Why Some Companies Fear the Cloud
Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Azure. Google Cloud. The number of cloud providers seems to be infinitely expanding—as are the number of businesses moving their systems to the public cloud. Even the U.S. government is looking to move to a hosted model. Why, then, do some companies and businesses insist that some, or all, of their systems, remain on premises? The technical resources required (both staffing- and infrastructure-wise) would seem to be prohibitive.
To start, there are articles like this one, with titles like “The Dangers of Cloud Computing: Is Your Information Safe?”. Misunderstandings around the security of data in the cloud are exceedingly common, and there is some security risk associated with moving data to the cloud, though this is true of any system that contains sensitive information. Organizations who have publicly hosted systems follow security protocols and procedures that serve to protect them from breaches, hacking attempts, and other methods of data theft (some of our recommendations are here).
Some companies fear that modern, digitized disaster-recovery techniques aren’t good enough for their needs, or they’re uncomfortable with the idea of giving up the old tape-based storage backups. These fears are, for the most part, unfounded. AWS offers customers disaster-recovery services that cost significantly less than infrastructure-based DR, as do providers like Microsoft Azure.
Connectivity may be another concern. If your web services provider goes down, your systems will too. For some businesses, even a temporary loss of access can be detrimental to business. However, on-prem solutions can have similar concerns, and if a business has limited IT support staff, outages can drag on longer than they might in a hosted scenario. AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud all promise 99% or more monthly uptime—self-hosted systems often have no definitive SLAs around uptime, since they’re entirely dependent on corporate resources to maintain.
Another common reason companies opt to maintain on-premises systems is the cost and complexity of moving to the cloud. While it’s true that moving to the cloud can be costly, long-term ROI cannot be discounted. Many businesses see significant ROI within a year or two of moving to the cloud, especially if they have scoped their needs correctly and have developed a goals-based cloud strategy by which to measure success. (Take a look at our Five Mistakes Companies Make When Moving to the Cloud article for more.) In terms of managing the complexity of moving to the clouds, partnering with a knowledgeable consultant to help develop the right migration plan for your business can be beneficial; you can also leverage your existing IT support staff to the scope and plan your migration.
Overall, moving to the cloud can be a boon for businesses. By allowing for increased connectivity and accessibility, employees can be more productive. Hosting with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, or any of the other providers can also contribute to the bottom line by cutting costs, both in infrastructure and the required support staff to maintain it. If you’re interested in moving to the cloud, but want to discuss your specific needs with a trusted advisor, contact us here. We’re experts at recommending cloud strategies to meet your goals and can help you choose the right hosted solution for your business.