Cloud Computing Strategies and Risks

Try not to become a man of success, but a man of value.

—Albert Einstein1

Cloud computing is no longer a myth but a reality. CIOs from all around the world are transferring certain functions of their IT organizations into the cloud. Those who are extremely security conscious keep their most treasured technology and data behind the firewalls in their data centers. Risk-aware CIOs leverage a combination of private and public cloud technologies. SaaS vendors and applications are a large force behind the growth of cloud technology today. The time it takes to turn on a major application in the cloud can be many months (and sometimes years), days, or a few months.

Cloud computing is here today. Our business customers are demanding that we engage in order to meet more timely demands for IT systems and services. This chapter provides a road map for today's IT professionals and executives interested in leveraging this great resource.

A Cloud Computing Overview

Let me be clear: IT has been utilizing computing services in a variety of ways for years—well before the concept was branded as cloud computing. Managed hosting services, application service providers (ASPs), and SaaS have offered organizations computing infrastructure and software services for years, outside their core internal computing capabilities and data centers. I offer the following definitions of IT acronyms to clarify exactly what cloud computing is today in the market:

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