“I would NEVER put my clients in the cloud!”


Of the many privileges afforded me, perhaps none has proved more valuable than the opportunity to work in a wide variety of jobs over the years.  Among them has been a stint as a “professional driver”.  For those of us who learned to drive in Southern California, I suppose that term can either be prima facie or an oxymoron, but either way it does most accurately describe what I have spent most of my evenings doing for the last year.

In that role, it seems that everyone I pick up is involved with technology in one way or another.  Passengers rarely identify me as an officer at an influential Orange County cloud computing startup, so conversations invariably turn to “what do you do in the real world?”  This has opened the door to several fantastic networking opportunities, as well as some interesting discussions.

Naturally, opinions regarding the nature of cloud computing vary wildly, but once in a while, even I am surprised.  Recently I was told by a self proclaimed technology expert (and owner of her own consulting company) that she, “would NEVER put my clients in the cloud.”

Really?  That seemed a bit extreme.  Never?

“Cloud is usually nothing but a guy with a server in his closet who is claiming to be a business”  she spit out loudly, “clouds are not secure and never will be!”  This kind of comment from an alleged professional left me wondering where she gets her information.

Those of us that are old enough to remember 8-Track tapes became accustomed to CIO’s who frequently implemented the latest technology based on an article (or worse, an advertisement) found in the back of an airline magazine.  When this occurred, their staff was typically not empowered to provide appropriate resistance, which allowed them to be pushed off the right path.  Those of us that succeeded “in the trenches” eventually learned to adopt a tempered approach to upwardly manage our bosses.

In most cases, rants such as those displayed by my emotional rider are based on inaccurate or misleading information and have no real place in meaningful strategic or tactical planning.  After some further discussion however, in this case I was not surprised to learn that she was likely to be exited from most of her contracts if cloud services were adopted by her clients.

The topic of cloud computing continues to be polarizing within groups where jobs are threatened.  Consequently, despite the plethora of evidence to the contrary we will still get this sort of irrational push-back from holdouts.  Comments such as “it’s insecure,”  “it’s too expensive,” and other grossly general statements that are meaningless without context are unavoidable.

To counter the arguments surrounding security objections, I have had great success by providing the facts regarding data breaches (clouds are nowhere near them) and how modern security approaches actually create systems that are more secure.  Our cloud consulting practice provides step-by-step processes on how to do this.

A similar approach can be taken with cost objections. Although the cloud is not always the cheapest alternative, if you factor in the core business advantages, (agility, time-to-market, scalability, etc.) public clouds clearly provide a superior solution.  Again, as a part of our practice we have a process to examine the options.

Cloud computing is not always a fit, so some degree of devil’s advocacy is warranted, with each case standing (or falling) on its own merit.  We have developed a proprietary process to determine the potential candidacy of a particular business function to move to the cloud.  If it doesn’t pass muster, then we know that the cloud is not the right answer for that specific instance.

Expect that in the near-term, the rants will continue and nonsensical statements will still be made both in public and in private.  What is still lacking among some “leaders” is the critical thinking required to fearlessly embrace the use of cloud technologies where and when they can advance business objectives.  What is scary is that some of these people are in charge of spearheading change in their organizations.

In some cases, they will destroy their own businesses through inaction.   In others, cooler-heads or plain old dumb-luck will intervene and save the day.  Either way, when that happens, I wonder if they will even recognize why.

More information about Cloudify Inc. is available at www.cloudifyinc.com

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