Cloud Computing 101: The Truth Behind the Top 10 Cloud Myths
Cloud computing is here to stay. Gartner predicts that in the next five years, the cloud services industry will grow at nearly three times the rate of overall IT services. But that doesn’t mean cloud myths don’t persist.
Let’s begin by dispelling the biggest myth about the cloud. The cloud is not an amorphous entity floating above us in space. Instead, the cloud is a system of virtually connected data services accessed through the internet. Clouds can be private — limited to a certain organization — or public, shared by many organizations. Most companies today use a hybrid model that involves more than one type of cloud to store and access information.
But cloud myths are still out there, so here are the top 10 and the truth behind each. All are ones you need to understand as you pursue your cloud computing 101 education.
1. The cloud is less secure than on-prem.
Cloud security follows protocols similar to traditional on-prem IT security. As data is transferred over the internet, it’s encrypted. In an on-prem environment, security patches need to be manually updated. However forgetting an update is one of the biggest factors that leads to malware and ransomware attacks.
In the cloud, patches are regularly applied, making your organization more secure. While cloud providers ensure their platform is secure, it’s the user’s responsibility to keep data and applications safe.
Often ransomware and malware are spread when on-prem devices have not been properly patched. In the case of the city of Baltimore, IT administrators were warned to patch their vulnerable systems, but they didn’t. Because of this oversight, a ransomware attack eventually took down the city’s critical systems.
2. The cloud is just a data center.
Unlike a traditional on-prem hardware infrastructure that houses servers and various components that support it, the cloud is a virtual infrastructure delivering information through the internet. To compare it to a data center would be unfair. Cloud solutions drive digital transformation across an organization for a better, faster, smarter way to work.
Cloud computing offers off-prem virtual services to users. As long as they have access to the internet, they have access to their data. This type of computing is often controlled by a third-party that supports maintenance and updates, unlike an actual data center, which is housed on-prem and requires ongoing support.
3. If we shift technologies, I’ll be out of a job.
This myth keeps many IT workers up at night. They fear that if their organization moves to the cloud, they will lose their job. Instead, it is likely that their responsibilities will change and they will be reassigned to more strategic work. Some data center technicians might even choose to reskill or skill up to obtain a cloud position.
By 2022, new technology jobs will increase with the addition of 133 million jobs, according to the World Economic Forum. In that same time period, 75 million job losses will occur, bringing the net gain to a total of 58 million jobs in technology in less than four years.
4. The cloud providers will be accessing my data.
One of the biggest myths about the cloud is data security. Large public cloud providers have customers in financial services, healthcare and government, and must adhere to secure data protocols to maintain their trust.
That’s why major cloud solutions providers have strict data security policies and give you the opportunity to choose the type of services to secure your data at rest or in transit. These services give you the power to control your data and how it is accessed, whether through encryption or two-factor authentication.
5. We aren’t big enough to move to the cloud.
Even small organizations can benefit from a cloud platform. The security and access that comes with the cloud make for a more efficient use of your resources than housing data in an on-prem environment and hiring someone to maintain it. Without a data center to maintain, small organizations can reduce their spend for upgrading hardware and software.
Scalability is another benefit of the cloud for small businesses. Public cloud solutions provide the ability to scale up resources as the business grows, or during upticks in traffic throughout the year. This gives you the option to pay only for the services you need — and when you need them, reducing costly investments.
6. Once we move to the cloud, we’re done.
Another common misconception is that once you move your data to the cloud, you don’t have anything more to do. Moving to the cloud is not a finite solution. This is where a managed services provider (MSP) and shared responsibility model comes in.
An MSP will take care of your cloud environment by monitoring, managing and solving problems for your organization, so your IT team can focus on more strategic initiatives. The MSP will also handle the responsibility to secure your users’ data and applications on an already-secure cloud platform.
7. It’s too hard to stay up-to-date with compliance requirements.
This is a serious concern for some industries, including healthcare, finance and insurance. The cloud has you covered with built-in compliance protection that adheres to guidelines. Public cloud solutions like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud are equipped to handle your overall compliance needs and any in your specific industry.
With proper access controls in place, you can ensure that your data stays safe and compliant. Assign different levels of access based on user requirements to further secure data. Another way to maintain compliance standards is encrypting data both at rest and in transit. Following certain protocols in your cloud environment will keep you compliant.
8. Transitioning to the cloud is complex and complicated.
Depending on your organization’s cloud needs, a migration to the cloud can be as easy as a lift-and-shift. This means that your existing on-prem infrastructure is simply moved to the cloud, maintaining its integrity. If your architecture needs are minimal, this may be your best solution.
In a matter of weeks, not months, your organization can be fully migrated to a cloud infrastructure. With efficient workflows, you can save time and money with a lift-and-shift cloud migration.
9. We need a one-cloud solution.
Some organizations do need only a one-cloud solution. To achieve their goals, larger organizations may require a multi-cloud solution that encompasses more than one public cloud. Other organizations may decide to deploy a hybrid cloud solution, meaning that they use both public and private cloud solutions. Your cloud options will depend on your specific business needs.
You might consider a multi-cloud strategy for better flexibility and the ability to tailor services to suit your requirements. Each cloud provider has its own strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to leverage multiple solutions to achieve your desired results.
10. Moving to the cloud automatically saves money.
While moving to the cloud may not initially save money, in the long term, it may reduce your overall IT spend. Without costly on-prem hardware to update, you are more likely to save money year after year. After moving to the cloud, your total cost of ownership will be lower.
Most organizations agree that stretching costs over the long term is better than incurring large upfront fees for software updates. Also, most cloud providers use a subscription model, so you pay only for what you use. This prevents you from using up your entire budget at one time. The cloud is also scalable, so as your usage decreases, so does your cost.
With the global market for cloud computing expected to reach $623.3 billion by 2023, it makes sense to get all the facts about how the cloud works — and how it can benefit your organization.