Though security remains a concern that catches the headlines, recent surveys clearly demonstrate the fact that businesses of all sized are heading toward cloud computing to share information and to house data and software. The scalability and flexibility of using such networked storage and configuration are just too inviting.
What is also becoming ever clearer to nonprofits and small businesses is the fact that cloud computing is not a single cumulonimbus entity holding – or losing – all your stuff. The focus of discussion is about how to mix various types of cloud computing for the the various benefits each can offer your organization.
Public clouds (those offered by IT enterprises and most famously (or ‘infamously’) by Amazon.com) can allow a quick and inexpensive setup to get even some of your company’s vital information out to your clients and clients. Beth Schultz of NetworkWorld.com states, “A public cloud service can provide a cost-effective, no-hassle introduction to a business service that’s currently missing in an IT portfolio, provide an alternative when an outdated app needs a refresh, and provide extra compute, storage or development capacity when needed.”
Private clouds (built within a company or charity behind its own security and often mimicking the company’s or charity’s own hardware configurations) allow immediate security benefits, though many commentators argue that such benefits are not necessarily better. For example, Siki Giunta, Global VP of Cloud Computing & Cloud Service at CSC, comments, “If any problem had occurred [in the public cloud], you can bet the news would have spread around the world in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, we often hear about the loss of PC or thumb drives containing Social Security numbers or instances of fraud executed inside the ‘private cloud.’ In other words, private clouds are not without security failings.”
All of which leads us to the rather obvious, if not easily grasped, answer: Why not have both kinds of clouds? Indeed, once your organization grasps the opportunity to mix-and-match services, the sky is the limit: “And just as private vs. private doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition, there are still other models, such as hosted private cloud, or hybrid cloud that provide additional options and flexibility for companies moving to the cloud. If you have major security and privacy issues, and you don’t want to build your own private cloud, a virtual private cloud, your own gated community within the public cloud universe, is an option.” And so on…
Like hybrid cars, people will be aware of and discuss hybrid cloud technologies and setups before they start investing in them. Like hybrid cars, improvements will come thick-and-fast to these technologies as more people move into the market. We hope to keep you in-the-know as your business, charity, or socially-engaged organization considers its next steps cloudward.
If we are all still here on Monday, we will see you then!