While many organizations are shifting their on-premise services to cloud solutions such as ServiceNow, RemedyForce and JIRA, the question that is coming up more and more is, should we move everything to the cloud?
Take, for example, IT process automation (a.k.a. run book automation). Is this business function really safe in the cloud, or should it be managed on-premise? Although the recent shift toward cloud technology seems to support the idea of every function being handled virtually, it’s important to note that there are still lots of risks associated with doing so. While keeping your datacenter, servers, and networks secured, does your Chief Security Officer allow remote execution protocols, which are fraught with security risks when accessed via cloud service?
One of the main advantages of an on-premise IT process automation solution is the fact that you can keep your data secure with no need to open remote protocols, i.e. SSH, FTP, RDP, Command line, etc. No sensitive data flows between your servers and the cloud management tools; therefore there are no additional risks added to your already vulnerable systems.
Another plus to managing your IT process automation in-house is that you are not limited to the level of automation you can achieve while you are on-premise. Instead of being subject to the limitations of whatever security policies, cookie-cutter hosting services are available, you have much more flexibility in terms of customizing the solution to meet the specific needs of your organization and scaling it to accommodate future growth.
Additionally, you can still automate tasks which are in the cloud from your secure on-premise server. So you basically get the best of both worlds without running the risk of a dangerous or costly security breach.
One argument often used as a criticism of on-premise run book automation is that it incurs a higher expenditure because it requires more IT personnel to effectively manage the system in-house. To the contrary – the automation itself actually frees up internal personnel because it automates repetitive and time consuming manual tasks.
Finally, there is the issue of connectivity with cloud-based solutions. When your systems are hosted, there is always a chance that a service disruption could occur, over which you have little control. On-premise software provides more control, reducing the likelihood of being unable to access your mission-critical data and systems on-demand.
So, when the question of whether every business function can, or more importantly – should be moved to the cloud, much thought and careful consideration must be given to each area prior to making a decision. While leveraging cloud technology makes good business sense in many areas, IT process automation might be one area best kept in-house. Doing so will provide the security needed to keep data protected on your hybrid infrastructure in the future, while also giving you the control and customization you need to achieve the full benefit of run book automation for your organization.