Five Fears That Keep Some Companies Away From the Cloud (And How to Get Over Them)
We are all afraid of something. We fear that something might happen to our loved ones or that we won’t have enough money, some people are afraid of clowns or even just darkness. Fear can be a helpful ally when dealing with everyday situations. But we should not listen to fear when deciding the adoption of a new technology that could greatly boost our business. A lot of people are still quite cautious of cloud computing. They hear others talk about it and praise it, see them use it. But they still don’t want to take the leap themselves. And maybe they’re right, the cloud might not be the optimal solution for every business. It depends on the circumstances. But for most companies the cloud can and will be helpful, it will increase their effectivity and save them time and money. However, it’s quite normal to be a bit wary of something new. If you are still somewhat unsure about the cloud, here is a list of five most common fears of the cloud and how to get over the
1. Fear of change when there’s no going back
A lot of business contracts in B2B are long-term.
It has a lot of advantages, the least of which is the fact that you don’t need to sign a new contract too often. But it can be a bit limiting when adopting new tech. Your company’s needs might change, or your infrastructure, or even the resources of the provider. What if the conditions change after you have moved all your data or applications to the cloud? How easy or difficult would it be to change providers, when the old one stops being suitable?
You don’t have to worry about that. There is always a way back from the cloud. If you ever find out that the cloud is not the right solution for your company, you can even go back to your own physical servers. A step like this is quite rare, experts say, but it is sometimes made by companies that rushed the move to the cloud or picked an unsuitable provider.
That’s what happened to a company where Shawn Wiora worked as a CIO, as he recounted in an article on the ComputerWorld site. His company picked a small provider for their cloud because they wanted to support a local business. But the provider did not manage to grow quickly enough to keep up with Wiora’s company. In the end, they had to jump ship and change their provider on the fly.
But even such a situation can be resolved quite quickly. The application programming interfaces or APIs of clouds are standardized so well that even switching providers can be quite easy. And it is only going to get easier in the near future with technologies such as containering gaining ground in IT very fast. When Wiora talked about his experience, he said that switching from one cloud provider to another was much easier than the first jump into the cloud.
2. Fear of data security
One of the most common fears people often feel about cloud is the fear of insufficient security. After all you are entrusting your data to another party. You might be thinking: could we perhaps secure our data better on a physical server in our company?
In short: no. In full: maybe, but with a lot of additional expenses and complications.
Whatever your security solution is, in practice your data will be more secure in the cloud. The providers guard their security very closely.
At Master DC, we guard against outside attacks through the use of ingenious mechanisms, watchful eyes of our experts and special security solutions from Radware. We will defend you against DoS attacks and other threats. Our data centers our secured physically as well and are, for anyone without the proper authorization, impenetrable. Your data will always be okay thanks to regular backups and in case of natural disasters we can back up your data to another data center that is more than 200 kilometers away thanks to the Site Recovery service. Your data will always be safe, no matter the circumstances.
Security is a word often cited when talking about the cloud, even though security breaches and data leaks happened last year much more frequently to physical servers. They leaked data – and subsequently money – quite a lot. For example, sensitive data about more than 80 million people has been stolen from the servers of the insurance company Anthem, which resulted in more than 100 million dollars in damages.
The cloud computing world has conversely seen only one large incident of data leaking. And that was the attack on Apple’s iCloud that caused a large amount of personal photos of Apple’s clients being leaked, especially those of many celebrities. But Apple has been asking for trouble – they have been putting off fixing a rather big security hole for months. It has allowed attackers unlimited attempts when trying to log in as other users. Through brute force and dictionary method attacks, the iCloud got broken into. Some users were to blame as well, because they used weak and unsafe passwords. The system could be secured perfectly, but if the users do not take basic security precautions, it can’t be helped.
3. The fear of accessibility
When you move your whole infrastructure or all your data into the cloud, you obviously need it to be accessible anytime. If the success of your company hinges on a website or an online shop, every hour of downtime can make a dent in your finances. And as proven by last year’s Dropbox’s misadventure, the potential failures may take up to several days to solve.
