Overcoming Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is often positioned as a magic bullet to IT infrastructure challenges—which may not always be the case. There are quite a few reasons why cloud might be a good fit to effectively solve critical business operations and productivity issues your organization may be facing.
The disadvantages and benefits of moving previously on-prem ("touchable") systems to the cloud is often complicated by a lack of cloud expertise and uncertainty of costs that creates. This decision-making process quickly becomes overwhelming, when adding topics of cloud security and future operational costs.
A common question is, how to ensure that a new cloud environment meets or exceed the security posture of the traditional on-prem environments. When it comes to compliance and security audits, it's imperative that features meet (or exceed) security requirements.
Calculating Return on Investment
Cloud solutions may not allow you to take high amounts of risk in terms of ROI compared to ultra-low cost solutions. Some organizations are okay with extended downtime. It’s not very compelling to talk about disaster recovery when the cost of a three-day outage is relatively minimal with limited impact on general business operations. Businesses that understand potential losses are able to better determine exactly what extended down times mean to the business in both the short and long run.
“Paying twice as much for highly-available solutions to protect our business from something that may never happen was impossible to justify. Cloud services provide us a more cost effective recovery solution, where we only pay for resources we use, and not pre-paying based on anticipated failures.”
Chief Operations Officer
So, how do you know if this applies to you and your organization? Sit down with key stakeholders that understand the flow of money coming in, and the services or products going out. Take an objective and holistic look at how much it costs the business to operate each hour of the day. Ask how potential productivity loss may affect potential revenue gains in relation to business financial goals and commitments. This is the only way to accurately evaluate potential ROI (Return on Investment) for any proposed cloud or disaster recovery solution.
Understanding downtime and revenue flow thresholds enables you to more accurately define and document Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) for cloud backups, Recovery Time Objective (RTO) for being back up and running, as well as prioritization of RTO objectives based on critical business operations and departments.
Limited IT Resources for Cloud Deployment
Lack in-house cloud expertise? You’re not alone. Taking on the amount of training and certifications needed to effectively implement and managed day-to-day operations of cloud infrastructure can be daunting to say the least. Cloud innovation is driving a lot of changes in IT infrastructure around the world and across all industries.
Regardless if it’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Services (IaaS), public cloud services, private cloud, hybrid environments, e-commerce, general IoT (Internet of Things), big data, or somewhere in between, businesses of all sizes struggle to keep up with the continuous innovation while also keeping things running smoothly. With the current speed of innovation, the ability and skillsets required to quickly adapt and pivot has become a necessity for those supporting business operations.
Ability to take advantage of new opportunities means having agile systems and people in place to change rapidly and implement new methodologies, knowledge, and skills within your organization. Whether switching from traditional networking to virtualization and containers, from physical servers to IaaS and PaaS—technology is ever evolving. Having the organizational awareness and skillsets to keep up is crucial in being able to support new services and growing business systems.
Take Microsoft Azure for example. It’s relatively simple to spin up Microsoft Azure cloud services to run basic applications or act as a development environment. That said, there are additional aspects that responsible cloud deployment encompass. From modules, security models, and storage approach, to developing systems for managing the access and utilization of all the above—a lot is required to keep cloud environments optimized without compromising security.
businesses have difficulty finding cloud experts resulting in misconfigurations and failed cloud deployments
As an organization looking to account for the additional skills needed there are only really two options—build or buy. To “build” entails acquiring organizational expertise, whether through training or possibly hiring additional employees. The biggest drawback here is time, since it’s likely that an organization has cloud needs today that cannot wait for training 30 or 90 days down the road. To “buy” involves outsourcing IT expertise to become an extension of your team. While this may sound more expensive, partnering with a managed service with cloud expertise helps organizations reach cloud goals faster with more flexibility than building out those same skillsets internally.
Cloud Security Threats
Public cloud threats continue to grow as more organizations make the move to public cloud platforms such as Azure, AWS or Google. The majority of breaches are due to misconfigurations of the cloud platform. Azure for instance, provides best practices on configuring all workloads based on each individual workload.
Microsoft 365 has been one of the most hacked sites in the world over the years. Since it is a public website, bad actors have been trying to gain access to users email by using username/passwords they purchase on the Dark Web. By following best practices such as enabling MFA and using separate passwords for all online accounts per person can help keep accounts secure. The public cloud works the same way.
By leveraging Centre’s Cloud Detection and Response (CDR) service will provide visibility as new workloads are added, CDR will advise if they are configured against best practices so the workloads can be properly secured. This feature is in addition to threat hunting capabilities in CDR.
cloud breaches prevented using Cloud Detection and Response (CDR) to actively hunt, effectively block and automatically isolate malicious cloud activity
Cloud Connectivity, Network Availability and Outages
In order to reap the benefits of cloud computing, your business must always have an internet connection. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around this fact. You need a network in order to send files to the cloud and retrieve them.
You need a network to be able to use your virtual machines even if you pay for cloud infrastructure services. If you lose your network connection because of a storm or an outage, you may experience some downtime. However, working with a certified cloud expert that prioritizes cloud security can help you develop a successful business continuity plan that meets availability and security compliance requirements.
“Most of the publicized cloud outages affect organizations that maintain a legacy deployment model when moving to the cloud. Businesses with the most cloud success implemented a cloud strategy around availability—first.”
In the end, while there are disadvantages to cloud computing, making the decision to move forward with digital transformation solves a majority of IT infrastructure challenges. Not going it alone and partnering with cloud and cybersecurity experts is the best approach for supporting current and future business operations and maximizing productivity.