Plug me in and watch me go!

TSG is entering a team into Trekfest in July.  I am part of that team.  Why?  I’m not exactly sure; I volunteered without thinking about it, and that’s probably a good thing.  Now I have to get some training in to ensure Team TSG finishes in a great position – not that I’m competitive or anything.

I’ve been using a fitness app on my smartphone to monitor my step rate, my training routes and heart rate.  The data, captured by my smart phone, is synced and stored automatically against my account in the Cloud.  That means I can analyse the data and review my progress later on my laptop.

As I’m walking I listen to music through my Spotify account, a Cloud based streaming service offering a ubiquitous user experience across the many platforms I use it (i.e. it works on my PC, tablet, smartphone).

In a business environment, there’s a lot of suspicion surrounding the Cloud, often fuelled by fear or perceived security issues, but if you think about how much we use the Cloud already for personal use, we seem to have already accepted it in our daily lives without any real concern.

These are just some of the services I use on a daily basis, and where information is stored:

  • Food diary app (Cloud)
  • Fitness app (Cloud)
  • Music streaming app (Cloud)
  • Laptop OS (Machine based, but Windows 8 so tied to my Microsoft account, thus Cloud)
  • Microsoft Office (On-premise but linked to SkyDrive)
  • Microsoft SkyDrive (Cloud)
  • Provisioning TSG’s Cloud based services (Cloud – obviously)
  • Social Media (Cloud)
  • Kindle (My books are stored in the… Cloud)
  • iPad game (Don’t judge me – Cloud)

Does all this mean that we have resolved the argument in our own heads and already broken down at least a few of the barriers that are preventing migration to the Cloud in our businesses?

I effectively offer a certain part of my life to the online world.  OK, so I make sure that my privacy settings are set correctly and you can only find me on the parts of the web I want you to, but I don’t think about whether data about my weight or inability to walk at more than a ‘moderate rate’ could go missing.

I’ve made assumption that it’s secure and I know that it will be held within data centres that have resilience and disaster recovery models.

You might say this is very different from storing your company accounts.  Is it?

The basic concept is the same and, if anything, the security requirements and standards around business data are a lot tighter.

Assuming current threats of mutually assured destruction don’t materialise, robust disaster recovery models, redundancy and resilience mean that Cloud providers should certainly be in a position to deliver against their availability promises and 99.9% service level agreements.

There are obviously differences between our personal situation and our business requirements. Many of the services I’ve listed above that are for personal use are provided free of charge. But not all.

In both cases, there are plenty of choices and it’s about working out what’s going to be right for you or your business; taking advice from friends, family, colleagues, forums and occasionally a little bit of trial and error.

Trial and error is probably not advisable in a business context, so finding the right supplier is paramount to finding the right solution. Get that right and whether it’s on premise, Cloud or a combination of both, then the right IT supplier will steer you in the right direction for your business.

The key for me is that I’ve found services that make life better.

So, whilst there has been a mountain to climb in terms of reassuring businesses about the Cloud, perhaps it’s time to get on the escalator that was secretly there all the time and start thinking about the potential benefits it can bring.