Top Cloud Computing Myths Debunked


Make no mistake, we have passed the tipping point where cloud computing has moved from an emerging technology to being part of mainstream business IT.

Look at any of the forecasts for business IT spending and cloud continues to surge upwards on the list of priorities for CIOs and senior IT decision-makers in both small and large organisations and across all types of industry sector.

One of the most recent surveys is the IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study, which shows that cloud investments have increased by 19 per cent in large enterprises and that in 2015 cloud will account for almost a quarter (24 per cent) of IT budgets – with the highest percentage going to software-as-a-service (SaaS) models.

And yet, despite this overwhelming momentum there remain some myths and fears that continue to hold some organisations back from taking advantage of the cost, efficiency, flexibility and performance benefits that can be achieved by using the cloud.

So here we look at – and attempt to bust – some of those recurring key myths about the cloud.

Myth 1: The cloud is just about cost reduction (and those savings are exaggerated)

The cloud isn’t just about saving money but we’ll come back to that in a minute. First, let’s look at some of the ways the cloud can reduce costs and the potential level of savings businesses can make. The underlying cost savings of the cloud model come from reducing the need for up front capital expenditure on hardware, storage capacity, software to a cheaper, subscription-based model. Some 88 per cent of UK and UK businesses using the cloud said in a survey that they have saved money.

There are also other benefits beyond these cost savings. They include the ability to respond to rapidly changing business requirements by deploying new applications and systems much faster, as well as easily scaling cloud services up or down in line with usage needs that might vary. Analyst Gartner adds: “Assuming that the cloud always saves money can lead to career-limiting promises. Saving money may end up one of the benefits but it should not be taken for granted.’

Myth 2: The cloud isn’t secure

This is perhaps the most often cited myth that holds back businesses from moving services to the cloud. The reality is that corporate IT systems and networks are under attack from an increasing volume of sophisticated security threats and attacks and it is a battle for them to devote the resources and skills needed to keep on top of that. The major cloud providers can’t afford to neglect this, however, and have some of the most comprehensive and advanced security systems in the world. When the hacker group Anonymous targeted corporate websites in a wave of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks over Wikileaks it tried and failed to take down Amazon’s AWS enterprise cloud service.

According to Gartner, the security fears about the cloud are to do with perception and trust rather than the facts and the analyst says: “To date, there have been very few security breaches in the public cloud — most breaches continue to involve on-premises data centre environments. While cloud providers should have to demonstrate their capabilities, once they have done so there is no reason to believe their offerings cannot be secure.”

Myth 3: The cloud isn’t reliable – what happens to my information when it goes down and is unavailable?

I refer you to exhibit number two again for this. Just as for security, the uptime stats for most enterprise cloud service providers would put those of on-premise corporate IT systems to shame.

Perfect 100 per cent uptime is an unrealistic goal for most organisations but there is more chance of hitting that five nines 99.999 per cent availability (roughly 5 ¼ minutes of downtime in total per year) with a cloud provider than in-house systems. And the cost of outages and downtime is significant – a study by the Aberdeen Group puts the cost at $165,000 per hour.

There are also signs now that more and more organisations are progressing from pilot projects to using the cloud for mission-critical applications. Joanne Correia, research VP at Gartner explains: “We’ve seen a real transition from use cases in previous surveys where early SaaS adoption focused on smaller pilot projects. Today, the projects are mission-critical and production grade. This is an affirmation that more businesses are comfortable with cloud deployments beyond the front office running sales force automation (SFA) and email.”

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