When one should say “No” to the Cloud
The extensively use of IT systems by business users to increase productivity and bring down cots of operations has lead to building and maintaining substantial IT infrastructure. Managing the complex IT systems require high capital cost, expensive IT manpower with high attrition rate, security, and maintenance.
Cloud computing offers newer ways to implement IT infrastructure for an organization by combining infrastructure, software and associated processes to provide a service that may be availed on de mand basis. The cloud computing provides a ready-made infrastructure, that is maintained by the Cloud service provider, for an organization without spending any money upfront. However, the cloud may not be suitable for everyone. Some of the key reasons for not going for the cloud computing are:
i. When your Internet connection is slow and not reliable. The cloud requires high speed and reliable connection to the service provider’s servers and the absence of good connection will lead to bad experience of working on cloud.
ii. If you need security equivalent to Pentagon’s requirement as that cannot be provided by any shared system such as cloud.
iii. If you already have secured and reliable infrastructure in place. There is no use of spending extra dollar just for the sake of moving.
iv. The cost of going to cloud is higher than the cost of setting up internal network. If the business requirement can be met at lesser cost using in house setup then it does not make sense to move to cloud.
v. The IT capability or service planned to be moved to cloud is mission critical for your business operations. The mission critical applications can be better handled with full in house control than depending on service provider.
vi. If your company operates under stringent data security requirements such as Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) the cloud is not for you. The service provided by cloud providers may not meet FISMA or HIPAA requirement of security and privacy of the data.
vii. If you have the requirement for deployment of complex enterprise class applications that require full control at your end.
viii. If your system handles sensitive data that requires incident responses and forensic investigations. This requires that all the devices where the data resides are available to the investigators as and when required.
ix. If you are not comfortable in managing the additional complexities outside the contract due to the use of cloud computing.
x. If your applications require processing of large amount of data requiring extreme disk input/output operations and low latency.
xi. If the overall cost of migrating to the Cloud results in negative ROI due to cloud requirements of data standardization, customization, integration etc.
xii. The applications require to be used are tightly linked to some other applications.
xiii. The applications that require specific hardware (chip set) and software platform are not suitable to be run on cloud because this will prevent the cloud provider from upgrading his infrastructure in future.
xiv. Use of some of the applications that cannot be run efficiently in cloud environment such as those requiring large number of IP addresses that may not be possible for cloud provider to handle.
xv. If the cloud provider cannot meet your application’s performance requirement.
xvi. If there are geopolitical factors that prevent hoisting of data outside the country or in some specific region.
The cloud can be an ideal choice for new start-ups that require rapid scaling up as business grows. It is also ideal choice for applications that are not complex, not heavily regulated, non-mission critical, non-competitive advantage, not sensitive etc.. The move to cloud must be validated using strong business case with positive impact on ROI. Once choice may be to move most of applications that can reside on cloud and leave those with stringent requirements.