Bullish About the Cloud

By Tony Kontzer Print this article Print

There are many success stories about the public cloud, but concerns about security, portability, reliability and access to systems remain.


Bullish About the Cloud

Success stories like Schaeffer's are why people like Joe Coyle, North American CTO for consultancy Capgemini, are bullish about having their clients migrate systems to the public cloud. Put simply, Coyle says the public cloud has matured to the point where it makes sense in just about every business case.

"If we look at the real facts, we're having a hard time finding anything that cannot run in the public cloud," he says. "And that includes security concerns."

That's not to say cloud migrations come without risks, both real and perceived. In fact, NetSuite had to address that pesky security issue —which Coyle includes on his list of “perceived” risks —before Schaeffer CEO Tom Hermann was convinced his company's data would be safe in the cloud. Gregerson says NetSuite provided ample guarantees that its security was top-notch, and that Schaeffer would be able to remove its data quickly and easily if it needed to.

Pushing for such assurances on critical issues, such as the portability of data and access to physical systems, is critical when doing business with cloud providers, many of whom are bent on providing cookie-cutter services that keep their costs down, says Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and chief cloud computing researcher for Gartner. "They just cook the burger the way they cook it," says Plummer. "You take it or leave it. That brings risk to you."

That inflexibility certainly hasn't dampened the enthusiasm for the public cloud market, which Gartner pegged at $105 billion in 2011. It also hasn't caused Gregerson's newfound devotion to the cloud to waver, despite having to tackle other cloud migration issues. These include ushering employees used to green-screen interfaces into a Web-based paradigm and sacrificing the speed of an in-house solution in exchange for the flexibility and data-crunching capabilities of a cloud-based system.

"I don’t think there's any reason we would ever go away from the cloud," says Gregerson. "It would seem to be going backward, not forward."

This article was originally published on 2012-04-23
Tony Kontzer is a freelance writer for Baseline magazine.
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