The MER Experience
The 25th Year of Delivering Premier Electronic Records Management Education

When a Cloud is A Pirate Ship

By Nicole Lindenbaum | RSD on Twitter @RSDig


As the weather begins to get warmer, I have been busy planning out my summer activities. I plan to attend several outdoor concerts, visit the beach, and perhaps my favorite of all, spend a lot of time in the park. I love going to the park in summer, whether it’s for a walk or a bike ride, a picnic or a barbecue. I live in New York City, so it’s nice to find refuge in the quiet of a park. And one of my favorite park activities is to lie on a blanket, watch the clouds, and let my imagination run wild as I pick out the shapes that the clouds resemble.

I don’t know why I still enjoy this activity – something about the “kid in all of us” makes me content to lie for an hour, peacefully watching the clouds go by. The clouds might be a sheep, or a pirate ship, or a heart. Once you let your imagination go, you might find a bunny rabbit, or even a horse. One time, I swear I saw The Statue of Liberty in a cloud! The clouds have endless possibilities. (Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google image search for cloud shapes.)

Well, so does cloud technology. A lot of organizations are jumping on the cloud bandwagon – and with good reason. The cloud might provide a way to easily deploy an application in your organization. It could be a cheaper storage solution than the one you already have. There is less maintenance involved, which could bring you tremendous value. As the technology emerges and evolves, there are seemingly endless possibilities and potential benefits. Think of the changes it has already brought about for the enterprise. It’s an exciting time.

But sometimes . . . a cloud is just a cloud.

Let’s get back to reality though. Clouds don’t just magically become an end-all solution, here to save the day with no consequences. That cloud in the sky that looked like a pirate ship? It’s like a pirate ship. But it’s not going to sail across the ocean any day soon. The same thing goes for cloud computing. When adopting a cloud technology, you can look forward to many of the benefits outlined above; there are, however, many risks too. So let’s call a cloud a cloud, and be realistic about what we can expect.

Before implementing a cloud solution for the enterprise, there are many challenges and risks to consider. You must address how this shift will impact your organization’s information governance. Perhaps cloud IS best for your organization, improving overall productivity or dramatically reducing costs. But before deploying the technology, you need governance controls in place to manage the information stored in the cloud. What are the implications of operating in one jurisdiction, while your information is stored in another jurisdiction? Do you have a plan in place to govern that content in accordance with laws and regulations? How can you ensure privacy and access are controlled? You can’t rush to implement a cloud solution without providing answers to these questions, or your organization will be at serious risk.

Maybe you’re not ready for the cloud. Perhaps cloud isn’t right for your organization just yet, or you’ve decided a hybrid solution is best. Regardless, I think it’s fair to say that your information governance program must be ready to adapt to a cloud solution in the very near future. It’s certainly worth keeping in mind while you plan ahead.

Imagine the Possibilities

It’s an exciting time in technology, and the possibilities of collaboration and innovation are only heightened by the existence of cloud. Consider how completely changed the way that customer relationship management systems are managed, simply by deploying it in the cloud. What will be next? What will your organization’s infrastructure look like in 10 years? 5 years? 2 years?

Summer is here. Be sure to take some time to sit back, relax, and let your imagination run wild.

Nicole Lindenbaum

Nicole Lindenbaum

Nicole Lindenbaum

Nicole Lindenbaum is a Marketing Specialist at RSD, where she promotes the benefits of information governance platforms. RSD is the leading provider of information governance solutions for the enterprise, helping companies to reduce operating costs and risk exposure through robust information governance programs. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University and a Master of Business Administration from Washington University in St. Louis.

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Bob Williams is the founder and president of Cohasset Associates, Inc. and founder of the National Conference on Managing Electronic Records, (MER).Mr. Williams is renowned for his leadership in addressing the legal, technical, and operational challenges associated with the life-cycle management of records, especially electronic records.  He has edited two definitive legal research studies: Legality of Microfilm and Legality of Optical Storage.  His also has overseen many industry white papers focused on compliance the SEC’s requirements for the storage of computer stored information (CSI).As a renowned speaker, Mr. Williams has given more than 1,000 presentations at briefings, seminars, and conferences throughout the United States as well as in Europe and South America.Mr. Williams’ primary focus now is organizing, running, and co-chairing the MER, Cohasset’s nationally renowned conference on managing electronic records