All the cloud needed was better visibility. It wasn't so long ago that a company could express concerns about enterprise cloud computing while simultaneously use a basic cloud service like Dropbox to share confidential files. Misconceptions about the cloud, right down to what was in the cloud and what wasn't, contributed to initial confusion for some enterprises. It's clear that businesses have learned from their earlier misunderstanding and have now adopted cloud services fully or at least in part. A recent RightScale report stated that almost 50 percent of businesses have moved past their first cloud project, reported ZDNet, and begun running key infrastructure out of the cloud.
Heavy cloud use characterized 26 percent of businesses, according to ZDNet, while another 23 percent had deployed multiple applications and projects in the cloud. An additional 26 percent were using their first organizational cloud project as a chance to explore the dynamic services offered by cloud service providers, while 17 percent were circling the perimeter of cloud computing, evaluating their first move. Only 8 percent of enterprises had no cloud plans at all.
Cloud, cloud everywhere
So how pervasive is enterprise cloud computing? According to Gartner research director Ben Tomhave, "all the world's a cloud." He wrote that the myriad solutions offered by cloud service providers for the benefit of business action and profitability will likely continue to drive a rise in the cloud crowd. He boiled down the many facets of cloud computing to five essential characteristics:
- On-demand self service
- Broad network access
- Resource pooling
- Rapid elasticity
- Measured service
Each of these issues is likely near the top of most organizations' priorities. Optimizing a self-service system for business users is a must for organizations that want to benefit from mobile computing and scalable access, Tomhave wrote. With IaaS clouds, organizations can easily develop services that work on an automated and on-demand basis, increasing employee independence while decreasing latency across the board. This is especially important for big data and business intelligence environments where end users require real-time request fulfillment and access to data archives for specific projects.
Many of these issues are implicitly related to security concerns. It can be difficult in today's digital environments to effectively standardize and police device security, so establishing strong network access protocols and moving away from old layered protective measures is a must. According to Tomhave, organizations can succeed in bring-your-own-device or heavily differentiated, mobile environments by using IaaS clouds to differentiate internal applications for the same external uses.
"Shift away from the traditional layered mindset and simplify to a basic 'inside' vs 'outside' structure. Your services are all 'inside,' while users and their devices are all 'outside,'" Tomhave wrote. "Tie in self-service for enrollment and management to help reduce onboarding costs. Pool resources using virtualization and other related technologies. Dynamically scale to meet demand. To the users, everything should look like uniform services, paying no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Reselling cloud for more value
Organizations can create further value by reselling IaaS cloud services. Not only does it strengthen the business' immersion in the cloud environment, it allows them to share their success with another company while increasing profits in the process.