The transformative power of the cloud across the enterprise cannot be denied. Beyond business use, the availability of cloud deployment options has altered the way organisations use, implement and purchase technology. Yet, it is frequently oversimplified and even misunderstood. Some, mistakenly view it as a mysterious tool which can be used to solve any IT challenge, while cloud sceptics only see a buzzword with no real use case to support its uptake.
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As might be expected, the truth lies somewhere between the two. The cloud can provide real, powerful benefits to organisations of every shape and size but must be carefully planned and executed every step of the way – just like every other valuable business strategy. When moving workloads to the cloud, carefully consider the five biggest cloud myths outlined below.
Myth One – Migrating to the cloud is purely a technology decision
First and foremost, moving to the cloud is a business decision and needs to be handled as such. When choosing the right cloud-based system to support an organisation’s business goals, the decision must rest on far more than whether the move is technically feasible and what type of cloud environment might work best.
The IT department will need to work with business leaders across the company before migrating any workloads to the cloud in order to set up a truly holistic plan. Whether moving just one solution or deploying cloud technology across every department, this liaison is vital. The organisation’s strategic goals, potential productivity gains, possible business benefits or downsides, and information security concerns must all feed into the final plan.
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Myth Two – Moving to the cloud is not secure
You may have heard the phrase: “There is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer.” Indeed, some seem to believe that businesses are happy to leave vital corporate data sitting under a desk in some unknown basement. In a 2015 study, the Cloud Security Alliance revealed that information security concerns are still the primary roadblock preventing businesses from moving systems to the cloud. Yet, there is a huge chasm between this perception and the truth.
At its core, every cloud vendor’s business is IT service provision. This means they must guarantee that the technology, physical locations and personnel all comply with stringent security standards. When faced with today’s threat landscape, getting security right can be hard. In reality, many individual businesses don’t have access to the right level of resources to achieve the required high levels of security and compliance which are considered standard for cloud providers today. Data security is one of their core competencies and therefore taken seriously.
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That said, IT should never blindly trust a vendor’s assurances of security. It is worth asking cloud providers to establish their security capabilities and fully outline their security processes and certifications. It is also important for companies to get an understanding of the security, governance and regulatory compliance requirements within their particular industry. Without this knowledge, businesses cannot know what is required from a cloud vendor and therefore cannot ensure they are set up to provide the essential services and security levels.
Myth Three – Cloud means Software-as-a-Service
While Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can be an obvious use-case for the cloud, it is far from the only one. Of course, many companies do assess how cloud technology can deliver business services, whether through e-commerce, supply chain transactions or infrastructure services. However, some organisations instead seek a managed services offering. This can include hosting applications in a private cloud deployment, with access to dedicated functionality, application customisation and integration.
Myth Four – Cloud: go all in or not at all
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many vendors advocate a cloud-first strategy as the only way forward. The reality is that moving every single IT asset to the cloud might not always make business, regulatory or technical sense.
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In many cases, organisations are benefitting from hybrid cloud deployment. Plenty of companies shift a number of systems and processes to a public or private cloud while keeping a selection on-premises. This often works because there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ cloud solution: every individual deployment and business will differ. Cloud might be the answer for some use cases but others could require hybrid options or on-premises systems to drive success. While this can often be attributed to regulatory or data sovereignty requirements, sometimes IT simply understands that business drivers rely on certain data remaining within the organisation itself.
Today, organisations can choose from a wide variety of cloud deployment options. No matter the end choice, each option must be thoroughly explored to guarantee it will work from both a technical and business standpoint.
Myth Five – Save money by moving to the cloud
Businesses can reduce costs by migrating to the cloud and it is true that consolidating systems can also help to increase savings. Yet, this is only one aspect of cloud migration. Cost-saving benefits need to correspond to the underlying factors behind the shift towards cloud.
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Eliminating the administration and maintenance required to sustain software can enable businesses to increase productivity and save resources. Other organisations can use the cloud to improve service levels, offering 24/7 support with even limited staff. No matter the end result, businesses must analyse wider organisational gains and the total cost of ownership rather than concentrating on upfront costs. Benefits must be viewed at a strategic level.
Businesses face an ever-growing number of possibilities when it comes to the cloud. It is therefore important to thoroughly assess what exactly needs to be accomplished. Don’t allow a third-party vendor to hurry your decisions. So many deployment options are available but finding the perfect option for your specific business requirements cannot be rushed.