Common cloud myths, and how to bust them

In this guest post, Neil Briscoe, CTO of hybrid cloud platform provider 6point6 Cloud Gateway, sets about busting some common cloud myths for enterprise IT buyers

The cloud provides endless opportunity for businesses to become more agile, efficient and – ultimately – more profitable. However, the hype around cloud has made firms so desperate for the action, they’ve become blinded to the fact it might not be the right move for every company.

Many firms get sucked into the benefits of the cloud, without truly understanding what the cloud even is. I mean, would you buy a car without knowing how to drive it?

The eight fallacies of distributed computing guided many leaders into making the right decision for their business when adopting new systems. However, as the cloud continues to evolve, it can be hard to keep up.

With this in mind, here are some of commonly recurring myths that need to be busted about cloud, so businesses can make sound decisions on what is right for them.

Myth one  – You have to go all-in on cloud

As with any hyped innovation, cloud is being positioned by many as a ‘fix all solution’ and somewhere that businesses can migrate all their systems to in one swoop.

In reality, many services are at different stages of their life cycle, and not suitable for full migration, and running legacy systems are no bad thing.

It’s important that each system is fit for purpose, so shop around and see exactly which one fits with your strategic roadmap. By trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, you open yourself up to all sorts of security and operational issues.

Myth two – Cloud is cheaper than on-premise

Datacentres are notoriously expensive but the hidden costs in maintaining a cloud infrastructure can be deceptively high. Don’t get distracted by the desirably low initial CAPEX and onboarding costs for migrating to the cloud, as the ongoing OPEX can shoot you in the foot long-term.

Public cloud service providers like AWS are now being much more transparent with their Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator, and the numbers are quite accurate as long as you have discipline. This in turn is reducing the need for enterprises to invest in large capital expenditures and means they only pay for what you need and use.

By having a long-term plan and understanding where, why and how the cloud will benefit your business, this will – in-turn – reduce your costs. Migrating the whole datacentre will not.

Myth three – Cloud is more secure than on-premise

On-premise datacentres are clear. You have a door to go in and out of, and you can have a reasonable grasp of where your external perimeter is, and then secure it. In the cloud, there are infinite doors and windows for a malicious actor to exploit, if not secured properly.

Cloud providers give you the tools to secure your data and infrastructure probably better than you can with on-premise datacentre tools, as long as they’re used correctly.

It’s very easy to build a service and make it completely public-facing without having any resilience or security at all. Don’t assume that all cloud providers will create such high levels of security in the architecture “by default”. Sometimes you must dig deep and truly understand what is happening under the hood.

Myth four – One cloud provider is all you need

Don’t be afraid to go multi-cloud. Each system is different, and you have the power to choose the best-of-breed system for all workloads, even if this means using more than one provider.

As cloud is relatively new, people are still experimenting and figuring out what suits them best. By going multi-cloud, enterprises aren’t restricted to one particular operator and can get best-for-the-job services without sacrificing on agility. Never sacrifice on agility. You can have your cake and eat it.

Myth five – It is better to build, not buy

Building a private network and connectivity platform in the cloud sounds desirable; you build the best platform to serve your requirements without answering to an external vendor. However, building your own network isn’t as easy as 1,2,3 and once you’ve built it, maintaining it is the hardest step.

Talent is in high demand, so ensuring you can keep your talent in house to keep developing and improving your network without letting them escape is an ongoing challenge. It’s a task to ensure continuity.

By “buying”, it’s possible to remove the headache of connectivity, security and network agility of a potentially complex architecture and will allow enterprises to focus on the actual digital transformation itself without draining resources for, what is becoming, a commodity IT item.

In closing, while cloud isn’t a new innovation, enterprises and suppliers alike are continuously developing and understanding how it can benefit business.

Enterprises need to de-sensitise themselves from the hype and investigate exactly how and why the cloud will improve efficiency, competitiveness and reduce costs.

Cloud is changing every day and everyone’s experiences are different, but keeping your eyes and ears open to the numerous benefits but also the threats it can create will ensure that enterprises use the cloud effectively.

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For a case study of my company's migration to cloud (AWS), see https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/one-companys-migration-from-on-premise-cloud-mark-chopping/ - this include methodology used for the migration, lessons learned in the process and since, and final benefits. The comments section has a lot more information on the details of the migration process.
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