Being cautious is not a bad thing. But if you’re overly cautious of a perceived risk that’s actually non-existent or not as bad as you think, it can prevent you from taking advantage of opportunities. Cloud computing offers huge opportunities through increased cost-savings, business agility, and availability. But because of fear mongering, some businesses are unfortunately holding back on cloud migration and missing out on those opportunities.
In this post, we discuss some of the fears surrounding cloud computing that are really based on myths. By debunking these myths, we hope you can have a more positive outlook on cloud technology and be able to take advantage of the many benefits it can offer your business.
Cloud environments are not secure
This is arguably the number one obstacle to cloud migration. Some companies are wary of the possible consequences of entrusting their data to third parties. They’re worried that, because of multitenancy, wherein they’d have to share computing resources with other organisations, data might inadvertently leak out.
They’re also concerned with the level of access the cloud service provider’s staff might have with their data. These are still people after all, and some people just can’t resist temptation. What if one of the engineers steals customer’s personal data and sells them in cybercriminal marketplaces in the Dark Web? What if the provider’s data centre gets hit by fire, flood, or a cyber attack?
Multi-tenant clouds can be secured through network segmentation best practices, which can isolate your data from others. Strong access control (e.g. multi-factor authentication) and encryption can prevent data from falling into the wrong hands. Lastly, VM cloning, data backup, and disaster recovery solutions can ensure you always have copies of your VMs in a safe place.
Of course, the level of security largely depends on the cloud services provider (CSP). If the CSP implements security haphazardly, then their cloud infrastructure would certainly be plagued with vulnerabilities.
But the thing is, because of economies of scale, CSPs are in a much better position to implement stronger security than most businesses - including yours. In addition, providers are also compelled to enforce strong security in order to comply with data security regulations and standards like PCI DSS, ISO 27001/27017 /27018, and the Data Protection Act. Because of this, many cloud environments are more secure than you think.
There’s no economic benefit
Cloud services merely transform organisations from a capital expenditure (CAPEX) model to an operational expenditure (OPEX) model. There’s really no cost-savings in the end. In fact, you might even end up spending more in the long run. That’s partly true. But it’s not the end of the story.
When you shift from CAPEX to OPEX, you actually free up your cash flow. That’s a big thing because not all businesses collapse if they lack profitability, but many do if they lack cash. A healthy cash flow makes you more capable of dealing with current demands and grabbing opportunities. Thus, it makes your business more flexible, agile, resilient, and poised for growth.
But you need to look beyond regular monthly expenditures in order to truly appreciate the OPEX model, especially when combined with the elasticity of the cloud. Imagine being able to divert funds into computing resources during a sudden surge in demand and then redirect them to more pressing issues as soon as the demand subsides.
You can’t do that with a traditional IT infrastructure, wherein you’d have to build the needed infrastructure to meet the demand and then leave it underutilised after the demand has gone.
There are other economic benefits as well. Because CSPs (particularly, providers of IaaS clouds) manage the underlying physical infrastructure and deal with issues pertaining to physical computing resources, location, cooling, power, data partitioning, scaling, security, backup, etc., you can save on maintenance and other associated costs.
Cloud computing is still in its infancy
A lot of companies don’t want to have anything to do with bleeding edge technologies because the associated risks are just too high. That’s great because cloud computing is not one of them. According to a recent study by ISACA and the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), “cloud computing is no longer considered an emerging technology…”. As a matter of fact, the study revealed that the increased rate of cloud adoption is due to the perceived market maturity, among others.
Last year, 88% of all organisations in the UK used at least one cloud-based service to host and run applications. This is one of the findings in the latest edition of CIF’s (Cloud Industry Forum) annual report. This edition’s survey respondents included senior IT and decision makers from businesses ranging from SMEs to large enterprises and even representatives of public sector organisations across the country.
Data from the same survey suggests that, by 2018, 93% of all organisations will be using at least one cloud service. All this indicates a rapidly growing appetite for cloud computing services. More and more companies trust the cloud enough. Hence, those who choose to be left behind due to unfounded fears run the risk of being edged out by competitors.
For the few companies who have been holding back on cloud adoption, you might want to re-evaluate your reasons and make sure they’re based on facts. If they’re still based on any of these three myths, it’s time to change your perception and re-approach the subject with an open mind.