Why you should adopt a Cloud Standard


October 7, 2016

I have no doubt that your organisation is using cloud computing technologies in some form.

Where five years ago, the cloud was considered too risky for many organisations, in 2016 increasingly mature cloud technologies are considered just another part of an organisation’s toolkit. Almost everyone has dipped their toe into the water to some degree.

But does that use conform to any kind of standard?

When organisations first start to test cloud computing technologies, it’s perfectly OK to do so in an ad-hoc way, as you learn what benefit they can bring to your existing architecture.

But when you start to use cloud computing platforms on an ongoing basis, it’s worth making sure that you do so in a way that reflects best practice.

The most commonly agreed standard for cloud computing is the Cloud Computing definition (NIST 800-145) published by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. You can download it here in PDF format. This standard has been adopted by most major cloud providers, in addition to the Australian Government.

The benefits of adopting such a standard are strong. You will gain a foundation for your use of cloud computing services that will be shared in common with other organisations. This ensures that you will experience a smoother transition to a cloud delivery model, and maximise your ability to leverage and build from the capabilities that it can provide.

As an example, use of such a standard would assist you in choosing cloud platforms such as OpenStack that allow you to reduce vendor lock-in and access cross-platform APIs to assist with interoperability.

On the flip side, if you don’t adopt this kind of standard, you may experience miscommunication and misunderstanding both inside and outside your organisation. You may not be clear on your legal requirements, or the expectations to consumers or service providers.

Developing your own standards may help solve some of these problems, but you may miss aspects that have been addressed in more widely adopted common standards.

The upshot is that if you believe your organisation is encountering hurdles in its cloud journey, it may be a good idea to take a step back and examine your reference points. This often leads to less of a bumpy ride in a cloud journey.

CTO Group can assist by carrying out a cloud maturity assessment to either get you back on track or start your journey on the right foot. Drop me a line at CTO Group if you’re keen for an informal catch-up to discuss your situation.


This article is by Michael Tiyce, a consultant at CTO Group. Contact him directly or through his LinkedIn account.