But you do not need to worry about availability. Cloud services providers know that it is a key factor, so they work hard to make your data accessible anytime. Master DC even has a 99.99% availability stated in its contracts. That is because we use high-quality hardware and an across the board redundancy. In practice, this means that your cloud is always accessible.
Give the cloud a chance
At Master Internet, we offer a cloud in different configurations and you can choose the one that exactly fits your needs. Free yourself from investments in aging hardware and adapt capacity and performance to your needs.
4. Fear of high expenses
No one wants to pay more than they have to.
That is true even when moving into the cloud. Many companies have overestimated their needs in the past and migrated, enthusiastic about the new technology. They later found out that they do not use the cloud as much as they thought they would. Maybe because some of their most used applications were not ready for the new model. But the companies still had to pay high fees for the cloud, even when they did not use it.
However, this is history. Today, the standard is to offer customers a ‘pay-as-you-go’ payment model. With this, apart from a tiny fee, you only pay for the performance you have actually used. That is how our Live Server service works here at Master DC. If you don’t need the performance, you don’t have to pay for it.
And when setting up cloud at Master DC, you can customize your own cloud in many ways. You are sure you will need a lot of RAM, but just a small amount of storage space? Move two scrollbars and you will get exactly the performance you want. That way you won’t be spending money on stuff you don’t need.
5. Fear of losing control
A lot of people state that what they fear in cloud computing is losing control. But moving your data to an offsite data center does not mean you are losing control over it. All that has changed is the physical location of servers. You still have the same access to your data. You are still the one who decides how your data will be secured, how do you want to access them, what applications you want to use and so on.
It’s best to think about moving into the cloud as of ‘delegation of duties’. You don’t have the server physically in your company and thanks to that you don’t have to worry about the little things. A hard disk drive has failed and needs to be replaced? You don’t have to do that yourself anymore. The server’s performance is not cutting it? No need to get a new hardware, the provider will just give your cloud more performance.
The loss of control when migrating into the cloud is illusory and people often wrongly think that it implies that security is lost as well. But that would be false. As the cloud computing expert David Linthicum says in his article at the InfoWorld site: ‘Your data is only as vulnerable as your security protocols, cloud or not.’
Cloud is not a universal cure for poor security
It’s important to keep in mind that cloud will not solve all your security troubles on its own. If your users are not taught to use safe passwords, your data might be compromised, whether you are in the cloud or not. The same could be said for security gaps in programs. The migration to cloud cannot change this.
And whether you are in the cloud or not, it pays to have alternative processes as a backup for when the IT goes awry. This is an advice that could have made life much easier for Paul Golland, who had to migrate the whole infrastructure of a certain London borough after its provider went bankrupt. It wasn’t until then that the employees realized that they had no way to work without the infrastructure. ‘I can tell you that there was not one person that stepped up and said that they had a manual process that they could fall back on to cover their service in that time. That was a real eye opener and we have learned a lot from that,’ said Golland. Whether you are migrating into the cloud or staying with your own physical servers, this is a lesson that could help a lot of businesses.
It’s important to have alternative processes to company IT in place. For when the bad luck strikes, you can still work without IT for a while.
A recent example comes to mind. My town’s post office was recently severely crippled when the power grid went down for its planned one-day maintenance. The postmen and postwomen were not able to give me my parcel, stating that ‘the system is down’. It didn’t matter that I could see the package sitting on a shelf, just few feet away behind the teller. The parcel ‘can’t be found without the system on’ and even if they could find it through other means (eyes, for example), they still couldn’t give me the package because they need to be able to tell the system I received it.
All it would take is one printable form for these circumstance, where the teller could mark down the details necessary. This form could be scanned or manually typed into the system later. While admittedly not the most elegant solution, it would allow the post office to work when their IT is offline without disappointing their customers. Computers can fail anytime and people need to be ready for that.
Does anything worry you about the cloud?
I have shown you five common fears that keep some companies away from the cloud and why I think that these worries are unnecessary. But what is your point of view? Have you already migrated your company? Are you considering it now? What is or was your biggest fear? And what aspect of the cloud are you not worried about at all? Let us know in the comments below and give us a thumbs up if you liked the post.