It is common knowledge among IT professionals that cloud is no longer merely “hype” and is fundamentally changing the way companies buy and use IT.
Businesses have long since come to realise the cost, flexibility and scalability benefits provided by the cloud make the decision to move away from on-premise IT a no-brainer.
However, despite this acceptance, there are still many recurring misconceptions that undermine the speed of cloud adoption and leave businesses unsure as to whether it really is a wise move after all. Here, I’ll attempt to tackle these misconceptions and put the five most frequent offenders into perspective.
Myth 1: Cloud is not secure
This is probably the most recurrent issue in all cloud conversations, and is a valid concern since IT deals with sensitive data, company reputation, and customers’ experience. However, the cloud can be as secure as an on-premise IT environment. In addition to traditional firewalls, cloud providers adopt a layered approach to security; beginning with physical security, such as rigorous access control procedures, and sophisticated surveillance systems; then logical security with network segregation among the cloud tenants; and separated firewall contexts for each environment managed by the user. Additionally, the use of state-of-the-art intrusion detection and DDoS protection systems help protect the cloud platform from any unwelcome guests. Additional security can also be achieved by encrypting data stored in the cloud, and by extending company access controls and role-based access to the company’s cloud environment.
Myth 2: Cloud is a “best effort”
One great thing about cloud computing is the wide variety of different solutions available. Whether you want something simple for your personal web page, or you need a basic e-commerce portal to sell homemade cookies online, there are a huge number of cloud providers offering it for a very reasonable price; but there are also more robust clouds made for the enterprise. The point is that not all clouds are created equal, but neither are all business requirements. There are cloud solutions for every need and every budget, but when looking for an enterprise-grade cloud provider, the conversation is different. There is no best effort or one-size-fits all approach in the cloud; it is all about performance and availability, backed by meaningful and comprehensive SLAs, with penalties in case of violations.
Myth 3: Once you’re in, there’s no getting out
Cloud vendor lock-in is a big concern for many. Data migration, even in the traditional IT world, is one of the biggest burdens when adopting a new technology platform. Many believe that once data is deployed to a cloud environment, they will never be able to get it back, or will never get it back out in a format that is useful. When choosing a cloud provider, enterprises need to pay special attention to which practices are being followed and which industry standards are being adhered to. The ability to use open application programing interfaces (APIs), import and export virtual machines, and the seamless integration with private networks and private clouds needs to be accommodated by the cloud provider.
Myth 4: I’ll lose what I have invested so far
This concern is very common among businesses that have invested in their own data centre and dedicated hardware over the years. However, using a public cloud doesn’t mean that you have to retire your actual equipment. In many cases, a cloud environment will complement existing infrastructure and provide the agility and flexibility that businesses need; helping them to avoid over -investing in internal platforms. There are many tools in the market that integrate data and systems across on-premises and public cloud environments. The secret is to find a cloud provider that can help map out a cloud strategy that makes use of what already exists in the company’s data centre whilst providing a growth path for the future, leveraging public cloud environments.
Myth 5: compliance and cloud don’t go together
Nowadays companies see themselves in a constant battle to be compliant with security standards. Whether it’s HIPAA, PCI, ISO, SSAE16, or any one of a number of other regulations; every industry has its compliance challenges. When you add a public cloud into the equation, the first reaction is to think that it will become more complicated than ever. However, in the cloud provider’s world, compliance is as important as in any other industry. Cloud providers themselves actively seek to address security compliance requirements in order to help their customers with their own obligations. This should give enterprises more confidence when moving to the cloud, and at the same time complement their internal compliance processes.
Myths are often the results of outdated information, rumour, or logical conclusions from faulty assumptions. The best defence is simply to do research, ask questions, and find out what solutions will best fit your company’s specific needs. There is no one “right” answer any more than there is one “right” cloud environment. The best approach to cloud adoption is to simply know what you need and want, and ask providers how they can best meet your needs.