Cloud Computing is about accessing applications, platforms or virtual machines that are hosted externally and paid for as a service, as opposed to purchasing software and hardware and installing it in-house or in your data centre. Increasingly, this makes a lot of sense, once a clear business case is made.
In August 2103 we found that most business with under 1000 employees had a difficult time justifying Cloud as a replacement core infrastructure or desktops, but now (as at November 2014) this is no longer true. Microsoft’s presence in Australia, radically improved Office 365 programs and an expanded marketplace for apps and widgets make it compelling to business with an existing Microsoft infrastructure.
IT costs and risk can be reduced, sometimes dramatically. In many cases reliability can be improved as well. Cloud is also perfect for providing affordable off-site back-up and recovery services.
Of course, like any technology, the pros must be balanced with the cons. Organisations looking at Cloud Solutions must carefully consider potential issues like network, security, access management and support staff through any changes the core systems that they use to deliver business value. Also, the terms, conditions and pricing of Cloud Contracts must be thoroughly scrutinised for traps that might lock you into a commitment that is less attractive than it appears or difficulty and major expense in exiting or moving to a different supplier.
Approached wisely, Cloud services are a key component of a sound and efficient IT architecture. Starting with the most suitable applications, migrating incrementally to Cloud can deliver reduced operational costs and lower risks for a growing number of applications.