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My wife, who is home for the day, just informed me that her IT department moved their email and home directories to the cloud. Previously, the company’s access policies were so restrictive that she could never see this information offsite. As I reflected on what this change would mean to remote users, I wondered about the other benefits the organization could achieve by making the move to the cloud.
The cost model benefits of moving to the cloud
One fundamental advantage of cloud computing is the cost model. The ability to move costs from capital expenses to operational expenses is compelling for business. For smaller companies or entrepreneurs who lack capital resources, this becomes particularly important. The consumption model, paying only for what you use, lowers the barrier to entry and enables innovation. Anyone with an idea and a need for low-cost IT now has options.
The ease of accessing cloud resources has caught many IT department employees off guard. Shadow IT (users swiping their credit card to get the infrastructure they need without involving IT staff) has exploited ease of access and shortened time to deployment. What used to take weeks or months can now be done in minutes. We live in a world of instant gratification, and waiting for IT to allocate infrastructure is no longer acceptable.
The IT department needs to regain control while still offering the same level of service users can find on their own. IBM can help with IBM Cloud Brokerage Solutions, where users can obtain resources through a self-service portal configured and controlled by IT. Cost, security and visibility are some of the benefits of adopting this approach. One hidden advantage is that the more users who are empowered to solve their own problems, the more time IT staffers have to work on tasks that increase productivity and grow the business.
Assessing the importance of your data
Another thought came to mind as I watched my wife connect to her account – not all data is created equally. Loosening restrictions on less important data by placing it outside the company firewall increases accessibility and productivity. In today’s highly-connected society, working remotely is a common practice, but only if you have access. Intelligently applying policies that leverage the benefits of cloud infrastructure while ensuring data integrity enables that access while protecting one of the company’s most critical assets.
Data that is proprietary and sensitive should be kept onsite and physically protected, however; the concept of cloud is not an all-or-nothing venture. Data with lesser importance must reside on cheaper storage and placing this type of data in the cloud makes good economic sense. This is the definition of a hybrid cloud.
I also wondered if risk factored into my wife’s employer’s decision to move to the cloud. There are a lot of moving parts to consider when installing servers, networks and storage. Also, the burden of managing capacity, security and upgrades can be resource-intensive. Service level agreements for availability and performance mitigates risk by shifting responsibility to the provider.
IBM has the tools and experience to help clients intelligently move workloads to IBM Bluemix, IBM’s version of cloud, or other solutions such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure and OpenStack.
Could your organization benefit from the cloud, too? Now is the time to think about how to leverage the cloud to save money and scale your business. Now is the time to act. IBM can help.