Why is a Cloud Like a Bank?

Posted by Dan Pigat on Fri, Aug 15, 2014

August15-2014-Post

To explain cloud computing, the analogy of public utilities is commonly used: power plants deliver electricity to an entire city more efficiently than everyone having their own generator. But at this stage of industries adopting the new wave of cloud computing, banking may be a more appropriate comparison.

Get your money from under your mattress

A few short years from now, we’ll think about on-premise storage like we think about keeping your life savings under your mattress – it’s something your grandparents did (or the IT guy before you). It’s much safer in a bank, not to mention easier to access outside your actual building.

But the comparison goes further because of complexity. There are as many different kinds of financial instruments as there are cloud options. Banks have similar products, and some specialize and cater to specific needs.

Where should I put it?

The first job is convincing people who are standing there – cash in hand – that they can trust you with their assets. Once they hand it over, they’ll want as much flexibility as possible.

We have to remove their fear that, once in your facility, they can get it back. Cloud providers who try to lock you in will find it difficult to get customers to start. Once in, there are different reasons to stay with your bank, and the best ones aren’t written into some binding agreement.

I’ve been with the same bank for 25 years. They’re the ones who gave me a student account with the fewest fees and strings attached. While I have some assets in other institutions and can leave at any time (I still won’t sign anything that locks me in), I would really need a major reason to go through the cost, risk and PITA factor of changing.

Getting it in the bank, and keeping it there

We have to lower barriers to migrating assets to realize the benefits of security, flexibility and access. It’s counter-productive to try and lock people in up front, as this is just another barrier to adopting a better way of doing things.

That holds true whether you’re a bank or cloud provider. The path to your services should be the focus, not worrying up front about the path away from it.

Getting customers is job one. Every day after, the job is to keep them there.


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Tags: Blog