IT Focus Area: cloud
January 11, 2017
The 7 Biggest Cloud Myths
Rapid technology changes are revolutionizing how we do business.
Gone are the days when customers would wait to speak with someone during regular business hours. They now expect 24/7 services – from any device and any location.
Embracing the cloud is vital for modern IT transformation, as it can increase your time to market, improve the user experience, and deliver cost savings. Most importantly, conducting business via the cloud can give you a huge competitive advantage.
But while cloud technology offers compelling benefits, it also comes with misconceptions that can hinder sound decision-making. Below are the top seven cloud myths that hold some enterprises back:
1. “Cloud” means public.
Many people hear the word “cloud” and think of public cloud services such as those provided by Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.
Actually, cloud is an architecture that can be implemented at a local company, through a hosted provider or in a public domain. It’s often a mix of the three: allowing enterprises to combine legacy, public cloud and private cloud services.
2. It’s hard to achieve cost savings with private cloud.
Many enterprises assume that private clouds will drive up their costs over time. However, you can achieve cost savings when moving to private clouds. In particular, the private cloud may lower your capital expenditures (CapEx) through improved resource utilization and reduce operational expense (OpEx) through better management of those resources.
At Intel, we have gained major benefits by adopting private cloud technologies, including up to twice the savings of some public cloud offerings. Standardizing our internal cloud services has also allowed us to reduce our infrastructure engineering resources used for patching and compliance (see paper “Utilizing PaaS for Business Agility and IT Efficiency”).
3. Cloud technologies will automatically improve application availability.
Two of the biggest benefits of cloud technology are improved availability and reliability. This is true for those applications designed for the cloud. But for most applications, you won’t see these benefits out-of-the-box. Regardless of whether you use private or public clouds, you will need to refactor code and address issues.
4. Moving to cloud technologies is complex.
You’ve probably heard horror stories from early adopters when they moved to cloud technologies. Just a few years ago, many cloud technologies were unproven, and enterprises had to figure everything out on their own. This caused implementation nightmares.
Fortunately, implementing cloud technologies is now much easier. Not only has the technology significantly improved but enterprises can get support from professional services teams. Cloud training for developers and operations engineers is also broadly available.
5. The cloud isn’t secure.
With breaches on the rise, it’s not surprising that security is one of the top growth areas in enterprise IT investments.
Security breaches often happen in three primary areas:
1. Identity and access management
3. Software vulnerabilities
To combat these risks, many enterprises rely upon perimeter-based security controls, such as firewalls. These security controls continue to play a critical role but they need to reside closer to the data and have a strong key management infrastructure. Security should be implemented at the data access layer to protect data as it moves between systems and clouds. Once security controls reside at this level, you can consider identity and access controls.
Cloud offers security benefits that aren’t available with traditional infrastructures. For example, you can gain increased visibility into your environment and improve your efficiencies through the software-defined nature of provisioning and managing infrastructure. If you use Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), you may find that patching is easier and faster. This is because many public cloud PaaS offerings perform patching for you.
6. The infrastructure team is responsible for cloud strategy.
Because the cloud impacts the entire enterprise, no single team should bear all the responsibility for it.
For example, an infrastructure team may push a cloud strategy without engaging the application team. Then, the cloud strategy may fail if the application team doesn’t feel like their needs weren’t taken into consideration.
In general, application teams want cloud to improve their time to market and agility, as well as reduce their interactions with other teams during the release process (i.e., “self-service”). Meanwhile, infrastructure teams use cloud to pursue greater human resource and capacity efficiency, as well as increase security controls.
Partnering with the application teams will drive demand and boost cloud adoption.
7. You must put everything in public cloud.
Many enterprises assess that their apps aren’t compatible with the public cloud, so they avoid making the move. By maintaining the status quo in today’s business markets, you will slip behind your competitors.
The good news is you don’t need to revolutionize your IT organization on Day One. You can still achieve cloud benefits when you start small.
Begin by using diagnostic tools to identify who accesses your information and which apps they use. Then, look for opportunities to give them a better and more secure experience.
From there, identify which applications are good cloud candidates. Will offloading your traditional apps to cloud free up your internal resources and give you better functionality? Does it make more sense to buy or build your cloud services?
Start with one application and move more to public or private cloud infrastructures over time. Every step you take will improve your efficiencies and enable innovation – and you will learn a lot about your applications and cloud technologies in the process.
Cloud isn’t just something to check off your “to do” list.
Cloud Is Not Just Another IT Initiative
Perhaps the biggest myth of them all is that moving to the cloud is “just another IT initiative.” When you move to cloud technologies, think about the long-term, business benefits that you can gain, such as unleashed innovation and faster time to market. Then, you will achieve real, long-lasting results.