How businesses can combat the challenges of cloud adoption

In recent years, cloud computing has become ubiquitous. So much so, that individuals rarely notice that they are using it to store documents and data instantly, despite the increasing importance that these technologies have in the remote arena. As many organizations continue to see their workforce scattered across different cities and countries, there is a clear urgency to access data safely, and without needing to do so in a physical workplace.

Beyond pandemic-incentivized cloud usage, other businesses will be motivated by the ease and flexibility that these technologies allow -- indeed, many find the ability to scale their operations up or down a very attractive prospect indeed.

The data tells a promising tale; according to figures from IDG, 92 percent of organizations have their IT environment in the cloud, at least in some capacity. The fact that just 8 percent say that their total IT environment is on-premises only is very encouraging news indeed -- so too is the notion more than half (55 percent) of the companies surveyed currently use multiple clouds. The takeaway? Given that 46 percent of businesses’ cloud-based applications were purpose-built with the cloud in mind, expect cloud-first applications to become even more prominent over time.

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That said, despite the influx of companies looking to migrate to the cloud, some remain wary. Whether this is due to security concerns, the steep cost of implementation, or more general digital transformation barriers, organizations still face some significant obstacles when it comes to a widespread adoption.

Cost concerns

One prime concern for companies -- particularly smaller organizations with less in the way of budget -- is the perceived cost of cloud adoption. This is understandable; often, organizations will be faced with steep charges once the cost of recruiting talent and the migration itself is factored in.

But that is not to say that cloud computing is not worth the investment. Although many individuals have given their two cents on the matter, including none other than Mark Zuckerberg, the truth is that businesses can generally operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in the long-run once the benefits of cloud adoption filter through.

Without needing to consider the associated costs of managing a physical data center and monolithic software, organizations will likely find that they can make savings without being encumbered by old processes. While it may take some time to realize the full package of benefits connected to the cloud, businesses will find it is well worth the investment later down the line, as they are able to pay only for what they use and pursue digital transformation efforts more aggressively going forward.   

Don’t play down the legacy software conundrum

While cost may be a concern for smaller organizations, larger firms will more than likely find themselves grappling with legacy software and more pervasive issues involving company bureaucracy. From a 'failure isn’t an option' mentality, to a reluctance to adopting new and novel technologies, these hesitancies should not be played down.

Change in this regard must inevitably begin by triggering a complete cultural reset -- encouraging staff and higher ups to embrace digital transformation efforts and making them aware of the benefits of doing so. Without this change, businesses will inevitably find themselves lagging behind their competitors and unable to realize the full range of benefits that the cloud can offer.

The natural progression from here should be to reconsider the programs and platforms used within the organization. In many cases, completing a simple 'lift and shift' over to the cloud will be ineffective, resource-intensive, and costly. Although it may be cumbersome initially, businesses will, in many cases, benefit from investing in new technologies which are more likely to still serve their purpose five, ten years down the line.

Is the cloud secure enough for my business? 

Likewise, as cloud storage becomes more popular, increasingly, organizations are viewing security as a cause for concern -- recent research from Coalfire can attest to this, as the overwhelming majority of respondents surveyed (93 percent) said  they were moderately to extremely concerned by security issues associated with the cloud. Further still, these companies said that these gripes have hindered their plans for cloud adoption. 

Specifically, according to that same survey, organizations have worries about the prospect of data loss and leakage, unauthorized access through misuse of employee credentials and improper access controls, compliance, among other factors. I would wager that these issues all arise from one primary reason: organizations have a false sense of security when it comes to physical data centers.

Given that most cyberattacks happen virtually, along with the fact that data in the cloud is almost always stored in an encrypted form that would need to be solved before an attacker could access the information, this is a myth. As a rule of thumb, for the companies who rely on physical data centers, any security breaches largely still occur in virtual settings. As such, firms should be more concerned about their security protocols than the innate safety of the cloud itself.

This begins with re-considering how well current programs and procedures are able to shield data -- if there are any question marks about their ability to do so, then businesses would be better off prioritizing their security before making the leap over to the cloud.

Once these niggling issues are ironed out, firms would do well to invest in cloud platforms that have to capacity to automate compliance, complete audits, and encrypt data at rest for some added security. 

Ultimately, it is understandable that individuals fear change where the sanctity of their data is concerned. However, the sooner businesses realize that what they do locally can be done more efficiently in the cloud, the better. I have every confidence that these technologies will leave them better equipped for the future.

Image credit: everythingposs/depositphotos.com

Chris Starkey is the founder and director of NexGen Cloud, which is on a mission to bring cheap affordable cloud computing to all. London-headquartered NexGen Cloud is working with Cudo Ventures to disrupt the cloud compute market. With data centre operations established in Sweden and Norway, the company is able to deliver infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing that is cheaper and greener than the mainstream providers. NexGen Cloud also provides opportunities for investors to access the cloud sector, giving them the chance to share in the growth of market sector by investing in compute power.  

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