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Up In The Cloud: Three Misconceptions
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Up In The Cloud: Three Misconceptions - Executive Leadership Articles

Up In The Cloud: Three Misconceptions

Executive Leadership Articles

Up In The Cloud: Three Misconceptions

As you explore possibilities for moving your company’s computing needs into the cloud, you’re going to come across a few misconceptions. Interestingly, most misconceptions are partly true, and there may have been a time when they were completely true, so it’s important to ask a neutral, informed party whether your understanding of some pretty complex issues is complete and up-to-date. Since the landscape is changing constantly, some of what we present here may be outdated in only a few months, but even if the details have evolved, the underlying concerns will probably still be relevant.

Misconception #1: Moving to the cloud will save/cost more money in the long run.

People we’ve spoken to have had one or the other misconception about the price of moving to the cloud, which tells us that the issue is too complex to generalize. On one hand, cloud computing should eliminate some of the redundant and unnecessary licensing that many firms have trouble keeping the reins on, but on the other, some cloud options cost more than their traditional counterparts. This only addresses the proprietary application software you already use, without thinking as well about migrating your data, your storage architecture, and adjusting other systems your people have become expert at. There may be training expenses and some lost productivity in the transition, and you may find your costs changing (upward or downward) as trade-specific software providers themselves figure out the best way to meet customers’ cloud needs. In making your move to the cloud, it’s not enough to assume that costs will go up or down. You’re almost surely going to have to do some deep analysis of the way your company uses its computers.

Misconception #2: The cloud makes our data more/less secure.

Again, there are arguments for both: better security in the cloud and worse security. On one hand, major cloud providers understand that security is their highest priority, so they spend enormous resources on making sure your data is there when you need it, and not there for anyone else. On the other, malevolent actors understand that they can do the most damage by targeting the major providers, which means they direct more of their resources at finding and exploiting vulnerabilities there. It’s a tricky issue, but unless you have people in your organization dedicated full-time just to security, and you’re giving them whatever they need to stay current and aware, your best bet is to go with those providers who do. It helps that there are emerging third-party certifiers for best data security practices; as these best practices become standardized, you’ll want to keep an eye on what they say about your cloud provider.

Misconception #3: Cloud providers may be spying on me.

This is certainly a valid concern. It seems every day, there is news about service providers or consumer-level product manufacturers admitting that they’ve been using their service or product to spy on their customers, some of them leaders in their field. One can only hope that the bad light shed on these violators of trust will act as a deterrent—for their own self-preservation if nothing else—against similar behavior from more established cloud providers. Yet such violations of our trust happen so often they’re just about never a surprise anymore. As you select your company’s provider, you may need to ask some questions about guarantees the providers make about not engaging in such behavior. At least one personal (and small-business) cloud provider has touted its encryption for more than ten years—the encryption is such that they wouldn’t be able to read your data even if they wanted to. It’s a great option, one that some of the major cloud providers are moving toward (if they haven’t gotten there yet). Ask for it. There are third-party encryption services for your cloud-stored data, but they add a layer of involvement that large firms may find difficult to work with.

 

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Up In The Cloud: Three Misconceptions - Executive Leadership Articles

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