16 September 2011 16:47:21
More businesses are considering adopting cloud computing services into their daily operations as a means of improving efficiency and cutting costs. As the technology is relatively new, general knowledge pertaining to cloud services, as well as a confidence in security, is slowly but surely spreading through the IT community, aiding in the further success of an already booming industry.
The Cloud and Virtualization Conference was held on September 9 in Washington, D.C., and hosted a variety of IT professionals, executive decision makers and officials representing various federal regulatory agencies, Government Computer News reports. The conference was sponsored by 1105 Media Inc., the parent company of the news provider, in an attempt to strengthen understanding of the cloud.
The hot topic of the conference proved to be the proper questions business executives and their internal IT staff should ask prospective cloud service providers, the website notes.
"My suggestion is plan, plan, plan for the cloud," chief technology officer of the Customs and Border Protection's Office of Information Technology Wolf Tombe asserted at the conference, the source reports. "It is incredibly important to get past the hype about the cloud."
Gartner recently released its annual Hype Cycle Special Report for emerging technologies, and listed cloud computing as being in a period of peaked inflated expectations. In line with Tombe's recommendation, the mysticism surrounding the cloud cannot impede the decision-making of executives considering the cloud, rather, these professionals need to see and know the technology for what it is.
Preparing for cloud integration is certainly necessary for most organizations and federal agencies, as the service has taken the IT world by storm. Industry expert Gartner projects the cloud to grow from a 600,000 unit, $3.8 billion dollar industry in 2010 to 1.3 million units and $6.4 billion by 2014, while other major industry players have even higher expectations.
Questions for cloud providers recommended by speakers at the conference included those pertaining to service-level agreements, adherence to cloud standards established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, transparency of the service and most importantly, who is responsible for IT operations between the business and the third-party service provider, GCN reported.
"Here is the key part: Take everything that works and all your requirements and put them in your contract," Tombe added later in the conference. After establishing the proper questions to ask cloud providers, experts believe the major concerns of many executives, such as cloud security and certification, will not be nearly as daunting.
-McAfee Cloud Security