During the last fund raising drive we had many WP-ORG members mention that they felt WP-ORG could save significant money by moving its presence to the cloud.
Cloud computing is a relatively new phenomenon whereby a company/organization’s presence is essentially contracted out to a cloud computing environment. Essentially cloud computing represents online network presence as a commodity. This commodity can be readily migrated between different cloud providers as simply as we now change cell phone providers. I am dramatically over simplifying, but the essence of it is that network computing no longer needs to be a core inside business function of an organization. It can be bought and sold like any other service or product.
Amazon.com, Google.com, and Apple iCloud are three of the largest and best known cloud computing providers. All three provide reasonably priced offerings for cloud computing. It makes good business sense to evaluate the cost of outsourcing this capability.
What we discovered is that the lion’s share of our expenses (as is the case for most other organizations) is devoted to personnel costs. WP-ORG’s employees (Dian Welle, Megan Klein, and Jack Price) represent the lion’s share of our annual expense. Although Jack is a part time employee, he serves a critical role as WP-ORG’s Chief Financial Officer. Dian is the public face for WP-ORG and she will be the one who answers WP-ORG’s phone and principal email address at email@example.com. Lastly, Megan is the one who maintains WP-ORG’s servers and will continue that role, even if WP-ORG migrated to the cloud. We will still need to have somebody set up our websites, perform network administration tasks, add user accounts, etc. So how will we save money?
Basically, we can save money by eliminating our monthly expenses for Internet connectivity. We will also eliminate our long term capital expenses for equipment replacement of our servers. Of course, these savings are offset by the cost of renting cloud computing space. If monetary savings were the sole criteria, we might be moving in that direction right now. Alas, monetary savings are not the only criteria in making the decision to move to the cloud.
One of the greater concerns in today’s computing environment is security. Security is a factor in nearly all computing environments, but in the cloud, you cede control of security over to the cloud provider. This is no small decision and should not be taken lightly. There have been several recent notable security and privacy breaches in cloud computing. Some of those breaches and other concerns are found in some of the links below:
At WP-ORG, we are dedicated to doing our level best to protect your private email, files, and online accounts. We know and understand what Duty, Honor, and Country means. We want to protect your online presence as well as you expect from us. This is not to say that we cannot fail and make mistakes. We will do everything humanly possible to limit our failures and not repeat our mistakes. When all is said and done, know that your fellow members of the extended West Point Community are the very folks who strive to keep WP-ORG vibrant and safe. For the foreseeable future, we will not be migrating to the cloud.
Please let us know what you think.