Keeping Up with the Joneses: A Cloud Story

Many companies go to the cloud to keep up with the Joneses or others. Some go to the cloud to keep up with their own needs. Others set impossible requirements that preclude the cloud. Yet others set goals that make creating on-site difficult. Many who go to the cloud, however, go without thought. There are others who think too much, who wish everything to be ready when they are. A journey to the cloud is just that, a journey. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The goal is the cloud; getting there is often the problem. There are plenty of solutions to help you get to the cloud. There is even consulting. So, what do you need to get to the cloud? And do you need to ability to get there and back again? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered.

At the moment, many people still have questions about their journey to the cloud. What are these rumors about the costs? What are these conversations about lack of visibility? Do their applications qualify? There are many questions, but most people seem to be asking more questions than they are answering. This is why consulting can help—to focus your thoughts. Here are some of the basic questions you should be asking:

  • How will my business change to accommodate the new technology? The answer to this one is more about people and process than about technology. You need to visit a cross-functional team of people to determine how they will be impacted. Some are impacted quite a bit, others not so much.
  • How will security change to accommodate the new technology? The answer to this question is once more about people and process, but the people involved are not so different than the first group. However, since compliance and security go hand in hand, this question focuses on those teams. You will be hard pressed not to pull legal into this conversation as well. What, you have not? Believe me, there are legal considerations.
  • How will development change to accommodate the cloud? In some cases, development may not change. Others could cause significant changes as new services are adopted.
  • And let us not forget operations. That is a massive change.
  • How will finances change? Finances will be impacted, as getting reports of cloud usage and determining ways to save money while using the cloud is a growing part of IT. What is required to ensure this part of the business also grows and changes?

As you can see, there are many parts of the business that need to be in the loop. The technology side can be solved; the people and process are the big issues, the big worries, and often what fails when the cloud is in use. Often, security is overlooked, and that is another way in which cloud fails. Some folks adopt the security posture of the cloud without thinking about their own policy and requirements—requirements that will not work in a cloud. I heard of one recently where using an IDS had to be done inline. Yet, the IDS just interprets data; it does not prevent the data from traversing the network. That would be an IPS (detection vs. prevention). In the disaggregated world of the cloud, inline detection not prevention tools can be difficult to implement and often end up increasing costs. There are other ways to do the same thing.

Another question that will come up is “How can we save money?” That is one way: to split or disaggregate your security measures. Yet, as data requirements grow, so does the network, and then you have new costs to be worried about.

Also, you need to be aware of how to get your data out of the cloud at all times. This is the there-and-back-again data protection approach. You cannot allow the cloud to hold your data hostage. Quite frankly, it is far cheaper to put data into a cloud than it is to get it back out, so should the cloud be the source of truth for the data? Or should it be just a user of the data?

These are all questions that need to be answered. Ultimately, everything boils down to impact on the business. However, over time that impact could be negative unless your plans are robust enough and will change as your organization changes. People and process, not technology, are the real issues. Do not go to the cloud to keep up with the Joneses; do some planning first, and perhaps plan some more once you get your feet wet.

You can find consulting services from Dell EMC, IBM, Velostrata, and many others.