For everything cloud computing offers – speed, convenience, simplicity, offsite backups – its “public” nature remains a touchy subject for enterprise.
This simple fact explains why many organisations have been slow to embrace the cloud. In business, data security is everything. And for decision makers at big firms, trusting all mission-critical data into the care of a third-party IT vendor sounds just a bit too risky.
But with the arrival of the private cloud, organizations can enjoy the conveniences of cloud computing without a lot of the tradeoffs. Here’s why they might want to give it a shot:
1. Data security and compliance
“A virtual infrastructure that offers on-the-go, anytime data access may sound great, but how can we be sure our data is safe?”
This was – and still is – the big question for enterprise when confronted with cloud computing. The public cloud, they reason, is simply more vulnerable to misuse than data hosted in-house. On the other hand, a private, managed virtual network that delivers data and services is a different thing altogether.
And it’s a thing more organisations are warming up to.
Since private clouds remain off limits to outsiders, users enjoy all of cloud computing’s advantages with minimal to zero impact on data security. Their private nature also eliminates many compliance issues that kept some industries away from the cloud in the past.
2. Service delivery
The private cloud also opens the doors to new forms of business-to-business interaction. Whereas companies once gave customers Web portals with “My[insert company name]” login pages, the private cloud lets them actually deliver services via the Web.
The implication, of course, is that software vendors can re-commission their legacy products as SaaS applications. They can do it over the Web – their very own “private Web,” so to speak – in a secure fashion that’s limited to their own customers.
An extension of the private cloud, some are referring to such arrangements as the “partner cloud” phenomenon.
3. You can start small
So, isn’t there a way you can ease into this? Do you really have to go “all cloud” all at once?
No. You don’t. In fact, a lot of companies are taking a piecemeal approach to cloud computing. IBM, for instance, started using the private cloud for development and testing – and nothing else – before using it for other purposes.
For many organisations, a slow transition is a good one. And you don’t have to be IBM to embrace a similar method. Starting with a department or an office can be a good way to see if the time and cost savings are all they’re cracked up to be. Then get feedback from your team and make note of any shortcomings.
After all, the private cloud exists to solve problems for enterprise. Working out your own problems with data security, access, and usability in a gradual fashion might just be the best way to enjoy all of its benefits – not to mention keep up with the competition.