Posts Tagged 'Software as a Service'

More Than A Million Reasons the Cloud May Be Safe

I am back on the theme of cloud security. Why cloud security again ? Because cloud security raised its head again last week on a consultancy assignment I undertook. My client requires a new business application. This is available as Software as a Service(SaaS), but can also be purchased as a self hosted application. On the analysis I provided, my client could see many business advantages that a cloud solution could provide them – significant cost savings, transparent scalability, an ability to improve business process efficiency, more effective use of staff time …. the list continued. On the downside, security of the cloud was the factor that was pulling the company away from the cloud.

When I questioned which aspects of security were the primary concerns they listed data privacy and access control and then added availability and reliability. Ok, I know these are not all security but they were perceived as security issues by my client. I know from other consulting assignments and also from teaching the Learning Tree Cloud Computing course that many people have exactly these concerns and see them as a barrier to cloud adoption.

As an example of SaaS that works in a secure, highly available and reliable manner I provided the example of SalesForce.com. Here is an organisation that has been providing SaaS for over 10 years. This company has over a million users, all of who have data that is stored securely, and accessed with high availability and reliability. They have major customers such as Starbucks and Cisco. SalesForce.com show their availability, reliability and performance statistics to all users in real time – an approach that builds confidence based on transparency. The reason I use SalesForce.com as an example is that they prove that Cloud Computing works – over a million user cannot be wrong surely ?

Now, just because SalesForce.com works does not mean everything cloud related will work too. However, they are an example of a company doing things incredibly well and providing major benefits to their customers. There are many other cloud providers who do similar great things. The key in selecting a Cloud Computing provider is understanding the cloud and knowing what questions to ask of a provider. Its this kind of knowledge that is gained in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course which provides a vendor neutral technical and business view of Cloud Computing.

Chris

Cloud Computing Technologies: Reducing Risk in a High Risk Environment

Information Week recently published a list of organizations known as the Startup 50. This is a list of new technology companies(less that 5 years old) to watch. The companies were evaluated on a number of criteria including

  • Innovation in technology
  • Business model innovation
  • Business value : lowered costs, increased sales, higher productivity, improved customer loyalty

From the companies that made the top 50, the biggest concentration of product areas were in three cloud computing related subjects: virtualization, cloud computing, software as a service

In my last blog I commented on an article claiming that IT professionals considered the risks of cloud computing outweighed the potential benefits. With IT risk fresh in my mind, the information Week article got me thinking that in the high risk environment of startups, cloud computing technologies can actually significantly reduce the risk involved with starting a new company. Further, for established organizations, whether developing new products to be delivered as a service, or as end users of new products delivered as a service, cloud computing can lower the initial investment required and thus associated project risk. I believe cloud computing can help reduce risks in the following two ways.

  1. By utilizing Infrastructure as a Service(IaaS). Consider a company developing a new software product to be delivered as a service. This potentially requires a significant investment in scalable hardware and software (infrastructure) to meet an as yet unknown demand in service usage. Building this infrastructure is costly. Utilizing cloud computing’s on demand, pay as you use infrastructure, eliminates the large upfront investment required and replaces it with costs that are proportional to usage which should be proportional to revenue growth and thus self funding.
  2. By utilizing the cloud as a product delivery mechanism. With this mode of delivery the risk to potential customers is minimal as they do not have the large upfront cost of buying the product. If after using it for a while the product turns out to be unsuitable, they stop using it and stop paying for it. Contrast this to the risk of paying upfront for an expensive product without actually knowing for sure that it will be suitable for the organization.

Hopefully this post has highlighted how cloud computing can actually lower risks for many organizations, from startups, cloud service providers through to cloud end users. Let me know what you think.

Chris


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