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Dec 07, 2016

Are These Cloud Computing Myths Confounding Management?

Categories backups, Security, IT Best Practices

Posted by Bertram

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Along with the rise of cloud computing, there have been a number of myths that have surfaced in regard to the implementation of cloud services and infrastructure. While there are some legitimate concerns that are related to cloud adoption, there are also many more reasons why it could make sense to make the move toward the cloud. As a result, it is helpful to cover some existing myths that may be causing unnecessary delays in adopting cloud solutions.

Myth #1: Everything has to be moved to the cloud

While in some cases it makes sense to move all infrastructure into the cloud, there are also many cases where it is a good idea to mix cloud adoption with the use of on-site data centers. Cloud adoption doesn't necessarily mean that nothing can be left on one or more internal data centers. Oftentimes, it means moving things that need more flexibility into the cloud, while maintaining private company data or other sensitive information or architecture on your own internal machines.

One example of this is GE, where a great deal of infrastructure is expected to be moved to the cloud. However, as noted by their CIO, four data centers will remain to retain a certain portion of their data.

GE’s ongoing data center consolidation program is expected to take the company from 34 data centers to four, which will hold only the most secret and valuable data it has.

Source: Jim Fowler, GE CIO 

This is a good example of a company that wants to streamline quite a bit of infrastructure in the cloud, but also wants control over certain data. Their move shows how the a move to the cloud does not need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You can move as much or as little as needed to work for the specific needs of your company.

Myth #2: Cloud is less secure

Small companies usually can’t afford to hire an IT department let alone train them to deal with online security threats.

Source: Techadvisory,org

This quote indicates that it can be extremely difficult to maintain in-house security for a small company, but can they allow themselves to move to the cloud? After all, many people believe the cloud is less secure, and there are a number that believe that data on the cloud is completely open, exposed, and free for the taking for anyone who decides to go get it.

As it turns out, cloud providers often provide good security, and many companies, even large ones, trust cloud providers with quite a number of their apps and/or infrastructure. How is this possible?

First, cloud providers are able to have security experts handling security and are able to create security groups, handle encryption, and other things that can be tricky to set up independently. In this way, security threats can often be dealt with swiftly, since the provider has measures in place to handle such challenges. 

 

In addition, providers of cloud services, such as cloud software, can easily push out security updates to their services, so that the end user does not need to keep up to date with installing the latest security patches for such services.

Interestingly, banking had the most cloud activity in 2103. Source: SlideShare 

With all of this, it is oftentimes actually beneficial to move to the cloud, as security tends to be handled very well. Keep in mind; however, that this does depend on the cloud provider, so be sure to perform extensive research on potential providers to make sure they have top-notch security as part of their service.

Myth #3: You no longer have to worry about security

While cloud providers often do all they can to provide a secure environment, this doesn't mean you can begin to ignore security either. In the end, there are still a number of security measures your team will need to have in place.

Why would you still need to worry about security? Even though cloud providers are generally able to provide a secure environment, it is still the responsibility of a company to ensure that data breaches don't occur due to their own insecure coding or practices.

For example, losing or misplacing a device that has access to your cloud could be a very big security risk, just as it would for a data center or other internal network. Such a device could have the passwords to administrative services or other things saved and be able log in without needing to manually type the information. This would immediately give someone access to do quite a bit of harm.

Another example would be a vulnerability in your application. If an app is able to be infiltrated using SQL injection, cross-site scripting, or similar measures, attackers can use that hole to bypass even the best security measures that may be in place. Again, this is true for data centers as well as the cloud, so you still must remain vigilant when it comes to internal security policies.

Myth #4: Cloud adoption is always about saving money

While cloud adoption does in most cases save money, it offers a number of other benefits, so it is not always the case that management is making the move only to save money. The cloud can help standardize development and scaling, and can make it easier to move quickly when changes need to be made to systems. It can also make it far easier to set up reporting and alerts, which can help ease the burden on system administrators and well as management.

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Categories backups, Security, IT Best Practices