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Can You Really Do it All in the Cloud? No Way, Say Tech Chiefs

Want to know what the experts think about moving IT operations to the cloud? Steve Ranger, writing for ZDNet, put together a thirteen member “CIO jury” to answer that question – with all the authority it entails. In all, most CIOs still find the notion of transferring critical capabilities to the cloud prohibitively risky, with common concerns gravitating toward security, cost, and reliability.

Trust Issues

While almost all surveyed support the practice of using cloud-based services for non-critical functions, none seemed brave enough to extend their full trust to the cloud. Ranger quotes IT director Gavin Whatrup, who says that any industry discussion of cloud-based solutions should consider the basic reality that the cloud’s resilience is only as good as the physical cables that connect it to the company’s internal network.  The “weakest link,” as Whatrup puts it, equates to concerns about bandwidth and Internet connection among others.

Not a Real Destination

CTO Abby Hosseini suggests that companies should look at the long term goals of operating cost, security, and business integration before taking the cloud seriously.

“It is not only a matter of security or cost as a single dimension. As a result, each platform/contract needs to be assessed on its own merits with a long-term vision of cost and operational needs. Cloud is a matter of how, not where, and as such, in our company we adopt the ‘how’ and do not put much weight on where the computer platforms need to run. It is a competency not a destination.”

Among other concerns cited by the experts: security flaws such as Heartbleed and high-profile password theft, the fragile finances of mid-sized companies, financial security from the perspective of banks and credit unions – the list goes on.

Legacy IT Stays Grounded

Florentin Albu, speaking on behalf of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, says that older companies technically can run all applications from the cloud. Yet always present are restrictions based on cost, attitudes toward risk, operating models, and physical limitations. From a realist’s standpoint, even simple compliance measures are enough to prevent older companies from basing critical functions in the cloud.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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