The silver lining that really does come with the cloud

    For many, cloud computing with its associated complexities and possible vulnerabilities of how, where and who may access your data, is proving to be a mixed blessing and the adage that every cloud has a silver lining is sometimes hard to recognise, writes Russell Cook, managing director, SIRE Technology.

    But take a step back and it becomes clear that the cloud really does deliver some very valuable benefits.

    Choice – Where do you want your data stored? A UK data centre with the highest levels of services and guarantees of availability and security or may be offshore? It may be cheaper but is that really the main criteria for making your choice? The other choice offered by the cloud is how much of your data you choose to store and how swiftly it can be accessed. Not all data is mission critical; take time to categorise your data and choose a cloud service provider that understands your business and what is important for you.

    Legislation – Here we really mean GDPR, and it is not going away. It becomes the law in a little over eight months and it will apply to any company that has records of personal data, regardless of size. Leaving it until tomorrow is not an option. Learn from those that understand and who can work with you. Looking at its implementation as an opportunity to streamline your processes and maybe learning fresh ways of operating will allow you to view the requirements of adhering to this legislation in a far more positive light.

    Opportunity – turn things around and take a fresh look. Updated technologies and legislation may provide the opportunity to think again about how we organise our business processes. Just because it has always been done like that doesn’t mean, that there isn’t room for a fresh approach. 

    UK data centres undoubtedly offer the best in breed in terms of service, reliability and security of their cloud services. You should not feel in the dark, your data services provider should have a good understanding of your business and what makes it unique. By building and maintaining this relationship where knowledge is shared and processes are clear, both parties should flourish. 

    Data – if the 19th century was all about steam, and the 20th century was all about connectivity, physical and virtual, then the key to the 21st century is data. Your business data is arguably your most valuable asset (after your staff). The actual amount of data is growing at a phenomenal rate. By 2020, every person online will create roughly 1.7 megabytes of new data every second of every day, and that’s on top of the 44 zettabytes (44 trillion gigabytes) of data that will exist in the digital universe by that time. If this data is valuable to you as a business, then it is also of value to someone else, possibly with lesser scruples. Keeping this PII (personally identifiable information) safe is something that both we, as individuals, and companies need to do as part of our daily practices and online behaviour. It shouldn’t be an occasional response, triggered by the latest hacking news story, hence the new legislation which should go a long way to making our data much safer.

    Much like different clouds herald different types of weather, there are different cloud solutions for different organisations and different categories of data. To take it further, there is no bad weather just bad clothing, there is no wrong cloud just the wrong choice of cloud for your particular business applications. Investing time now to understand your business, the data it gathers, how it uses that data and to also think about how that may evolve in the future will ensure, that the cloud solution you finally settle on will certainly have a silver lining.