This is basically just an opinion article based on what I’m seeing, reading and hearing so take it just for what it is … my thoughts.  I believe that the industry is still at least two years away from truly standardizing cloud computing and understanding the full potential, the security issues, and the expenses or cost savings related to cloud computing.  What that means is that we would also be a couple of years away from being able to standardize how we offer cloud computing and implement cloud computing with clients on projects with the knowledge that we’re offering the best process possible and that we’re offering a high likelihood of project success due to tried and true practices.

It was interesting to find, when attending a session at Interop 2010 in Las Vegas last month, that a handful of executives from different organizations sitting on a discussion panel on cloud computing all had basically different information and views of what cloud computing meant to their organization.  And they definitely had varying degrees of successes and frustrations during and after implementation.

At the end of the day, cloud computing may still mean different things to different people.  As of now, there are a variety of things that you can do to actually be computing in the cloud and utilizing cloud services.  However, for the project manager or IT consultant, until the industry is able to get a better handle on what those cloud computing services really are and how far reaching the organizational benefits are, it may still be a hard sell with our customers.  The keys being security, data safety, and data access.

I’ve discussed the possibility of incorporating cloud computing practices in the organizations of some of my clients and the push back I regularly get is “will my data be safe?”  The quick answer is yes, but the real answer is almost an “I don’t know” or “it depends.”  And the next question is “will I have access to my data if my provider has a disaster?”  That one is a little more out there … a little more unlikely.  But it is certainly a key question and one that every CEO or CIO should be able to get an answer to.  That’s the one that must go straight to the provider – and one that a recent poll showed that many providers are not quite yet equipped to fully answer.