some kind of central control – a cloud management platform. There are many (CMP) systems out there and each has a different area of focus – which is the right one for your business and will it be flexible enough to change as your business changes?
These are important areas of business strategy that need to be better controlled and defined for the cloud era. If we are already seeing 25% of the IT budget spent on the cloud and yet there are still concerns over security and CMPs then I’m sure there will be some more cloud disasters before long. A cloud strategy is becoming essential, but make sure that as you design your strategy you also take time to think about and plan how to manage these more difficult issues.