Cloud computing technology has become an IT asset for businesses, large and small across nearly every industry. As more companies invest in cloud technology, the definition of “cloud” computing appears to be getting slightly blurred, and the increasing volume of cloud service providers may not have done enough to shed light on the ambiguity of the term.
With growing cloud utilization and increasing demand for these services, a nebulous understanding of what constitutes “cloud” technology, and an unpredictable future of where the cloud is headed can be problematic. Cloud users ought to be more prudent than ever about where, and for how long, they invest their technology budget.
The phrase “cloud-washing” is becoming the go-to for the blanketing of the term “cloud technology” to cover several, distinct IT services and products. In an article published by Forbes it was noted that this practice is pervasive among tech vendors and consumers; business managers and owners hear about the efficiencies and profits of moving much of their computing to the cloud, and thus approach managed services vendors asking for “cloud technology,” but lack the knowledge of how exactly they want cloud services to benefit their business.
Taking advantage of this lack of understanding, some less scrupulous cloud service providers are quick to label a particular package as an all-encompassing “cloud” network and to encourage businesses to purchase more than they need, often locking them into expensive, multi-year contracts.
Keeping up With the Cloud
Businesses have begun to respond to these cloud washing practices by pressuring cloud-providers to be more transparent about their services, and provide more education around exactly how their services will help the business achieve their goals. What’s important to keep in mind today is that cloud technology is still a rapidly changing landscape. While demand for cloud computing has spiked, and utilization among many industries has experienced rapid expansion, not all businesses have elected to adopt cloud technology as readily as others.
Cyber security laws and regulations are slowly adapting to encompass cloud computing, but are often different depending on what part of the world or in what state you live. Accounting practices, for example, are still being defined to standardize what companies can define as cloud revenue, but there is yet to be consistent enforcement.
Business owners are struggling to determine what type of cloud (public, private, or hybrid) will help their business. Overall, we’re still figuring out how to adapt to the cloud, rather than how to use the cloud.
Changing Cloud Players
With this kind of uncertainty hanging around cloud technology, investing in one service provider is a more calculated decision than many people first assume. In a recent interview with co-founder and CEO of Box Inc., an online storage and collaboration tools provider, Aaron Levie had this to say to the Wall Street Journal about the what the future of cloud computing may look like,
“…when you actually look at the public cloud market relative to the entire computing space, it’s still a very, very small portion of total spending. So yes, we are seeing who some of the names might be, but when you’re looking out five or 10 years from now, the space is going to look very different in terms of who’s taking the lead.”
Keeping Your Head In the Clouds
Does the vagueness surrounding the cloud mean that you should stay away?
It definitely should not.
Rather, cloud-washing, evolving definitions of cloud services, and an ambiguous forecast of cloud technology markets should encourage you to do more research, and demand more answers out of a potential IT and cloud service providers.
What “cloud” services are you buying? Do you need all of the services and cloud features that you are paying for (this includes consulting and maintenance charges)? Exactly how much are you paying for (especially in pay-as-you-go contracts)? What flexibilities do you have for future cloud uses and technologies?
Finally, be weary of long term agreements. Being locked into a multi-year contract may appear to save you money upfront, but how much will you be spending on unused or unwanted services?
Choosing an IT and cloud provider that answers these questions honestly and provides support that is in the best interest of your business is going to be the most beneficial.takes the time to learn about your business and cater our services to your needs. With trusted IT personnel that understand the ins-and-outs of cloud technology, as well as your business, you can feel comfortable knowing you are getting the best technology for your business, nothing less and nothing more.