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Pulling Back the Curtain on Cloud Myths

Are you considering moving aspects of your business into the cloud?   Change is scary for many people—and so too it goes in the business world. While the statistics prove businesses are continuing to migrate to the cloud, not all are doing so without trepidation. While any decision that will transform a business’ day-to-day operations shouldn’t be taken lightly, it’s important that executives take the time to separate fact from fiction and cast an eye toward a technology revolutionizing the business place.

Are you considering moving aspects of your business into the cloud?   Change is scary for many people—and so too it goes in the business world.

While the statistics prove businesses are continuing to migrate to the cloud, not all are doing so without trepidation. While any decision that will transform a business’ day-to-day operations shouldn’t be taken lightly, it’s important that executives take the time to separate fact from fiction and cast an eye toward a technology revolutionizing the business place. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some unfounded fears that might delay a company’s decision to move into the cloud.

Myth #1: The cloud is unsecure.

Because sensitive data is stored in the cloud instead of on-premises, the argument could be made that someone else is looking after your data and therefore it can be compromised. What’s more, businesses that move to the cloud are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks—right? The truth of the matter is that reputable vendors have strong security measures in place that ensure your data is secure. Looking more deeply into the services included, some will find that in some cases, the cloud provider has invested more in security measures than some companies have implemented internally.  In some cases, economies of scale allow the providers to invest more in the infrastructure needed for more advanced security and update the security more frequently. With cryptographic measures, firewalls and SSL-protected endpoints—and servers being stored in secure data centers and various configurations of public, private and hybrid cloud solutions—business owners can rest assured that their data is formidably protected.

Myth #2: The cloud forces vendor lock-in.

One of the benefits often cited in moving to the cloud is that fact that you are not hampered by long-term financial commitments in contracts.  However, you may find your resource needs or service needs change over time and you will want to consider using a different provider.  Some pundits suggest there are rampant interoperability problems in cloud computing and that vendors don’t always make it easy for their customers to switch to their rivals. By doing basic due diligence and asking thorough questions, owners can sidestep any concerns relating to vendor lock-in. Decision makers should pay extra attention to service level agreements (SLAs) and consider a service’s availability, how many users can be served at the same time, whether there will be any planned downtime, how outages are measured when services are interrupted and the liability a provider bears when systems are down.  While you may not be charged to move your data into the cloud initially, you may incur charges to move your data back out.  It pays to take a little extra time to evaluate your choices before you decide where to source your cloud resources.   

Myth #3: Your hosted provider won’t give you the same support your in-house team provides.

Cloud hosting providers excel at delivering best-in-class customer service with live chat functionality, 24/7 support and, most importantly, experts on hand who can quickly address concerns.  Let’s face it; it is not always easy to find funds to provide that level of service internally.  Prior to migrating to the cloud, a business’ IT team can be bogged down with maintenance and other responsibilities that they don’t have time to deal with everyday administrative tasks like staying on top of upgrades, compliance considerations and more. Signing up with a cloud provider has an additional benefit to your internal operations.  Your technical support staff can be freed to focus on other mission-critical aspects of a company’s technological infrastructure.  

Myth #4: You won’t be able to control costs

Some people view using a cloud provider in the same way they view larger outsourcing contracts.   Indeed, there are often issues cited when work is outsourced that the billing ends up at such a high level, you can’t tell who is using the service.   This is not the case with cloud.   While the invoice may directed to a single point for payment, there are ways to manage at a more granular level.   Most providers offer consumption level details, which support the invoices.  The issue becomes one of managing and interpreting a large amount of detailed consumption data.  IT Financial management tools specifically designed for cloud can transform thousands of records into information showing consumption by organization, application, and even geographic location if needed.   This information can be married with your internal consumption data to provide a comprehensive view of IT costs to each entity within your organization.  Taking advantage of features like web-based reporting, entity managers can view all consumption levels that help impart more accountability for the charges. This makes those entities partners in managing expenses. 

Like many emerging processes and technologies, myths began to circulate about the effectiveness of public clouds.  Time is showing that most of those myths are just that – myths.   Public cloud services are viable options, which offer numerous benefits.  However, like any new technology, those planning the change must still exercise due diligence in formulating cloud strategy to ensure an optimal outcome.

Penny Collen is the Senior Financial Solutions Architect for Cloud Cruiser, Inc. Her work in operations and development provides a foundation for business process analysis across a broad spectrum of disciplines, including asset management, service pricing, software capitalization and activity-based cost models for hybrid IT. Ms. Collen was recently named IT Financial Management Association Educator of the Decade.

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