Cloud Computing is Shaping the Business World, But Are You Aware of These 6 Challenges?


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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

With the switch to digital business moving at a rapidly increasing pace, cloud computing is becoming a reality for businesses everywhere.

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Cloud Computing is Shaping the Business World, But Are You Aware of These 6 Challenges?
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Public cloud is now a significant part of the majority of IT budgets. For instance, a Flexera report found spending on these services now totals more than $12 million a year.

It’s been a beneficial step forward. The cloud is quicker, more efficient and better for the environment than on-site servers. But it’s not foolproof, as with every new technology comes new challenges and risks.

What are the biggest cloud computing challenges and risks?

Here are six cloud computing issues every IT professional needs to be aware of.

1: Data security and compliance

With the rising threat of cybersecurity attacks and a growing focus on GDPR and other data use legislation, cloud computing faces a problem.

A study conducted by IFP reported that nearly three-quarters of IT professionals are worried about the security of their infrastructure and services in the cloud. What’s more, one-third of enterprises experienced a data breach between 2020 and 2021.

IFP visual showing results from State of Cloud Security research report

Moving sensitive data offsite and into the cloud exposes you to a wide array of potential risks. So it’s vital to select a secure, properly protected storage option from your cloud service provider.

There’s also the risk of breaching data protection laws, especially if you work with sensitive user data. For instance, medical institutions making the move from paper to digital have managed to increase security while still keeping the data in-house. But with the move to cloud technology they, and a range of other industries, are facing the new challenges inherent in moving the data out of their direct control.

2: Cloud cost management

Organizations with significant storage needs that have already invested in on-site servers are now finding they need to spend further funds on cloud services. These expenses are also ongoing rather than the one-off cost of setting up onsite storage. In 2019, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg commented on how expensive cloud technology has become. He also blamed the rising costs for the slow advancement of the field.

Investing in cloud infrastructure also means investing in the technology that helps you use it properly. This further adds to the ongoing expense and, while technological progress is starting to bring down the overall cost, it still represents a big investment for business.

3: Performance and reliability

With a rise in companies moving to the cloud comes increased demand on the bandwidth. This has left some businesses overextended and either unable to provide the standard of service expected by today's users, or having to raise prices to pay for advances in the technology.

There’s also the risk to user experience to consider. Even small delays when using an app or website can shake consumer confidence and result in lost sales. To offset this risk, many organizations have ended up splitting their needs between multiple providers. This means data being transferred more often and greatly increases their vulnerability to attack.

4: Skills gap

Despite a recent increase in code academies and software engineering as a whole, there’s still a worldwide skill shortage in digital technology. Many IT teams lack the required knowledge to properly implement a migration to cloud computing, which can also lead to issues with efficiency. With the speed at which technology changes, keeping up to date is practically a full-time job in itself. That’s why outsourcing is still thriving and few companies maintain their own cloud experts in-house.

5: Over-reliance on technology

Switching to a cloud-based system puts the future of your organization in someone else’s hand. Losing even a small percentage of your contracts, agreements, leads or databases can have serious repercussions. Diversifying your storage options and ensuring that backups are available in the event of a breach or system failure is worth the additional risks that come with external storage, but it must be carefully managed.

Technology is developing all the time and it’s very easy to become overly reliant on one system that may, in time, become obsolete or incompatible with newer solutions.

6: Cloud vendor lock-in

There are a number of reasons a business may want to move to another cloud provider. These include a better financial deal, unhappiness with their current level of performance or availability, or the promise of an environment more suited to their specific needs. But sometimes, leaving a relationship isn't easy.

Vendor lock-in occurs when a business finds it difficult to extricate the data, applications or infrastructure they have in a public cloud to another provider. This can happen if their cloud service relies on unique technology or configurations, or if the volume and variety of data becomes so great it becomes too complex or costly to transfer it out. If it isn't practical or financially viable to move assets, companies can be trapped with the wrong solution, so avoiding vendor lock-in in cloud computing is a must.

Looking to the future

Cloud computing is an ever increasing field and the future looks bright. Not only does it help reduce a company's carbon footprint, but it’s set to keep getting better with the development of AI technology and improvements in global connectivity. The COVID-19 crisis has brought new working methodologies to the fore and pushed digital connectivity into overdrive.

Investment in the cloud increases productivity and improves access, so it’s fast becoming a must have rather than a preference for many businesses.

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