As cloud computing has evolved from competitive advantage to necessity, there are a few givens that organisations considering or already using cloud services should know. Most come down to knowing the responsibilities of your organisation and your cloud services provider so you canenable a more secure cloud computing experience that cuts business risk while offering true scale.
1. Your organisation remains ultimately responsible for cloud security. This lesson doesn’t mean cloud services that claim to be secure, SAS 70 Type II-compliant aren’t required to live up to their advertising. It simply means that no cloud solutions, no matter how focused on security, can keep your organisation’s data safe if the IT department doesn’t set and enforce cloud computing access policies, as well as compliance standards specific to your industry and geography. Of course, certain cloud services may cater to industries and regions.
Even so, the onus falls squarely on you as the customer to ensure compliance and access control. A good cloud services provider can walk you through some of the policy-related questions you’ll need to ask to ensure the right people are accessing your cloud.
2. All data is not created — or stored in the cloud — equal. Depending upon the sensitivity of certain data, cloud solutions may not be available. Between industry standards and regulations, data containing customers’ or employees’ birthdates, government ID numbers, passport numbers and similar information may not be appropriate for your cloud solutions. Consult the legal and compliance departments early on in the cloud computing process if the initiative may involve any data one could reasonably construe as highly sensitive and that might need to remain in-house on your own servers. Your next step, once you’ve categorised the importance of your data and what information can be stored in the cloud, is to work with your cloud services provider to determine what gets stored where and who has access to it.
3. A great cloud computing experience requires a great cloud services relationship. Many organisations fumble the opportunity to recognise cloud services providers as new business partners. Like any major on-premises solutions, cloud services providers require a solid relationship with your business, including the IT department, in order to create cloud solutions that adapt to — and perhaps lead — your organisation’s business evolution. Choosing a cloud services provider that has a local presence will give insight and access to your cloud operations and the people running them.
4. You’re never stuck with an inflexible cloud solution. Once cloud solutions are up and running, the IT department should constantly capitalise on the opportunity to prove their value over an on-premises alternative. Regularly evaluate cloud solutions’ performance and the changing business landscape. Because cloud services provide incredible agility, there’s no reason your IT department shouldn’t stand at the vanguard of improving cloud solutions. The strong partnership with your cloud services provider will prove priceless as the IT department provides the path for business managers to have input and buy-in to the cloud solutions with the goal of providing even greater ROI.
These cloud computing lessons offer a blueprint for building successful cloud solutions across the enterprise. Knowing the cloud computing areas where other organisations have fumbled will help your business be more in-tune with what it takes to ensure a secure, strategic cloud solutions delivery.