I’ve posted a number of articles on SharePoint records management and the ‘cloud’ and I’ve spoken at length on the subject with a whole host of people, both pro-cloud and anti-cloud. I can honestly say both camps make strong arguments for or against managing records in a cloud environment.
Personally, I’m a little torn by the whole ‘cloud’ thing, but it reminds me a lot of the transition from mainframe computers to the client/server model we all went through 20 years or so ago. (Yes, I’m that old.)
I can remember a lot of people I worked with who resisted the change for a long time. And they often did so with fairly compelling arguments. But eventually the obvious benefits of the client/server model overwhelmed even the most ardent opponents of change and, in the end, the new way of doing things was almost universally accepted.
I don’t think operating in the cloud is a whole lot different. There are plenty of good reasons not to do it. But my sense is, over time, vendors will devise ways to mitigate those risks to the point that the anti-cloud argument will become more and more difficult to make.
Easily the most compelling argument I hear against a cloud-based solution from a Records Manager’s perspective is this: How do I manage my records repository pursuant to location-based compliance requirements when it’s not completely clear where my records repository even is? Records Managers are very reluctant to give up control of their record repository. This shouldn’t be surprising given it’s their neck that gets choked if regulations get violated or data sovereignty is beached.
So how can this risk be mitigated? Enter Office 365 and the hybrid cloud model. In a nutshell, a hybrid cloud model allows you to combine your current on-premises SharePoint records repository (and all the compliance and security that goes with it) with the cloud-based efficiency of Office 365.
If your organization is contemplating a cloud computing strategy (and it should be) and you have concerns about your SharePoint records repository, I encourage you to learn more about hybrid cloud environments. A great place to start is a terrific whitepaper on the subject by Paul Robinson of Microsoft, UK. You can find it here.