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Is your head in the cloud?

You hear lots of talk about cloud computing, but is it really practical? It might sound cool and many cloud computing services are even free, but can you talk your executives into it? What are the kinds of things that they will ask that you need to think through? If you want to try cloud computing in your organization, you need to know what they will ask and be ready with the answers.


Although everyone believes that cloud computing will be better than the boring technology we use today, is it really ready for business?

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In some ways, cloud computing is already here. If you’re using Gmail, you’re part of it. And lots of people are looking at cloud computing as this great bunch of free services that change IT. But most businesses are reluctant to have Google reading all of its e-mails.

Closer to the enterprise view of cloud computing is perhaps Salesforce.com, where secure servers hold private information as a service for their clients. Because even though cloud computing is new, the questions that must be answered are old:

  • Does it meet our requirements? Whether it is software or it is a service, the question is the same. Being in the cloud doesn’t change what you need.
  • Is it secure? This question is the same as for software, too, but even harder to answer. With software, you need to evaluate the security features of the software, but you know your operations team will do the heavy lifting. With cloud computing, you must evaluate the vendor’s ability to secure your data.
  • Is your data safe? Again, when you run your own software, your team backs up your data. With cloud computing, you either depend on the vendor to do this, or you must extract the data from the cloud and back it up on your own.
  • Is the vendor stable and reliable? You care about this with software, too, but again the stakes are higher for cloud computing.

With all these hard-to-answer questions, why is cloud computing so hot a topic?

First off, it is usually cheaper–vendors can apply economies of scale and the use of just one platform to keep their costs and yours low, and you need a lot fewer people to maintain a service than software running on your hardware.

Maybe more importantly, it’s usually simpler. The complexity of installing, configuring, maintaining, upgrading, debugging, and operating software on your own hardware is becoming unaffordable. When you outsource operations, which cloud computing does, it is a lot easier. You don’t need much more than a browser. And new features are rolled out every month, not once a year in an excruciating upgrade process.
I believe that cloud computing is definitely the future, and for many companies it is the present. But we can’t adopt it on blind faith. We’ve got to ask the hard questions to be sure that we get the benefits without the downside.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in internet marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, a leading digital media marketing consultancy based in New York City. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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  1. Avatar PowerPoint Templates

    Yes its logical and may be the only solution for load balancing when your site/database receives huge traffic surges. I saw a presentation about Amazon’s S3 and what they were saying made perfect sense.

  2. Avatar Bromacleanse

    Amazon S3 surely shows a great example of it.
    Bromalite

  3. Avatar Bromalite

    Anybody here actually researched Amazon S3? Don’t think this example would really fit here!

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