As the clouds cleared and I began digging out from the most recent winter storm, I glanced up at my roof and had a sense of impending doom. I muttered to myself something like, “Please don’t leak!” and “I promise to have a new roof installed when milder weather arrives – this year!” Ever have this familiar kind of self-dialogue about your school’s technology infrastructure? Like my roof, have you exposed yourself to some level of risk by deferring a needed investment for way too long?

Of course, this isn’t the first year I have seen snow on the roof and felt some level of fear. My house is 22 years old. Although from my vantage point on the ground it feels like there is nothing wrong with the roof, I understand it is only a matter of time. Roof replacement is imminent. Despite knowing that replacement is imminent, I’ve taken no action for the past few years. Why? It isn’t the money. I’m a finance person. I know that I am not saving any money by holding off on an investment in a new roof. At best, I’m just deferring the cost; at worst, my inertia exposes me to costly risk.

So if it’s not the money, what is it that holds me back? The answer is easy. I don’t have the expertise. In fact, I don’t know anything about roofs and I really don’t want to make the wrong (expensive) decision. The irony is that no decision may become the most expensive course.

Have you ever felt this way about your technology infrastructure? Is your deferred investment driven by a lack of expertise? Inaction can become costly to your organization too: picture a not-so-distant future of rushed decisions, trying to avert a crisis by redeploying resources from scheduled assignments and working during scheduled down time!

If I could, I would keep my roof under the constant supervision of a team of expert carpenters. Unfortunately, that kind of help doesn’t exist in my case. It does exist when it comes to operating your software applications. Perhaps it’s time to consider moving to “the cloud.” Unlike the terrible winter storm cloud that imperiled my roof, cloud computing can provide a silver lining to your organization. Moving to the cloud means that trained professionals are looking out for your data systems 24/7.

With the help of my colleagues, in future blogs we’ll explore financial and other considerations that may assist you in deciding if cloud computing is right for your organization.

I welcome your input. In the comments below, let us know what sort of considerations you’re making as you consider moving your network to the cloud.

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