Ely, England, 28 January, 2010 – IT Governance (ITG), the one-stop shop for compliance expertise, is helping companies find the efficiencies and savings of cloud computing without putting business information at risk.
Through cloud computing, a company’s IT functions are moved to an external, shared service provider and accessed over the Internet. Data is no longer stored in-house and software applications are no longer owned by the company. IT Governance’s latest book, Above the Clouds: Managing Risk in the World of Cloud Computing, explains the potential benefits of adopting this approach.
Author Kevin T. McDonald challenges the misconception that cloud computing must necessarily offer weaker data protection than an in-house server. In fact, he argues that cloud computing can help to defend an organisation from IT security threats such as denial-of-service attacks, viruses and worms.
The risk management process begins when choosing a service provider. McDonald says: “You need to be confident that your business information will be secure. You need to make sure you carry out due diligence on the service provider before you entrust this firm with your vital data. The challenge for procurement professionals is determining what questions to ask, what assurances should be in the contracts and how much risk is being assumed when a service is moved to the ‘cloud’.”
McDonald says the concept of ‘outsourcing to the cloud’ is proving increasingly attractive to companies seeking to save money. “The cost is falling dramatically, which means it’s no longer rare for a company to consider cloud computing.” A company is charged for the use of software applications, and for data storage, just like being charged for electricity. In only paying for the resources used, therefore, operating costs can be reduced. After all, as McDonald explains, in-house data centres typically leave 85%-90% of available capacity idle.
Cloud computing can lead to energy savings too. Running a data centre normally requires heavy investment in generators and uninterruptible power supplies. Cloud computing, however, removes that burden from individual companies and consolidates workloads on high-performance processors.
Furthermore, outsourcing rarely-needed IT tasks and functions allows IT staff to focus on core work. Equally, rather than having an IT team spend valuable time monitoring the market for new products, and then facing the challenges of integrating those products into an organisation, cloud computing means that up-to-date software suites are painlessly introduced across a company ‘from above’ by the service provider.
Alan Calder, Chief Executive of IT Governance, says: “Cloud computing is not a new and frightening idea. If you have a Google Mail account, for example, you will already be using the concept. Your emails are stored externally and you can read them wherever you go, with a laptop, BlackBerry or similar device.
“Cloud computing is on many people’s radars this year, not least because of the attractions to budget-conscious and performance-orientated businesses. There are risks, however, and managing those risks is core to strategic success. It’s vital, therefore, to read this book early when thinking about the options presented by cloud computing, as well as continuing to consult the book when implementing the process.”
Above the Clouds: Managing Risk in the World of Cloud Computing acts as a primer and strategic guide to identify the best practices and associated risks of cloud computing. The book then explains how to reduce those risks to acceptable levels. From software as a service (SaaS) to replacing the entire IT infrastructure, McDonald serves as an educator, guide and strategist. The book also offers valuable tips on how to choose a provider of cloud services.
Above the Clouds: Managing Risk in the World of Cloud Computing (ISBN: 9781849280310) is available in softcover and eBook format. To encourage UK organisations to explore cloud computing further, IT Governance is now offering a £5 discount on the book (Promotion Code: cloud2010) when bought from: www.itgovernance.co.uk/products/2826. The offer runs until Friday, 12 February 2010. Above the Clouds: Managing Risk in the World of Cloud Computing can also be bought from the IT Governance US website: www.itgovernanceusa.com/product/2014.aspx.