Magazine article Information Management

Ensuring Successful Cloud-Based Deployments

Magazine article Information Management

Ensuring Successful Cloud-Based Deployments

Article excerpt

There is no doubt about it; the cloud is here to stay. According to Forbes 2015 Tech Roundup, more than 60% of enterprises will have at least half of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms by 2018. And by 2019, according to "Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019," 86% of workloads will be processed by cloud data centers, leaving only 14% to be processed by traditional data centers.

Cloud Basics

Before an organization can wisely select cloud services providers and applications, its information governance (IG) professionals must understand the relevant cloud-related terms.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

SaaS is a standard term used for applications, such as Expensify or Salesforce.com, that operate in the cloud. Organizations can buy the number of seats needed, use the product, and pay for that usage. Google mail is an example of an SaaS product used by millions of people around the world.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

A developer needing a platform on which to write a software product that can later be offered as an SaaS product might turn to a company like Amazon and buy its PaaS. This gives the developer a development area on which to produce products.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

An organization may choose to purchase just infrastructure, such as servers and storage, through a cloud provider and then load its platform and application on top of that. This is IaaS.

Thus, an organization may buy IaaS from provider one, PaaS from provider two, and offer its end users an SaaS product.

This leads to the questions about where the data is stored and, more importantly, who is responsible for it. These questions will be answered in this article.

Cloud Software Deployment

It is worthwhile to note the different ways cloud software can be deployed. As organizations make decisions regarding cloud offerings, it is important to be familiar with the following terms.

Public Cloud

This is essentially like LinkedIn's deployment. Users get free access unless they choose to pay for LinkedIn's premium offering. They share the service with others, so this is generally what the industry calls a multi-tenanted implementation. Users upload the requested personal information they want to and occasionally provide updates. Their data may be comingled with others' data, and they often do not have a choice as to its physical location. They also are not given much choice regarding their terms of service.

Private Cloud

Many organizations do not want their information to be in the public infrastructure, so they require that their cloud services be private, often with a separate connection or at least a separate set of servers and customizations. This is a much more expensive service, but it gives them much more say in how and where their data resides.

Hybrid Cloud

A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mixture of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud services with orchestration between the platforms. By allowing workloads to move between private and public clouds as computing needs and costs change, a hybrid cloud gives organizations flexibility and more data deployment options.

Cloud Deployment Benefits

There are many benefits of cloud deployments, and organizations migrate to cloud services to take advantage of them. Likewise, vendors are offering fewer on-premises solutions and moving to cloud-only offerings.

However, many of the benefits of using the cloud also present potential risks that IG professionals should be aware of and make sure their organizations consider when selecting vendors and applications. (See "Cloud Deployment Risks" in the next section.)

On Demand Self-Service

In the cloud, provisioning users with software and services is so much easier. Organizations can often do so on-demand, allowing departments and users to self-provision. …

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