Your Guide to the Cloud

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It seems like just yesterday tech enthusiasts deemed cloud computing to be the next great technological advancement. Now
Cosentry Cloud Guide

Your Guide to the Cloud SEVEN QUESTIONS. SEVEN ANSWERS. It seems like just yesterday tech enthusiasts deemed cloud computing to be the next great technological advancement. Now, clouds in every shape and size span the horizon— public, private, hybrid and so on. Is the cloud right for you? And if so, which one? You asked. We answered. And we wrote a guide to help you decide.


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What is the difference between a private cloud and a hosted private cloud?

ANSWER: When you hear technologists talk about

However, unlike a swimming pool,

cloud computing, they will often break it down into

owning your own cloud doesn’t mean

two primary categories: public and private. The

you have to install it in your backyard.

fundamental difference between these is inherent in

Specially equipped service providers

the naming. A public cloud, like a public swimming

can host your private cloud in their data center, giving

pool, is one that is shared. A private cloud would be

you the best of both worlds: a private cloud, yet one

one that you own.

that is managed by a third party.


What is a hybrid cloud?

ANSWER: As you’ve probably surmised, just as

sensitive, application downtime could cause serious

owning your own swimming pool is more expensive

business disruptions, and therefore, most IT leaders

than buying a season pass to the public pool,

are more comfortable housing these on a private

deploying a private cloud can be more expensive than

cloud where they at least feel like they have

buying space on a public cloud. Not all applications

more control. Although, as we’ll see later, a hosted

require a

private cloud can be a good alternative to this do-it-

private cloud,

yourself approach.

and businesses

A hybrid environment allows you to split an application between a public and private cloud. However, this approach requires a service provider that not only understands both types of cloud deployment, but also the application’s architecture.

can optimize

Examples of applications that businesses typically

their IT budget

feel comfortable deploying on a public cloud include

by choosing

marketing automation, some sales force automation

the cloud

solutions, expense management and collaboration


platforms. Some data loss or downtime might be an

that is right

acceptable trade off for lower costs.

for each application.

Things get a bit trickier when it’s not clear on which cloud, public or private, the application belongs. A


prime example is email. As much as we rely on email,

that are

it isn’t quite as mission critical for many of today’s


information workers. Mobile devices, collaboration


platforms, and messaging technologies have assumed

appropriate for

some of this burden. However, if email is still a primary

a private cloud

method of communication between groups like the

include those

service department and the customer base, email

that house

uptime is vital.

vital and sensitive business data, e.g., applications for enterprise resource planning applications, financial

This is where a hybrid cloud really adds value. A

management, or point-of-sale. Not only is the data

hybrid environment allows you to split an application


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between a public and private cloud. However, this

email deployments between on-premises solutions

approach requires a service provider that not only

and Office 365. They count on us to eliminate

understands both types of cloud deployment, but

performance and syncing issues between Exchange

also the application’s architecture. For example, we’re

and Office 365.

seeing more and more of our customers split their


Should I put all of my applications in the cloud?

ANSWER: We typically don’t advise our clients to view cloud computing as an all-or-nothing strategy.

Data Center Deployment Approaches: One Size Doesn’t Fit All

It’s very common to keep some applications, or

(Percent of Sample)

even parts of some applications on-premises while deploying other applications in the cloud. Making the decision is a matter of considering which deployment

Only Use Our Own Facilities


method the application is best suited for and which best serves the needs of your business. There are three primary reasons a business might

Only Use ThirdParty Colocation or Cloud


choose to keep an application on-premises: 1. The application isn’t designed



for cloud deployment. We’re seeing less and less of this as legacy applications such as older

Source: 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Data centers, Q2 2015

accounting and ERP systems are slowly replaced. However, there are still some applications which aren’t

3. Unused capacity.

well suited for the cloud. A reputable cloud service

There was a time when a single

provider should be able to help you decide whether

application didn’t consume 100

this is a factor.

gigabytes or more of space. Those days are behind us, and since hardware capacity is

2. Security is a concern.

relatively inexpensive, many organizations tend to

We touched on this already, but

“stock up,” assuming that they will eventually need it.

many organizations choose to keep

If your hardware isn’t at capacity, then you can afford

applications that contain sensitive data

to keep some applications on-premises and focus

on-premises. However, many cloud technologies such

your attention on more pressing matters.

as Microsoft’s Azure platform provide built in security features. In addition, some cloud service providers also provide additional security services such as vulnerability assessments and log monitoring.


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Are my peers really moving to the cloud as fast as the media say they are?

