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Kundra Says Head to the Cloud for Cost Savings

iStock 000005442942XSmallVivek Kundra, the former US chief information officer, and now a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, had a message in the New York Times the other day regarding cloud computing. Kundra says as governments are forced to find ways to save money, the cloud is the inevitable place to find cost savings.

And chances are if it's good for governments, it's good for you in the private sector as well.

Money is money, right? The scale in the government is just bigger, that's all -- and if it can save the government money, it can save you money too.

Kundra argues why deal with all of the hardware maintenance and software updates when you can off-load it onto someone else?

Several years ago when were were first talking about the cloud as a concept, someone used an analogy that worked very well and still does. He said every company doesn't own its own generator to generate electricity. Of course not, we buy it from a utility because it would be crazy to maintain that overhead when it's not even part of your business.

Well, the same can be said for running a data center. Sure, some companies can argue that having control of the data center is absolutely critical for them, but not many. Even if you argue that you want to keep your mission critical applications in-house -- which makes perfect sense -- there are many utility applications which are just basically a pain to maintain, whether we are talking email or content management or CRM and offloading them to the cloud just makes good business sense.

As Kundra reasons in his piece, spending money to maintain infrastructure just doesn't serve any purpose, especially when it's temporary infrastructure as with the Census Bureau setup in 2010.

He also makes the point that costs aren't going down, whether it's government or private sector, and companies and governments continue to throw good money after bad installing expensive enterprise systems or custom systems that only benefit the developer.

For those of you who are still worried about security, Kundra maintains that big companies like Amazon and Google are better able to attract and keep security experts than the government (or even your average private sector company). He also asserts that most employees today are comfortable using cloud services so the transition to the cloud should be fairly smooth for most organizations.

Kundra is a smart guy and before he left the government for academia, he started it down the road to cloud computing by instituting a "Cloud First" policy. He believes it will survive him simply because the pressure to cut budgets is too great and this provides a fairly easy path to cost reduction.

But if you're nervous about what to offload to the cloud or how to work with cloud vendors, you can work with a consultant to help you make the transition and get you through the rough spots.

By the way, if you're concerned about loss of control, hey maybe your great grandfather freaked out when his company first outsourced his company's electricity to the electric company. Somehow we all survived.
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