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Three Steps to Lower Costs and Improve Compliance Using Cloud

The emergence of vertical-specific clouds is beginning to define cloud computing's value as well

Gathering Clouds friend David Linthicum digs into how to lower costs and improve compliance in the cloud.

Editor’s note: Gathering Clouds is pleased to welcome noted thought leader, SVP of Cloud Technology Partners, and Cloud Player David Linthicum as a regular contributor. David is a renown expert in all things cloud computing, SOA,  Health IT, SaaS, Big Data, and many more IT related topics. Check back every week for more from David!

While cloud computing is well known for lowering costs, and bringing additional agility to enterprises, the emergence of vertical-specific clouds is beginning to define their value as well.  Vertical-specific clouds are those public or community clouds that provide processes and support for data storage that are specific to a vertical, such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail, finance, etc.

These types of clouds provide pre-built business processes that are specific to a vertical industry, and they provide pre-built data structures, as well as vertical-specific compliance and security.  For example, as we discussed in the last blog post, vertical-specific give a cloud provider the ability to support HIPAA as a service that’s built into the cloud.

With that said, those in verticals still have very little understanding of what it takes to leverage cloud computing to lower costs and improve compliance.  Here are a few basic steps:

Step 1: Take an open-minded look at the value that cloud computing brings, along with cloud-based services that focus on specific industries.

Many of those in verticals are often “put off” by the use of public clouds, or even managed services.  They feel there is little direct control, and the heavy regulations they must comply with make cloud computing impractical and risky.

The truth is that cloud computing is almost always less expensive than traditional approaches.  However, when you consider that some clouds provide pre-built processes and mechanisms to help you meet regulatory objectives, such as changes in the healthcare laws, then the value is much greater.

Step 2:  Define a path to deployment.

This means that you’re looking at where you are, and where you need to go in leveraging public cloud services.  This typically means defining a stepwise path, including assessment of core business processes, applications, data stores, etc., and understanding how they will migrate in the cloud to form the final target system(s).

Keep in mind, if the clouds are vertical-specific, then many of the processes that are already present as cloud services could save you tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.  Moreover, the cloud provider will maintain them, which removes even more costs and shifts a certain amount of risk to the provider.

Step 3:  Understand the value in operational effectiveness.

As your system is in production in a public cloud, be very aware of how well the system functions, and how well it meets the objectives set when you defined the requirements.  This means that you track the value that the public cloud provider brings ongoing, including your ability to maintain compliance by leveraging their services.

By David Linthicum

Read the original blog entry...

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