Last week, I spoke to Salesforce.com’s head of platform research, Peter Coffee, about how the attitude toward cloud computing needs to change. But is this “shake off your fears” method exclusive only to big business? Ralph Plunkett, MIS Operations Manager at Electronics Research, Inc., a broadcast services and products provider, thinks so. Beyond that, he doesn’t think SMBs are being included in the talk about cloud adoption, nor are their issues being covered or addressed.
“Smaller shops don’t have the budget that bigger shops do,” Plunkett said. “One thing I’ve run into is that we don’t have redundant Internet connections. We can’t put all of our applications running on that. If you rely on technology at all, that’s kind of foolish.”
Our conversation was momentarily interrupted when Plunkett had to address a cooling problem in his server rooms. He’s a busy guy, but he does his best to anticipate hiccups down the road. “It’s just good planning,” he pointed out. His is not a resistance to new technologies, or even to sending his data out into the cloud. His hesitation is simply a resources and availability concern. With three outages in the three years he’s been with the company and only a bonded T line, Plunkett estimates they’d need at least 3 – 4 times their current bandwidth.
He does use some software-as-a-service offerings. “It makes sense for some things to be hosted out,” he said, such as ERI’s website, which shifted to the cloud about a month ago. Plunkett also named AppRiver, an SaaS spam filter, which has helped to cut down on the inflow of potentially dangerous emails, as recognized by his employees. But in a company that only recently invested in a big enough generator to protect against winter-induced outages, cloud security and availability are a major concern.
So what concerns are you harboring about the cloud that are direct results of the size of your business? How do you balance those concerns with the push to go to the cloud? Share your stories in the comments section or send me an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.