Thankfully today, we live in a world where most people recognize the value and benefits of cloud computing; such as predictable costs and flexibility. Still, there remains some ambiguity, and oftentimes fear, by many in regards to who has access to their data and where exactly it is stored.
While the cloud industry is rapidly growing, many companies are not sure if the switch is right for them. And even more haven’t been recommended to switch to the cloud by their IT service provider.
In house networks and hardware brings a sense of security, but regulatory compliance, data loss, data breaches and disaster recovery are far less likely to occur when you are using the cloud. If you’ve seen news stories of hacks happening to users of big businesses like Apple and feared switching your own data over to the cloud, you need to know that many of these headlines don’t detail the fact that the breach wasn’t of the actual cloud itself, but vulnerable password protection of accounts.
The truth is, the safest place to keep your data safe is locked underground. Is this a realistic way to run your company? No. Cloud computing relies on encryption to defend the data, which is something that is very difficult to decrypt and gain access to. The utilization of more complex security systems makes the cloud safer than locally stored data.
Other concerns you may have may be cost related. Executives and decision makers fear that the cost of moving to the cloud will be higher than what they are paying for operating on their on site equipment. However, many companies found that after moving their workloads to cloud environments, they were able to save money from their original operating costs.
Local storage requires a large upfront investment to purchase all of the costly equipment and installation. Cloud storage doesn’t require this, and reduces your costs to the monthly subscriptions. In addition to this, as your company scales up or down, your storage can be adjusted to match what your budget is which offers great flexibility.
Moving to the cloud means all your services will be running through the internet instead of a local network. Performance issues are a common concern to have when companies consider moving data intensive applications to the cloud. Bandwidth is not a concern if your IT support has a thorough understanding of your infrastructure. Your IT evaluations should cover everything, including both your internal and external network flows, all applications (this means virtual desktops, voice, video, etc), and users. Testing these network flows, and ensuring the current internet will be able to handle the switch to the cloud, can prevent any delays in user performance.
This is one of the biggest reasons companies haven’t switched to the cloud, even over cost and security concerns. If your current IT provider hasn’t introduced you to cloud based servicing, this could be a huge sign that they aren’t trained to run cloud infrastructure. Most IT services are trained to handle server maintenance, network infrastructure, and application management. But few IT companies are actually trained in handling cloud migration and ongoing management but this is crucial for your business. If it hasn't been presented to you yet, you may need to rethink your current support.
Some cloud providers offer a team of cloud, network, security and infrastructure experts that essentially augment your team once you are in the cloud. Your in-house IT team no longer has to monitor server health, and can focus on more strategic initiatives versus spending hours troubleshooting hardware.
Moving to the cloud should not be a strategy to off-load your data center and wash your hands of any responsibility. Moving to the cloud should be a partnership with your cloud provider as, in some sense, the cloud provider should become an extension to your internal IT team. By moving to the cloud, you gain technical expertise and, if the provider offers it, the benefit of the provider's 24/7 operations.
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