Technology changes rapidly and many innovations are born that allow services to be run more efficiently and at a much lower cost. Cloud computing is one such technology that has enabled numerous businesses ensure their services are up and running without the attendant high cost that infrastructure investments would bring. By reducing the total cost of ownership, cloud technology allows services to scale on the fly, and offer better options for data portability. However, there are some risks associated with cloud services, though they can be explained away by simple probability and cost benefit analysis.
Locally, service providers are setting up infrastructure and creating service bundles for a growing demand from enterprise clients. Internationally ,these services are already established but recent events serve as an example of what can happen in the cloud. Outages on the Amazon cloud service in the recent past saw a number of popular services with users in the millions disrupted. From a revenue respective this could heavily impact the bottom line, though many times these downtimes are kept at a minimum through the implementation of failsafe mechanics. Think about government services brought closer to the citizen. That will most definitely entail the deployment of solutions that sit in the cloud. What is a section of government services went down for a day? What repercussions would that have on the economy? On the ecosystem that is dependent on those services being live? The question to local service providers is – are you capable of offering the same assurances on uptime as are given in more established markets?
We are now better connected to the rest of the world, a great benefit save for the fact that we are now just as vulnerable to attacks via the same channels. The concept of the cloud carries with it that of shared services. While certain mission critical enterprise programs and data may ride on dedicated cloud infrastructure, most packages are offered on secure but shared infrastructure. The downside to this is the remote possibility that a vulnerability exploited on a service that shares the same infrastructure as your service could inadvertently affect your service negatively. A perfect example would be website hosting that is offered by many internet service providers. While you may have gone to great lengths to secure your website against attacks, someone else might have overlooked some loopholes in this age of ready to deploy open source tools. This means that you could potentially suffer service outages or a system breech from within.
While it’s a given you may not match the cost versus benefit of a cloud deployment of your services, it is important to ensure that the uptime and security issues are addressed satisfactorily by your service provider. Lack of due diligence could sink your business.