ANSWER: Yes and no. Yes, a good percentage of your peers have at least some applications in the cloud. The benefits of cloud deployment are just too attractive not to make cloudcomputing part of their overall IT strategy. And no, in that many of them are just scratching the surface of cloud utilization and in realizing the true benefits to their business. If you’re looking at your first strategic cloud deployment, you’re probably not that far behind your peers no matter what you read in last week’s tech magazine, which means there’s still time to gain a competitive advantage by moving to

“The biggest impact of the cloud is the ability to accelerate the rate of innovation for the business. The cloud is enabling a tripling in the number of new developers and innovators who can create business value through IT. Together, they are going to create about a tenfold increase in new killer applications.” —Frank Gens, Senior Vice President and Chief Analyst at IDC, The Cloud’s Game Changer Is Competitive Advantage,, June 5, 2015

the cloud.

Which of the following best describes your organization’s adoption of cloud computing models? (Percent of Sample)

Q4 2014


Discovery and Evaluation



Q1 2015 n=1199

Running Trials/Pilot Projects

18.6% 18.8%

Used for Test and Development Environment

9.0% 8.7%

Initial Implementation of Production Applications


Broad Implementation of Production Applications

28.7% 27.3% 25.3%

Source: 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Data centers, Q2 2015


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If I move an application to the cloud, can I ever go back?

ANSWER: There’s often a hesitancy to jump into the

deployment is usually the trickiest to

cloud with both feet because of the perception that

revert back to on-premises, but it can

there’s no going back. If we deploy an application

be done. However, we find that the

in the cloud, can we bring it back in-house later?

biggest reason organizations want to

What if we choose the wrong cloud? What are our

move away from a public cloud is

options then?

performance. In those scenarios, it usually makes sense to move to a private hosted cloud. It’s a lot

Our advice is to look before you leap, but then

easier than moving back to on-premises, and you can

don’t be afraid to leap. There are cloud migration

still enjoy the benefits that enticed you to move to the

technologies that can help you move workloads

cloud in the first place.

between various cloud platforms. A public cloud


Will private and public clouds completely replace the private data center?

ANSWER: We are seeing far fewer privately owned

Lower operating costs.

data centers being built for a number of reasons

The organization that builds and

such as:

operates a private data center also assumes responsibility for a number of Better budget management.

operating costs: facilities, maintenance, hardware,

Because cloud services are often pay-for-

security, etc. When you leverage someone else’s data

use arrangements and/or billed month-

center, either through a public cloud or hosted private

by-month, many organizations are able

cloud, those costs are built in. However, since the

to treat it as an operations expense. Not only does this

data center operator can spread these costs out over

make the cost more manageable, it also lessens the

multiple tenants, they can take advantage of greater

burden on CapEx budgets.

economies of scale and lower operating costs for all of their customers.


Is the cloud really secure?

ANSWER: This is perhaps the number one reason

When looking at causes of a few notable breaches,

companies avoid the cloud. There’s a perception that

the attacks weren’t necessarily connected to the

it increases their company’s exposure to risk. In fact,

organization’s cloud deployment. Most have at

the opposite may be the case.

least a strong social engineering component where


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the attackers got in through the weakest link: the humans involved. Given the size of these breached

How much of an impact do security concerns have on inhibiting your organization’s use of cloud computing?

organizations, it’s presumable that most of the data was stolen from a private data center managed by the organization and not a public or hosted private cloud.

Q4 2014





For the mid-sized organization with limited resources, a private hosted cloud, or even a public cloud, can be more secure than managing data in-house if the managed cloud provider offers additional services such as multi-factor identification, round-the-clock

Q1 2015





Significant Impact (8-10)

physical security, comprehensive patch management,

Moderate Impact (4-7)

Low Impact (0-3)

and log monitoring.

Source: 451 Research, Voice of the Enterprise: Data centers, Q2 2015

The Time is Now Cloud computing has moved well-beyond the days when the only organizations moving to the cloud were those comfortable living on the “bleeding edge” of technology. That said, cloud technology developers and providers are constantly innovating and introducing new capabilities. There may never come a day when cloud computing technologies feel “mainstream” because as soon as the majority have adopted a technology, it gets replaced by something more innovative. Organizations that want to take advantage of the business benefits cloud computing offers will need to get comfortable with the increasing pace of innovation and to find new ways to leverage technology in their organization. Of course, that doesn’t mean an organization need expose itself to unacceptable levels of risk to take advantage of the cloud. We can help you choose the cloud that best supports your strategy. Just give us a call.


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