Cloud computing has been around for two decades, and corporate adoption has been widespread, with over 60% of all corporate data currently stored in the cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2025, half of enterprise IT spending will be for cloud computing. Yet, there remain misconceptions about the cloud that prevents other organizations from migrating or have led to disappointing results.
Here are the seven most common myths about cloud computing and the realities debunking them:
Myth #1: The main value of the cloud is cost savings.
Truth: It is possible to save money migrating to a cloud-based system. There are no huge investments, maintenance, and upgrade of data center hardware and software. And as the cloud is a pay-as-you-go model, you only spend on the on-demand computing resources you use.
However, the primary benefit of cloud computing is not cost savings. Saving money is a bonus. But the main reasons companies migrate to the cloud are convenience, flexibility, and agility. You do away with the time and hassle of researching, purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading every piece of hardware and every software tool.
It also allows you to shift your IT spend from fixed capital expenditures (CAPEX) with an on-premise infrastructure to variable operating expenditures (OPEX) with a cloud environment. You can manage costs better and allocate resources more efficiently with greater operational flexibility.
The cloud also enables you to be nimbler, as you can tap more computing power when you need it. That translates to more complex analytics and greater experimentation and testing of ideas. These, in turn, can lead to faster innovation, product lead time, and time to market, contributing to revenue growth opportunities.
So, do not base your decision to migrate to the cloud solely on cost savings compared to on-premises costs. The business benefits of the cloud instead should drive your decision.
Myth #2: The cloud is cheaper/more expensive.
Truth: In most cases, you can reap savings from using the cloud. However, there are times when it can cost more when you are using the cloud. For example, if you buy a fixed amount of computing power or reserve a dedicated server in the cloud for an extended period that is underutilized, the cost could be more expensive. Migrating to the cloud could also be more costly if you are at an early stage of your on-premises life cycle.
To reap the cost benefits of migrating to the cloud depends on several factors. The most critical of these factors being the savings generated by proper configuration and governance. The shared-resource and pay-as-you-go model works best if you monitor and optimize your resource consumption.
You also need to think long-term and consider the total cost of ownership. Your upfront cost in migrating would have paid for itself, and your maintenance cost for resources would be eliminated.
However, there are cases where cloud computing can be more expensive but not because of poor resource governance. For instance, if you want to run workloads in the clouds to scale fast, your increased usage will increase costs. But you can justify this as it drives business growth. If business benefits outweigh the higher cost, the cloud can be great value for money.
So, it is unrealistic to expect cost savings in all situations. On the other hand, it is a mistake to think cloud computing is more expensive. You should consider the different use cases and evaluate them on a case-by-case basis.
Myth #3: Cloud computing is not secure/more secure.
Truth: Data breaches in the cloud, and the news headlines they have generated have caused many companies to be wary about the security of their sensitive data. But it is a myth that the cloud is less secure than on-site data storage. This is the most common misconception that has become a barrier to cloud adoption. The truth is most data breaches happen in on-premise data centers.
Cloud service providers (CSPs) offer far superior security than any in-house IT environment. They have invested in cloud security and hired top certified cyber security experts. They also employ different security frameworks and controls, develop new tools and methods, review their governance frameworks regularly, and leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict and respond to cyber-attacks.
The biggest threat to CSPs is a data breach. Otherwise, they can lose their clients, putting their business at risk. They are also subject to different regulatory bodies and compliance requirements, so they take best-in-class security seriously.
And yet, cloud security is not guaranteed. It is not automatically more secure. Cloud security is a shared responsibility between the CSP and its customers. Unfortunately, most data breaches are the fault of business clients. Gartner predicts that, through 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.
This usually involves misconfiguration of the cloud service or human error. Companies should not assume cloud computing is not secure, and they should also not assume that they are. They need to take proper measures to enhance their cloud security. This includes defining the correct policies and adopting a secure development, security, and operations (DevSecOps) model to automate security services across the full development cycle, and training developers to configure security controls properly.
Myth #4: The cloud means surrendering control.
Truth: Just as in any outsourcing model, using cloud services does mean giving up control. Instead of owning assets such as hardware and software, you are renting them from a CSP. You also give up control over maintaining and upgrading infrastructure, monitoring applications, and ensuring security. Yet, these are the very benefits of cloud computing.
What companies are most concerned about is surrendering control over their data that is stored in the cloud. This may be understandable for free services that use data for advertising purposes but not for pay-to-play CSPs with strong data protection and privacy guarantees. CSPs also provide clients with ways to see their activities and actions for visibility and transparency. You have admin access to view and control your data. And various configurations restrict where the data resides.
In the end, you are in control of and are accountable for the security and use of your corporate data, regardless of where it resides. This requires governance and oversight in cloud computing. Your responsibility is to institute and enforce legal and contractual controls, monitor performance and security, and audit your CSP. You should also have a plan for cloud disaster recovery for the worst-case scenario.
Myth #5: The cloud is all or nothing.
Truth: Most companies, more than eight out of 10, use a hybrid architectural model where they combine public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises infrastructure. So, the cloud is not an all-or-nothing proposition.
The cloud may not benefit all workloads equally. Cloud computing is best for highly variable or unpredictable workloads, for example. But migrating a legacy application to the cloud is a bad idea. Also, for sectors that have regulations around data sovereignty, such as financial services, telecommunications, and government, applications and data are required to be located on-premise.
Using cloud computing and on-site data centers are not mutually exclusive. You should evaluate cloud-based solutions on a per-workload basis. You do not need to rush migrating all your applications and data to the cloud. For example, you can start by eliminating your own physical disaster recovery site and use a CSP as your new backup. You can take a more gradual and systematic approach without abandoning your on-premises data center altogether.
Myth #6: Multi-cloud is always better.
Truth: Most organizations start with one CSP and eventually move towards a multi-cloud strategy. According to a Gartner survey, 81% of respondents work with two or more cloud vendors. And that is understandable as vendor lock-in is a primary concern for organizations.
With prices for cloud computing services falling, companies do not want to be tied to a single cloud provider. And they want to hedge their bets by not being dependent on one CSP. Many take a functionality-based approach, using one CSP as their cloud infrastructure provider and another for applications and data.
While there are many advantages to a multi-cloud strategy, it is not always the best option in every case. Smaller businesses do not need multiple vendors. Larger organizations may want the simplicity of a single-cloud approach. Others prefer working with one CSP that already has a complete tech stack.
The important thing is to take things slow and not jump from on-premises to multi-cloud.
Myth #7. The cloud should be all-in.
Truth: Lift and shift cloud migration is dropping all your applications and data to the cloud as-is or with minimal changes. This is a fast, simple, and cost-effective way to rehost to the cloud at once. However, as this approach is not optimized for the cloud, it will not be able to benefit from cloud features like autoscaling and automated performance management. These non-native applications can also suffer from higher latency or other performance issues.
On the other extreme is refactoring all applications and their architecture for the cloud into a cloud-native model. This allows companies to maximize all the benefits of the cloud. However, it takes a lot of time, effort, skill, and money.
Instead of rushing with a lift and shift approach or transforming everything by refactoring, consider other migration strategies that leverage the cloud’s benefits yet are more cost-effective and less time-consuming. For example, re-platforming lets you optimize a portion of an application before moving to the cloud, and repurchasing involves abandoning your existing system and moving to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. Work with a CSP that provides cloud migration services to help you move your applications and data seamlessly.
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