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September 25, 2013

Are You Operating in a Franken-Cloud?

Posted by Lindy Antonelli

Are you operating in a franken-cloud?In a recent Accounting Technology article, Roy Keely discusses what he calls the dreaded “Franken-cloud.” No, it’s not a bad accounting-themed Halloween costume. A Franken-cloud is something many firms may mistake for the productive hybrid cloud. While Keely focuses on CPA firms, we think his theory is applicable to many other industries.

Here’s how you can tell if you’re operating in a hybrid cloud versus a Franken-cloud:

Traits of a Hybrid Cloud:

  • SSO (Single Sign On)—You can sign-in to multiple clouds with one set of credentials.
  • APIs (Application Programming Interfaces)—The clouds communicate to one another through the use of APIs, which means they’re connected and share information.
  • Seamless Provisioning/Migration—A server and/or storage can be moved seamlessly across clouds through an interface versus actually having to move/shut down/build the storage/server on the other end/cloud.

Traits of a Franken-Cloud:

  • Inefficient—You have to go multiple places during their day, which means wasted time and a certain level of inefficiency built into every process.
  • Not Connected—To get a document from one cloud to another, you have to email it to yourself or download it, and then upload it into another cloud, for example.
  • More Overhead—You have costs to support your internal network of people, cap-x and recurring expenses. Your third-party vendors have those same cost centers, plus the need to make a profit—so you’re spending more in smaller chunks.
  • More Management—More clouds means more vendors, more bills and more contracts for you to negotiate.
  • More Confusion—When something isn’t working just right, you have to call five different vendors.

You might not fit into either of these categories, which means you’re probably operating in a single cloud environment, which means you’ve built a cloud in-house that can serve your firm’s needs, or you’ve partnered with a strategic third-party vendor that can support your whole cloud strategy. Regardless, Keely suggests you avoid the Franken-cloud—and for good reason!

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