Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cloud is Coming

...even when they denied it, tech industry leaders knew that the Cloud was coming and that they would need to tool up for it.

For the individual, it means that you can declare yourself liberated from babysitting hard drives, strong arming simple-minded backup software, and the publishing workload that comes from having to tell everyone that your system is in the shop to recover contents from a drive.

Now Microsoft offers cloud services to consumers and industry, Google has been doing it effectively for some time, and Salesforce.com has established a stout beachhead in Enterprise cloud services. And that's really just the tip of the remote computing services picture.

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you consider your own place in the Cloud.

1) What reliability can you expect from your cloud vendor? Do they have a track record, a service history, endorsements by satisfied customers? Has the company show itself responsive to its clients and community?

2) What protections does the cloud vendor offer you with respect to copyright and privacy rights?  If you create content, are you expected to retain full ownership and all rights? Will your content be secured against access by unauthorized parties?

3) Is there a clean exit strategy? Choosing cloud services is a significant business decision and you want to know that you can recover from an ill-advised choice?  Does the vendor offer a means to back up your content? Does it yield a backup that can be converted to other uses you may have for it?

Look, it's daunting at first to trust your information to live in a computing system that belongs to another company. But you do this already with accounting information about your company, and if you use the same principles to choose your cloud vendor that you would use to choose accounting or legal talent, you will be fine.