How to Overcome 5 Disadvantages of the Cloud
UPDATED: June 6, 2023
Utilizing the cloud is often positioned as an easy fix to IT infrastructure challenges, which may not always be the case. There are certain disadvantages of cloud services to keep in mind as your organization considers migrating.
The pros and cons of cloud services, or moving to an off-premise server, is often complicated by a lack of cloud expertise and proper IT strategy. The decision-making process in whether to migrate to the cloud and how to do so often becomes overwhelming, especially when adding in concerns of cloud security and future operational costs.
Common Drawbacks of Migrating to the Cloud
#1 Difficulty Calculating Accurate Return on Investment (ROI)
PROBLEM: Cloud solutions may not allow you to take high amounts of risk in terms of ROI compared to ultra-low cost solutions. Some businesses are okay with extended downtime. It’s not very compelling to talk about disaster recovery when the cost of a three-day outage has a 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 solution, where we only pay for resources we use, and not wasting money based on anticipated failures.”
Chief Operations Officer in Houston, TX
SOLUTION: 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 for any proposed cloud or disaster recovery solution.
Understanding downtime and revenue flow thresholds enable 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.
#2 Limited IT Resources for Cloud Deployment
PROBLEM: Another very common drawback of cloud services is the amount of specific and nuanced expertise needed to optimize your migration and maintenance. Taking on the amount of training and certifications needed to effectively implement and manage day-to-day operations of cloud infrastructure can be daunting to say the least and unfortunately, nearly 60% of businesses have difficulty finding cloud experts, resulting in misconfigurations and failed cloud deployments.
Regardless of the platforms you're utilizing, businesses of all sizes struggle to keep up with and react to the rapid pace of innovation, especially while prioritizing day-to-day operations and objectives.
The ability to take advantage of new opportunities and further long-term competitive edge 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 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 approaches, 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.
SOLUTION: 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 limitation 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 that has proven cloud expertise helps organizations reach cloud goals faster with more flexibility than building out those same skillsets internally.
#3 Connecting to the Cloud Requires an Internet Connection
PROBLEM: Even though the cloud's worst weakness can be resolved, cloud solutions are often overlooked by cloud skeptics regardless of whether or not solutions exist. One of the key solutions for protecting critical data is a new technology that delivers backup Internet service — which takes over if an outage occurs. The carriers are independent of each other and changeover is automatic in an outage.
SOLUTION: The key to the backup internet plan is that downtime will not be a factor due to the seamless transition between carriers. In order to accomplish this goal, you need to subscribe to a backup internet provider. Then you must install a smart router equipped with an Internet failover solution designed to be unaffected by Internet outages.
One of the biggest reasons to avoid an in-house infrastructure is that it requires much more attention and expense when it comes to maintenance and a backup and recovery plan. You will constantly need to deal with finding solutions to problems that would not exist in a cloud infrastructure. The cloud offers built-in solutions. A cloud solution will take the stress out of certain areas of your business and raise comfort level.
Asking your cloud consultant about internet failover solutions can easily solve this common dependency issue. It's most cost-effective to work with one tech consultant rather than several vendors. We're experienced at helping Texas businesses across Texas migrate to the cloud as well as providing outsourced IT support. A major advantage to moving to the cloud is that the business can be operated remotely around the clock.
Additionally, a business that operates online or depends on the Internet must be able to predict its downtime so that it can assess its technology and failover strategies. When a company has no failover strategy, which is a plan of action to prevent downtime, it increases the risk for business downtime.
The key to a successful failover plan is that it offers backup in such a way that odds fall close to zero for downtime. Using a backup internet solution boosts a company's reliability. The cloud offers redundancy in data backup so that data is more protected than in a proprietary enterprise solution. The more prepared a company is for disasters, the more favorability it will have in online reviews.
#4 Cloud Security Threats
PROBLEM: Public cloud security 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 in the cloud platform. For instance, Azure provides best practices on configuring all workloads based on each individual workload.
Furthermore, 82% of our businesses claim traditional security solutions are not effective enough for the cloud and 80% of those experiences cloud breaches when Managed Detection Response (MDR) is not deployed.
SOLUTION: By following best practices, such as enabling MFA and using separate passwords for all online accounts per person, the security limitations of cloud computing can be overcome.
By leveraging Centre’s Automatic Threat Containment service will provide visibility as new workloads are added, MDR 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 MDR. As a result, over 95%of cloud breaches are prevented using MDR to actively hunt, block, and automatically isolate malicious cloud activity.
#5 Cloud Connectivity, Network Availability and Outages
PROBLEM: In order to reap the benefits of cloud services, 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.
SOLUTION: 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.”
Solutions Architect at Centre Technologies
Your next steps for Cloud Services
Adopt Outsourced IT Services for IT Strategy
Being a modern business means following modern philosophies. The modern philosophy isn't "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Instead, the world of today is focused on constant innovation, progress and change. Sticking stubbornly to the old ways just because they used to be effective can bring down any business, no matter how large. Compare the meteoric rise of companies like Chipotle to the decline of McDonalds. These are two distinctly different businesses operating in the same industry, but the newer one is providing what people want now, instead of being stuck in old ways.
IT companies understand the importance of innovation. Tech has always been about innovation, but now the world is about tech — so they're in their natural environment. They know what's coming next, and what approach is necessary to handle that.
What is this "New Approach", then?
Partner with a Cloud Consulting Firm or Cloud Solutions Provider for Cloud Expertise
Cloud services, in short, is computing that takes place entirely in the cloud. "The cloud" in this context means external servers or databases performing calculations, storing and managing data for you and your business. You already see this technology in your daily life. Services like Gmail and Microsoft 365, for instance, are hosted in "the cloud" and available from all kinds of internet-connected devices.
Using the incredible power of cloud computing, new possibilities arise. No matter who you are or where you are, you can access the cloud anywhere with just an internet connection. This means you and your employees can work from home or on the go. The cloud is also automatically managed, saving you the IT budget troubles of upgrading old hardware and performing difficult system updates. Not only does the cloud offer more features than older methods ever could, but it's also cheaper and more secure in the long run. Power outages can't get rid of something stored in an external server, and you could immediately start right back up with all of your services up and running, along with all of your data.
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. If you're worried about that, contact us to support you regardless of where you're at in your cloud journey.
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