The use of cloud services for information storage, software platforms, and data sharing has become a common business staple. Evidence to this can be seen everywhere and even the Department of Defense is adopting cloud services.  With the cloud services industry expected to see considerable growth over the coming years, the question for many organizations will not be if switching to the cloud is right, but rather when to implement a switch. Some organizations remain hesitant to adopt the cloud, seeing a logistical burden, software and security hassles, and cost concerns. But the return on investment (ROI) from money saved in areas such as housing, monitoring, and updating in-house servers and the increase in scalability and agility are worth a closer look.

Cloud Options

Public, private, and hybrid cloud solutions offer varying levels of service. Privacy and security measures are in place for public cloud services, and this type of model is available and widely used by organizations and individuals alike. A second option can be found in the hybrid cloud. The hybrid model utilizes additional secure private cloud features to maintain privacy by keeping select file storage internally, but takes advantage of external services for less sensitive information. For organizations requiring the highest levels of security, the private cloud brings control over sensitive information and enables close monitoring by an internal IT department.

Security Concerns

The threat of hacking is a major concern for companies dealing in confidential or personal information. But while sensitive information may seem more at risk in a cloud, it is the reverse that is true. Cloud hosting companies invest considerably greater resources in security than smaller, private companies do. While there remains some hesitancy to believe this after recent hackings to personal customer information held by large companies using the cloud, the resulting ROI still makes it an attractive option. The security of the cloud is still to be trusted and the popularity of its use in business will become increasingly more common.  The use of private clouds may proliferate given recent news on government monitoring of public cloud information. As we discussed recently this does not mean that all cloud services achieve regulatory compliance for standards such as HIPAA or PCI; it simply means that the level of security needed for an organization must be considered when assessing the level of security attainable.

Think “Investment,” not “Cost”

Transition costs can seem prohibitive for an organization with established internal servers and software. For organizations at a stage where upgrading hardware or software is in the near future, this may actually be the ideal time to invest in cloud implementation. By reducing or removing the need to house and maintain on-site hardware; server virtualization and hosting can offer considerable ROI, especially when implementation is undertaken at the right time in your technology’s lifecycle. In addition, virtualization greatly improves processor to storage utilization while reducing your support staff requirements.

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