Scattered cloud coverage bring rewards, risks

Just about every person in business these days has heard the buzz about “cloud computing” and all the benefits it can deliver. The hype surrounding it would have you think that everyone is using these application or infrastructure services-for-hire.

The idea behind cloud computing seems to make good sense, given the economic pressure businesses are under to do more with less. The cloud is just another way of saying “the internet.” And cloud computing basically involves paying for access to internet-based services in order to share computing horsepower, information and programs, from word processors to complex accounting and customer-relationship-management systems.

So instead of buying and maintaining its own servers and programs, which can be an expensive proposition, a company can pay to use programs, crunch numbers and store information on servers that are owned and operated by a service provider. Typically all it takes is a web browser to get to these cloud-computing resources.

Major providers such as Microsoft,, Google and Amazon make it seem like the cloud has become a ubiquitous force. But the reality is that when it comes to day-to-day business, most enterprises in Canada are proceeding into the realm of cloud computing with a great deal of caution.

Or so they think.

“With zero exception, when I ask executives from Canadian accounts how many have made a significant investment in cloud computing to date, no hands go up,” says Jimmy Fulton, vice-president at CA Technologies Canada, an IT management firm based in Toronto. “If I ask who is considering it, there might be a couple.”

What these executives may not know is that the cloud may already be alive and well within their ranks. It just can’t be found in their IT budgets.

Just ask Steve Irvine, CEO of 80/20 Solutions, a software-as-a-service provider of cloud marketing-based services in Toronto. “Give me the name of just about any larger enterprise, and I can almost guarantee there will be three or four departments using cloud applications without them [the central IT department] even knowing it.”


Source: CBC Technology

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