US federal agencies are now required to adopt a ‘Cloud First’ policy when considering new information technology purchases. With an $80 billion per year IT budget, just a small percentage saving makes a dramatic impact on the bottom line. This policy is a refreshing and clearly logical policy and my opinion is that it should be adopted by all organisations no matter what their size. Let me explain why I so strongly support a ‘Cloud First’ policy for all.
Such a policy is not suggesting or indeed promoting a blind, uninformed shift to cloud computing. What it is saying is that a cloud solution should be adopted whenever a “secure reliable cost-effective cloud option exists“. Surely this is just good business practice. If the word cloud was dropped from the previous statement, the hope would be that all organisations, including government would be applying such a policy to all purchases all the time. The fact that the word cloud is there appears to make a large majority of people nervous, often sceptical and as a result missing out on potentially large business benefits.
The key to a cloud first policy is an awareness of what cloud computing is, its benefits and risks and how it compares to more traditional IT delivery mechanisms. As a Learning Tree instructor teaching the Hands-On Cloud Computing course, one of the things I enjoy most is meeting a class with a diverse range of computing needs and discussing with them how cloud computing can benefit their organisation. Occasionally it may not be appropriate for their current requirements, but I leave happy knowing that the attendees will adopt a Cloud First policy to their future IT projects because they have the knowledge to properly evaluate the options, risks and benefits.