How to overcome five major cloud challenges and get back to your business
The process to deploy and manage cloud services is challenging, and most businesses are seeking cloud vendors for the complex undertaking.
Even with the cloud’s many benefits, some companies (including the ones already cloud computing) are still reluctant to fully adopt cloud computing. They are impressed with its obvious advantages, but they are also overwhelmed by its vast range of challenges. The trend most companies are following to overcome the various concerns is working with a cloud service provider to gain access to their expertise and resources.
Let’s take a look at five major challenges and why you can leverage cloud experts to achieve cloud success.
Cloud cost has continuously been a top concern, especially among early adopters. But businesses should recognize the difference between an expense and a worthwhile investment. Based on operational and direct cost savings associated with cloud integration, most corporations consider its financial model to be an advantage. For example, unlike a non-cloud based system, some cloud vendors offer a capital model where users pay-per-usage. According to an article by Gartner, typical businesses using a cloud-based system pay per usage and enjoy the following benefits:
- Greater cost agility with infrastructure as a service (IaaS)—Cloud services have a high degree of cost variability, so expenses can quickly decrease if demand for services is reduced.
- Increased retained cash—By using cloud/on-demand services, CIOs do not have to invest upfront to buy IT infrastructure via regular refresh cycles.
- Reduced opportunity costs—Opportunity costs are defined as the value foregone by pursuing a certain course of action. By choosing to use cloud/on-demand, a company can free up cash to invest in other parts of the business.
Although declining in previous years, cloud security continues to be a top cloud challenge, and the perceived risks are the single biggest factor hindering a business’s cloud adoption. The five biggest security concerns within this challenge are data breaches, data loss, regulatory compliance and sophistication of hackers. Yet even with these concerns, the cloud is still more secure than traditional IT systems.
Here are a few security components to ensure a secure cloud:
Physical infrastructures—Cloud technology is always improving, allowing for better ways to secure your data. Keeping up with these innovations and making sure your cloud operates on modern technologies ensures a secure platform.
Layered Architecture—Layers allow companies to add additional firewalls, encryption, load-balancing applications, rule-based traffic restrictions and more. BriteSky’s layered architectures, which function as a private cloud, give every company a separate, secure cloud environment, and prevent attacks and other malicious threats.
PICKING THE RIGHT INFRASTRUCTURE
The cloud comes in all different shapes and sizes, and your organization’s success with the cloud depends on choosing the right cloud that suits your business’s needs. Some elements to decide include:
- Understand current workload levels—companies run 79% of their workloads in the cloud, with a mix of storage between public (41%) and private (38%) clouds. Assessing workloads allows businesses to decide which cloud is best suited to their workloads.
- Choose the cloud type— the cloud is offered in a variety of types (public, private, hybrid or community), and each provide different features such as: shared vs. private access, higher levels of security, lower costs, greater performance. Understanding the various types and what they offer will help you determine which cloud would be most advantageous.
- Pick the cloud model—Many recognize these acronyms—IaaS, PaaS, SaaS—but only a few can describe what they are and what they mean to cloud computing. Simply put, a cloud model is the infrastructure of the cloud that concludes the service it will provide. For example, applications including CRM and Office 365 run on SaaS. There numerous cloud models and utilizing a mixture of them could yield positive results for increasing business revenues, emergency preparedness, and innovation.
DETERMINING THE RIGHT VENDOR
Many corporations hear the buzzwords, know the benefits and are left with a glitzy sales pitch after meeting with a potential cloud provider. Cue the contract signing and off goes the deployment, only to be met with disappointment due to a misunderstanding between parties on the client’s business needs and cloud offerings. When choosing a vendor to deploy and manage your cloud, it pays to employ due diligence to ensure an optimal cloud solution and partnership.
Here are two steps to help you choose a cloud vendor.
Step One: Align your business objectives
Think of what you hope to accomplish with the cloud. Is a secure system, collaboration, capital expenditure, etc.? The cloud provider’s responsibility is to help you attain these objectives, but each vendor specializes in something different. When meeting with cloud providers, be clear with your objectives and confirm your potential vendor has the expertise and resources to achieve them.
Step two: Technology, Security, and Cost
Understand what services the cloud vendor offers and if these services correlate with your requirements. Discuss your options concerning the provider’s technologies, security protocols, cost and other aspects that are critical to your cloud services. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Can you use your existing equipment?
- What cloud type would they suggest for your business?
- What cloud models do they offer?
- Do they have managed services?
- Can you explain the costs associated with storing and retrieving data from the cloud?
- Will your technology be compatible with theirs?
- What security regulations do they follow? (Each country is different.)
- What firewalls exist?
LACK OF RESOURCES AND EXPERTISE
You might be surprised here, but a lack of resources and expertise is even more of a cloud challenge among businesses than cost and security. But we aren’t shocked. The cloud is relatively new since gaining momentum in the early 2000’s, and it’s a challenge for companies to keep up with its swift innovation. The infrastructure is complicated; the offerings are not a “one size fits all” approach; and it requires specialized skills to install and maintain. Even when businesses want to implement the cloud, they lack the know-how to do so, and many find their in-house IT teams do not have the capacity to meet the demands. Teaming up with cloud experts means you can focus on other business priorities while your cloud services are effectively managed.
Despite the challenges associated with the cloud, it will soon become a common IT necessity for all businesses. But it is complicated, and migrating your organization to the network requires an experienced team with the proper knowledge and skill set to meet its complex demands. For this reason, companies see the value in seeking out cloud vendors to help them implement and manage the process, finding it an easier and most cost-effective approach. Corporations who do this can then focus on operating their business and not on the complexities of the cloud.
Developing a cloud strategy is one of the first steps businesses should take to implement the cloud. For more information on how to build a cloud strategy download BriteSky’s free eBook “The Cloud: It’s Closer Than You Think, Defining Your Cloud Strategy”.
1 State of the Cloud Report. Right Scale, 2017, www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2016-state-cloud-survey
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5 Linthicum, David. “Clouds are more secure than traditional IT systems — and here’s why.” http://searchcloudcomputing.techtarget.com/opinion/Clouds-are-more-secure-than-traditional-IT-systems-and-heres-why
6 Don’t Rule Out the Cloud. BriteSky Enterprise Cloud Provider, 2015. https://www.britesky.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/BriteSky-e-Book.pdf
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