Are we underestimating the Cloud? One person’s story

cloud imageI spent some time in the last couple months getting my new company’s tooling and systems in place.  Why?

Because when the full engineering team is here soon, we’ll be in heads-down development mode along with our early customers.  No time for other stuff.

The results are pretty staggering:

  • Everything we implemented is software-as-a service; it lives in the cloud
  • Everything is “industrial strength” in terms of feature/functionality; we’re not going to outgrow these tools and apps anytime soon
  • Everything was implemented within minutes or hours.  Enter your credit card number and go.  Tweak the configurations now or later
  • Little or no installed software on laptops
  • No servers required
  • Everything is licensed as a monthly or yearly subscription (often I had a choice of either).  Easy on the cash-flow and easy to budget for growth

All of this was done without an IT employee or consultant.  All of this was done without owning a server.  All this was done without installing (and maintaining!) software.

We get immune to the hype surrounding the Cloud, but this experience reinforced the immense power of this trend.  Think about what this means to small businesses and their ability to “act big” on a budget.  Or, what this means to the IT department of a mid-size or larger corporation.

Massive change is underway and we might be underestimating it.

For the curious, here’s what we deployed so far:

  • Webex for conference calls and web meetings
  • Accompa for product requirements management
  • Rally for Agile product delivery
  • Jira for defect tracking
  • Github for source code control
  • Basecamp for general-purpose project management
  • Box for file repository
  • QuickbooksOnline for accounting
  • ExpenseCloud for expense report management
  • Google AdWords for keyword advertising
  • Google Analytics
  • Algentis for outsourced HR, benefits and payroll administration

As we get closer to market launch , we’ll take the same appraoch for everything else:

  • Website content management
  • Marekting campaign management
  • Various web analytics tools
  • e-commerce and/or customer billing
  • Various software development tools

Kudos to New Relic for writing about their toolset and inspiring me to write this post.

2 thoughts on “Are we underestimating the Cloud? One person’s story

  1. I was just discussing this with someone. The more we use these (convenient) cloud services, the more we’re putting sensitive information in someone else’s hands. Life is full of trade-offs, but how comfortable can we be that it’s secure?

    1. Hal, very good point. The answer is it depends.

      Consumers are far less informed about how to secure their own data and computers than they think they are. One could even argue that a cloud service provider is more secure given they have security practices that exceed the average consumer.

      That said, not all cloud services are created equal in terms of how well they secure their services. There’s not a lot of transparency here, inhibiting our ability as consumers to evaluate this.

      The Cloud Security Alliance is working on this problem. I would look to see if a given service provider is a member; it’s an implicit seal of approval.

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