Thanks to widespread, reliable high-speed broadband access, cloud computing is finally becoming a popular option with businesses of all sizes. Companies are relying on remotely hosted IT solutions for everything from file storage and accounts to CRM and talent management systems.
Some people are still nervous about adopting cloud solutions, however. Their concerns are understandable – giving control over key business functions to a third party, even if that third party is a well-known name such as Oracle, is a big step.
What are people looking for when it comes to cloud solutions?
Security Comes First
Security is a big deal for any business. When you run your own servers and computer systems, you know exactly what is going on with your data at all times. When you outsource, you have no control over who sees the data, or where it is stored. While individuals may not care about putting up a few photographs of their cat on a free photo hosting site of dubious origins, storing financial data or customer information is an entirely different proposition.
The very nature of cloud services means that they are directly exposed to the Internet, so security is something that everyone – from the cloud services providers themselves to the people that use them, must take seriously.
Users appreciate flexible, elastic cloud services that allow them to manage their costs easily, capping spending during busy periods and saving them money during quieter times. If you are a cloud services provider, take a close look at your packages and make sure that they offer users flexibility and control over their usage.
Cloud solutions must be reliable. If businesses have a lot of problems with third party service providers they are likely to bring those services back in house.
The selling point of many cloud services – in particular Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and cloud hosting, is that those services are supposed to be faster and more reliable than having a single server in-house. This image took some serious knocks recently when a high-profile CDN had an outage, and several popular social networking sites were affected. Users need to be confident that the services they are using have measures in place to minimise outages, and get back up and running as quickly as possible should things go wrong.
End users are increasingly moving towards the cloud for day-to-day tasks including email, photo sharing, file storage and even gaming thanks to services such as OnLive and Gaikai. It will be a long time before cloud services become the norm in businesses, but they are already proving themselves invaluable for some tasks, and over the next few years we can expect to see more and more companies taking their data online.
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