In the late 1800's when electricity was in its infancy and just starting to be accepted, companies that wanted to use the new technology put generators at their facility. In many cases the infrastructure to get power to the facility either didn't exist or couldn't be trusted. This meant there was a huge duplication of hardware and capital expense. It took many years for the power grid infrastructure to get into place to eliminate the need for companies to have their own primary power generators. It took even longer for companies to trust the infrastructure. Today we don't even think twice about it. We may protect our companies from short term power outages but, in general, we know that when we turn on the switch the power will be there. We TRUST the power company.
The business world is now at that same crossroads with business applications in the cloud. Everyone hears what the industry is saying about up times, redundancies, cost of ownership, ROI, and security but many companies are still not convinced. There is an underlying mistrust of the infrastructure and the security of the cloud. Everyone can recall when the internet connection was down. They see the stories on the news about data breaches, data being stolen, and companies being damaged by these security breaches. But is it accurate to blame these problems on the cloud?
In most cases, when the internet connection was down the outage was temporary and easily solved. If we are all honest, can we really remember the last time the connection to the internet was out for more than even an hour or two? Can even a short time of outage be expensive for a business? Absolutely! But how often does it or will it really happen?
As for our fears regarding the security of the business data in the cloud, think about what people have in the cloud from a personal standpoint. All the banking, credit cards, social security, purchasing, and email information is in the cloud. Overwhelmingly, people trust that the information is secure. The counter to this statement is usually that the sensitive and financial data is on the bank's servers and not in the cloud. While in some cases it may be true that the banks are using their own data centers, to the average consumer it is still the cloud. We still trust that the transaction will go through securely and accurately without problems. We don't even think about it anymore.....it's like turning on the light switch.
At Convergence 2015 there was a session on Azure for IT managers. In this session the question was posed: "What is the scariest thing we do in technology?" The answer was that we let the operating systems companies push out updates to our devices’ OS without question. If we trust these companies to update the OS in all our devices then why wouldn't we trust that they can keep our applications functional and our data secure in their data centers?
Trust is earned. It is one of the truisms of our time. But trust will never be earned if we don't start down the path of working together to earn it. Microsoft has put forth an effort to help people start down that path. If you search "Azure free trial" you will find an offer from Microsoft to set up a free trial of Azure. This is a fully functional Azure implementation. It is secure and provides all the functionality a business would need. It can be setup as simply or complex as required. It is a chance for people to use the cloud in a meaningful way and start to build that trust which is so necessary to moving fully into the cloud.
Cloud based IT is continuing to grow in acceptance and strength. The technology continues to improve, the costs continue to come down, and application companies are increasingly building their applications to work in the cloud. The cloud provides businesses the ability to focus on their core business and let the technology companies manage the technology which is their core. Businesses have to ask themselves if they want to keep lighting their offices with Kerosene or if they are ready to use that new technology called Electricity.