The SaaS cloud computing solutions market is expected to top $22 billion by 2015 according to Gartner, and it’s largely due to growth in pure-play SaaS vendors (think Salesforce.com) and by traditional software vendors like Oracle moving to a cloud computing infrastructure delivery model (SaaS). Gartner also states that the purchasing nature of cloud computing solutions is becoming more departmental and less centralized, as marketing and other departments make more decisions on applications. At the same time, Gartner claims that SaaS vendors are ‘extremely vague’ about security and service levels in their contracts:
As Gartner says:
There’s no consistent opinion regarding what constitutes a service-level agreement, according to the report. Generally, SLA contract terms refer to application uptime and the speediness of support call responses, which lend themselves readily to hard numbers. But other measures, such as recovery time objectives are not common across the industry.
Larger organizations may want to consider private cloud computing as an alternative to public cloud infrastructures until there can be some consistency in the marketplace. Cloud computing service level agreements (SLAs) are weighted heavily in providers’ favor and as Network World’s Brandon Butler has said in previous articles:
…Its critical for enterprises to do their homework before jumping into the public cloud. In many cases, businesses evaluate their public cloud based on performance, price and other apples-to-apples benchmarks among providers. But, in some cases cloud SLAs could have terms and conditions that are non-negotiable that may prevent a business from using the service.
Cloud computing solutions and models continue to evolve, mostly for the better, but don’t leave your company exposed to security and data risks. While there are great benefits inherent with cloud computing and SaaS delivery models, certain applications may not be a good fit. Be sure to analyze where the cloud can best play a role at your organization before issues become real.