“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”
I recently read an article by Olga Annenko which was an interview with Patrick Wills (Founder and managing director of Earlymarket LLP out of London). OK. I tried to read it, but gave in to exasperation about half way through, and had to go back 2 more times until I could actually finish it. I then commented on the article (not pertaining in any way to Ms. Annenko because it was very well written) which eventually lead to a rather long comment. In that comment I mentioned a few points regarding Cloud services in general that has been bothering me for a while now due to all the hype and pressure to move more and more to the Cloud.
“In the history of Cloud Providers there has only been 1 that has reached 99.999%, and that was Google in 2015. Even though it’s a great milestone I have trouble accepting it due to the fact that Google was well under 90% in 2014. This alone seems to point to a bit of number juggling to get there in 2015, but let’s accept it at face value.
Any company that does a large percentage of their business online most definitely should be thinking about uptime and availability. Small, medium or large does not and cannot play a role. Sector only plays a role when the majority of income/sales/whatnot are not done online.
I am sure you have heard the adage “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should”. In 25+ years in IT (a large portion of that in management) I have seen a LOT of things that are doable. And to be completely honest, 90% are things that should NEVER even come into consideration. Of the remaining 10% you will have like maybe 5-6% where you will just be nuts about the idea and thank God you have someone with a bit of sense left in your circle of friends and associates that can talk you out of making a mistake. The remains few percentages are actual things to consider doing.
In that very small and limited list you will NOT find storing or doing financials in the cloud, where not a single company in the history of cloud services can boast a 100% hack free and secure track record. HR, Financials/Accounting, sensitive customer/employee/partner information should never, ever, ever leave the premises.
Now I can imagine, and most assuredly understand, the enticement of someone else shouldering the responsibility for securing sensitive data so that your hands are clean. However, you chose this business, and whether it tastes good or not it is still your responsibility to your customers/employees/partners to ensure that sensitive data stays OFF the net.
That being said, the cloud is great for certain tasks and should be leveraged as much and as often as sensible for your Company. The problem is that most small companies will not need even a small subset of the features offered by Cloud services and can most often be better served with smaller simpler packages (maybe even from local providers that can actually be of more assistance to said small business). Medium to large sized companies already know not to store such data in the cloud and pick and choose when it comes to Cloud services. Large companies will most likely have 1 of 3 models already in play Private, Hybrid or Public.
So basically, if it’s a small IT startup that is actually offering a software product then they can REALY leverage Cloud services to get a fast and efficient boost in infrastructure and Architecture. As long as they keep things intelligent they may even come out looking like a unicorn.”
Now, I realize that the reply was a tad long winded, but in my defense she did ask. Allow me to clarify, I am bombarded on a daily basis with … well … not well thought out requests, ideas and questions from other managers, developers and executives of what we can put in the cloud next. In addition, about half the spam and most of the mails I become from professional subscriptions I have touch on Cloud services in one way or another. It has gotten to be so intrusive and annoying I am currently in the process of canceling my subscriptions from those that are most grating.
Now, if the Cloud were truly something new and offered something, anything, that I do not already have and could not live without. Fine.
However, it is not and it does not.
It does offer a few conveniences, features and services that can and should be considered by just about every company that is online. Whether or not they should choose a Private, Hybrid or Public solution is not the question that needs to be asked first. The very first question to ask is “Will we survive if we do not put this in the cloud”. If the answer is yes, well….. Then it would seem it is simply a matter of money. The next question is “What if something goes wrong. Will we survive? Will it have major financial ramifications?”. If the answer to this is also yes, well…. I know what I would do. What about you?