Myths of Cloud Computing
Whenever there is a rapid rise of new technology, we also must sift through the hype and misconceptions that follow. Cloud computing is one of those technologies where almost everyone has an opinion, and yet there is still a lot of confusion when it comes to sifting through the facts and myths. Below we take a look at some of the myths that prevail.
Everything works better in the Cloud
Not all businesses and not all applications work better in the cloud. Many applications will run in the cloud, but some will not, or it will be too big of an inconvenience to move them to the cloud. You may be using older applications or have internal dependencies that make it too expensive or difficult to migrate. And some companies have security contracts that simply forbid moving sensitive applications or data to a public cloud. It is not an all-or-none proposition, and it isn’t for everyone. Some systems work fantastically on cloud and some applications simply run better on-premises.
Moving to Cloud is not safe
This myth is simply not true. Security is important for data whether on-premises or in the cloud. The reality is that security breaches are possible wherever it is that your data sits, depending on the level of precautions taken. In a hyper-connected world, no business is immune to the threats of cyber-attacks, data leaks or the associated risks. The cloud does not remove the threat of data leaks or attacks. But this is not necessarily a reason to avoid the cloud. Cloud providers have extensive firewalls and encryption with entire departments devoted to security, much like a private firm’s security precautions. On-premises and cloud alike are both vulnerable and both need to take extensive precautions against network and data attacks or breaches.
The Cloud is never down
Server or on-site hardware failures can leave businesses feeling exposed and may act as an argument to move to cloud. The reality is somewhat different. Certainly, a move to the cloud ensures that your business is not a slave to one server’s success, or the gremlins inherent in hardware. However other issues creep in, especially in a South African business context. Internet speeds and connectivity are issues that plague the South African business landscape, with load-shedding being another threat to that limited connectivity. If you can’t connect to the internet- you can’t access your data or applications in the cloud. Similarly, if there are issues globally or at the site of your cloud’s data storage, you will be affected wherever you are in the world.
The Cloud is always cheaper
This is a bit like saying that it is always better to rent a house. It is only true in certain circumstances. If you do not intend to live somewhere very long, or you are not certain of your growing (or shrinking) needs or you have a habit of not knowing when you will need to move again quickly- renting is an excellent option. If you know you will stay for some time, and are certain of the demands cost-effective- buying can be a good investment and cheaper in the long term. The same applies to the cloud versus on-premises. Some businesses need extra flexibility, with frequent peaks and troughs in their data needs, and in those cases, the cloud is an excellent and often very cost-effective solution! The cloud is very good at scaling swiftly in relation to a business’s needs, which may change quickly and frequently. Other businesses find that moving and keeping their data in the cloud does not work very well or works out to be far too expensive versus keeping it on-site. This depends very much on a business’s backup needs, the number of users who need access to the data and applications as well as the number of applications. Some businesses need multiple users to access, many applications to run concurrently- and sometimes the cloud just works out to be a lot more expensive than hosting on-site.
Cloud data is Public
“Because the term public is used, many users have the false impression that the data that they store in the cloud is easy to get and is not private,” said Engin Kirda, co-founder and chief architect at Lastline, a network security provider. It is true that data that is hosted free of charge, in the case of companies like Gmail or Facebook, is used for marketing and analysis purposes. However paid-for cloud data is different. Companies that sell cloud space have very strict privacy and security guarantees for clients’ data, central to their business model. Spying on their customers’ data would be very harmful to their businesses, and there are very strict protocols for businesses to protect who has access to their data. One aspect of ownership of data is questionable. If a business does not pay the licence or access fee, they lose access to their data and applications, and therefore control of your business’s data is limited in that regard.
As with any technology, cloud suits some applications and businesses better than others and is not a “one-size-fits-all”. Some businesses can gain tremendous advantages by using cloud and the flexibility and access advantages it can provide. But for many other businesses, the cloud trend is not always that suitable, that beneficial, or even possible. What is most important is that you do a thorough analysis of your business’s needs, and assess whether cloud or on-premises is the better and most cost-effective solution for you.