By: Gary Patterson
Thinking about whether or not to embrace clouding computing is like figuring out whether or not you need to occasionally visit your in-laws. It’s not a question of “if” your organization will be moving to the cloud; it’s a matter of “how” and “when.”
Economies of scale, extending your IT capabilities and “paying for only what you need” services can make sense for some companies or organizations. But like almost everything else in life, the devil of cloud implementation is in the details.
Consider the following three factors to create your specific game plan when approaching the cloud.
1) The Cloud is the Future
Join the cloud parade because everyone else is going there. I continue to be stunned by cringe-worthy quotes or articles on the huge number of people still depending upon Windows 98 to run parts of their information and operating systems. Whatever system you are using, most of your counterparts in the for-profit world are likely to have faster, more flexible modern systems. The cloud offers a way to leapfrog the Windows 98 morass and reap some of the benefits your counterparts now enjoy.
Main Takeaway: Think about obtaining the right tools to do your job well.
2) You Want the Cloud to be Secure
Security requirements and the complexity of IT have increased in the recent years, only adding to a myriad of cloud security options. For instance, this tech-savvy world offers the opportunity to obtain the traceability and controls required to navigate a dangerous landscape, meet increasing regulatory requirements and grab hold of current IT operational accreditations to “Cover Your Assets,” sometimes known as CYA.
If you think these general comments on improved security are confusing, wait until you talk to the Certified Public Accountants and IT experts about what it takes to actually earn that CYA certificate. For starters, there are industry certification exams like Cisco CCNA Routers & Switches. If you think you can endure a little more brain pain, read “Top 10 Cloud Computing Certifications” from CIO magazine to learn about the top ways to benchmark your cloud computing skills.
Main Takeaway: Think about getting a consultant guide as you travel through some very murky cloud landmines.
3) You Need the Cloud to Save Money
As cost effective requirements are coming down from on high, accounting standards for both government and nonprofits are moving closer to what the for-profit world has faced for years. For example, as pensions and healthcare obligations are being placed on balance sheets and must be accurately tabulated, these balance sheets are becoming representative of an organization’s true financial position.
Non-accountants may wonder if these balance sheet “scare tactics” have any basis. A recent Pew center pension report argues they do, stating it’s not really about the money we’re stuffing under the mattress, but “IOUs.” And as “IOUs” are not sustainable by an organization of any stripe, government organizations need to start looking into other cost saving measures including the cloud.
Main Takeaway: Think about this as an underlying tsunami requiring every possible way to save money be considered.
Every major decision, including when and how you implement the cloud, has two sides to the coin: favorable (think opportunities) and unfavorable (think risks). The implementation trick is to maximize the good and minimize the bad.
Your trip along the migration path toward the cloud will be much more successful in terms of both dollars and operations—not to mention your professional reputation—if you consider the following three tactics:
References & Resources
About the Author
Gary W. Patterson has been interviewed or presented internationally to more than 110 publications and groups, including Entrepreneur, Best Manufacturing (AU), The CEO Magazine, Directors & Boards, Risk Management Magazine and More Magazine. Patterson is a Stanford MBA, Big 4 CPA and NSA speaker.