It was US president Franklin D Roosevelt that coined the phrase, ‘we have nothing to fear but fear itself’. And that principle pretty much sums up some people’s perception of the cloud.
Myths and falsehoods have seeped into the public’s consciousness and are exasperating a fear of the cloud that is unjustified – like the President said, it’s just fear about fear.
There is no doubt that some companies do have real concerns about certain issues like security and reliability, but in many cases it’s a lack of understanding that is muddying the waters. It’s no surprise that early adopters to the cloud have tended to be more technologically savvy companies that understand the cloud and so trust it more.
The implications of a security breach or data loss can be very serious and can even in extreme circumstances, put the company out of business, so firms are right to exercise some caution. But the myths and falsehoods that have been allowed to develop have caused unnecessary fear. Cloud vendors have much higher thresholds for security than on-site systems, but a lack of understanding and the prevailing myths has caused this inescapable fact to become lost and made some businesses reticent about moving into the cloud.
With any new technological advancement there will always be hype and misinformation, the truth weaves its way between the two. With the cloud some falsehoods have gained a little too much traction, so it’s time to debunk some of those myths – here are four:
Myth 1: SaaS storage isn’t as reliable as on-premise
For cloud computing providers this scenario is frustrating as data management is their core business and data security is their number one priority. They employ teams of highly skilled IT professionals to lock down a client’s data in state-of-the-art server rooms, using the latest security software. In many cases data will also be held by a third party independent vendor for an extra layer of insurance. Compare this with a company keeping its important data in on-site servers, which may not have all the enhanced security measures a cloud company provides and it can be argued that a cloud storage solution is far more secure than its on-site equivalent.
Myth 2: You lose rights to your data and are locked into a contract
It’s important to perform due diligence on any cloud service provider you choose, the same as you would on any other potential business partner. Data ownership shouldn’t be an issue if you state clearly in the contract that you wish to retain full ownership rights, you can even choose the geographical location of your data if you wish. Likewise, there is no need to be locked into in an inflexible contract with a service provider. Make sure the contract has provision for a fast and smooth exit should you wish it. Again, it is a myth that you cannot move data or change providers.
Myth 3: Private clouds are best
There is no actual evidence that private clouds are more secure than public clouds. Private clouds are exclusive and data can only be accessed by one company, but public clouds deploy best practice when it comes to security and are aware any data loss could be terminal for their business, so the utmost care is taken with a client’s data. The private cloud is more expensive and takes up more of a company’s IT resources and it doesn’t have as much scalability as a public cloud. They may provide peace of mind to a business owner, but there is no evidence that private clouds offer a more secure solution, in fact some would argue that public clouds are better.
Myth 4: The only reason to adopt SaaS is to save money
Cost savings are undoubtedly a compelling incentive to move to the cloud, but there are many other reasons to make the move. Switching from a fixed cost capital investment model to a variable pay as you go system makes it very attractive to start ups, as no upfront capital is required, so it is a powerful reason, but there are many more compelling reasons to adopt. For SME’s the availability of cloud based CRM tools has been a major factor in their decision to move to the cloud. It’s not just the scalability and easier payment model that attracts businesses; it’s also the enhanced productivity and automation CRM brings. A company can run their entire operation from a single dashboard, with no software installations or on-going maintenance and it is this ease of use that is so attractive, particularly to non tech savvy businesses. The CRM market has been dominated for a number of years by US firm Salesforce, who were quick to see the enormous potential in this area, but newer companies such as the UK’s Workbooks are gaining ground by offering more tailored solutions. There are many more profound reasons a business will move to the cloud than cost alone.
It’s essential that cloud myths are debunked. Businesses today face more challenges than at any other time in history; increasing competition from a globalised market, higher labour and material costs, a stalling economy – so it’s vital a company uses all the tools available to fight their cause. Standing still isn’t an option, to move ahead and stay competitive a business has to take up the challenge of the cloud, that’s why the industry has to fight even harder to distil the falsehoods and myths that have emerged around this new technology.
About the Author:
Jeff Macgonical is an experienced UK based writer and journalist. He has worked for the BBC and has interviewed top politicians, CEO’s, and broken many exclusive stories over the years. Currently, Jeff is working as a freelance blogger and writer in the cloud, SaaS and technology markets.