While no longer in its infancy, the era of cloud computing services is relatively new and must circumnavigate a number of challenges that could impede further growth.
“The best way a company can protect itself is to team up with reputable providers and to avoid unintentionally compromising data security by rushing to escape limitations caused by metered bandwidth.”
Cloud computing is growing at an unprecedented pace. Large and small businesses are accelerating their bandwidth consumption as they increasingly make use of the many opportunities the cloud has to offer. Companies particularly appreciate the availability of services that were once only available to enterprise-level firms, such as data storage, security, billing support, and business voice.
A recent ISF survey found two major trends that are accelerating the cloud computing explosion, and therein lies the rub –
The smart enterprise: The need to boost efficiency and optimize the use of assets will continue driving organizations to greater use of cloud computing, including both “public cloud”, “private cloud” and “hybrid cloud”. Organizations should make best use of these without increasing complexity and costs.
Consumerisation: The rise of very capable consumer devices, such as smart phones and tablets, has added further momentum to the need to manage the use of such a “consumer technology” at work. We can call this issue “The iPad Effect”. Adopting a stance that completely prohibits such an approach is unlikely to be successful. Organizations should manage the risks and still lock in the benefits.
While no longer in its infancy, the era of cloud computing services is relatively new and it has to circumnavigate a number of challenges that could impede further growth. Here are the three main limits on the event horizon for cloud computing service:
The Metered Bandwidth Horizon
Metered bandwidth might become a significant obstacle to cloud computing’s upward trend. Terry Hedden, founder and CEO of Infinity Technology Solutions (now Zeno Technology Solutions), points out that “metered bandwidth could end this whole cloud game.” The move from allowing cloud users to utilize unlimited amounts of data to charging for specific bandwidth usage could impede small and medium-sized businesses from expanding their use of cloud services, as they seek for less costly alternatives.
Todd Carothers of Canada-based CounterPath, explains his company’s strategies for surmounting the metered bandwidth obstacle. “First of all the codec usage is not that heavy, it doesn’t have to be that heavy across data and in some cases it can be cheaper than a voice call, especially when roaming,” he said. “Number two, we found that 60 to 65 percent of our customers are in an active WiFi zone at all times so they can use WiFi to bypass that which makes it almost zero cost as well. So that’s how we see from our perspective, doing voice, that’s what we’re doing to combat that issue.”
The Data Ownership Boondoggle
SMBs might be presently oblivious to a major issue with moving to the cloud: Data ownership (See Who Owns What Where) Businesses transitioning to cloud must consider the import of legal advice with the development of their cloud computing solutions. They also need to examine the cloud service provider’s terms very myopically. Cloud service agreements should detail exactly how a cloud service provider may use a client’s data as well as stating who has ownership of data being transferred to the cloud. Companies also need to clarify that their data cannot be locked into the provider’s cloud service, and that they are free to withdraw their data whenever they want.
The Cloud Security Horizon
One of the major issues surrounding cloud services is the security of a business’s data while it is stored in a remote facility. John Howie, COO of the Cloud Security Alliance, pointed out that “when you are running in the cloud and you are shifting your data and applications to a cloud provider, you have no visibility over risk within their infrastructure. You can’t cite controls or a defense-in-depth approach, because the cloud provider does that.”
The best way a company can protect itself is to team up with reputable providers and to avoid unintentionally compromising data security by rushing to escape limitations caused by metered bandwidth.
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