For businesses big and small, there’s a multitude of benefits gained by incorporating cloud computing into their operations. By taking physical technology solutions and shifting these to the digital world, a company can save considerable time and money, boost efficiency levels, and work more effectively.
While there are many advantages up for grabs by using cloud computing, having tunnel vision for these can be a dangerous game to play. The reason: it can result in you overlooking the various challenges that a move to the cloud can throw in your direction.
To give you a better idea, below is a list of seven cloud computing challenges your business will face – and how to overcome them.
Challenge #1: Keeping your data secure
Your data is on the cloud. A third-party vendor hosts and processes it. Due to these points, there are various challenges introduced when you make the switch to cloud computing. A reputable cloud service provider might be able to assure you about data integrity and incorporate advanced security features, but a lot of the responsibility also comes from your end.
User authentication, data encryption, identity management, passwords, access control – all of this is decided by your company. Considering the majority of security issues are the result of human negligence, it’s essential you take the necessary steps to protect your data. Failure to do so can lead to a catastrophic situation where not only data is lost, but also customers and your reputation.
Educating your employees can go a long way to improving cloud security. It’s also wise to implement strong password procedures and ensure all apps are up to date.
Challenge #2: Cost management
It’s true: cloud computing can help organizations to save a considerable sum of money. It avoids the need to purchase, upgrade, and maintain expensive hardware and software. You simply scale up and down your cloud processing capabilities as and when needed.
This pay-as-you-go model with cloud computing presents numerous benefits. However, this approach also comes with a notable issue: cost management. Due to the way the demand for services can fluctuate, this can make it tricky to define processing quantities – and the costs associated with it.
To keep your cloud expenditure in check, you can start by optimizing your financial analytics and reporting. You can also utilize multi-cloud computing tools to mitigate organization-wide financial efficiency.
Challenge #3: Data sprawl
When a business uses the cloud, it’s only natural to accumulate a large amount of data. This data is typically spread across various platforms, within various data stores, and accessed by employees throughout your organization. This data is then regularly in transit across your cloud environment to ensure it is ready to be accessed, used, and edited.
All of this creates what is known as data sprawl.
Data sprawl is problematic for numerous reasons. It stops you from knowing exactly where all your data resides. This means you can struggle to know your data, which results in issues with data classification and tagging. Oh, and when that control over your data disappears, it opens the door to the real possibility of a cloud data breach.
There are four key steps to stop data sprawl in its tracks: discover your data, classify your data, lock down your data, and protect your data. For further help in overcoming this challenge, Sonrai Security has a comprehensive guide on how to end data sprawl.
Challenge #4: Internet connectivity
Cloud services, by their very nature, rely on an internet connection. If you cannot get online for whatever reason due to connectivity issues, this can pose a serious problem for your business. Even being offline for 30 minutes can result in significant revenue loss.
To avoid this from happening, you have to ensure your company is supported by high-speed internet. As no internet provider can guarantee 100% uptime, it’s also wise to have a backup solution available for emergencies.
Challenge #5: Lack of expertise
Cloud computing may help with simplifying and streamlining processes, but this technology is not a walk in the park. The cloud can be a complicated place to exist for a business, particularly as new tools and features are introduced at a rapid pace. This challenge is compounded when your company doesn’t possess the necessary IT expertise.
Of course, the solution to this problem is a simple one in theory. However, the world isn’t abundant with cloud experts. They are also in high demand and don’t come cheap, either. Smaller companies may not be able to find a big enough space in their budget to add a cloud specialist to their IT department.
In this case, a suitable alternative is to educate your current employees. Regular training sessions can bring them up to speed with the latest cloud technology and tools, ensuring they can handle your company’s cloud processes. Furthermore, there are specialist tools available that can automate many common cloud-related tasks.
Challenge #6: Remaining compliant
Compliance is another risk you have to deal with when using cloud computing. When data is shifted to the cloud from internal storage, it’s essential this remains compliant with current laws and regulations. In the USA, for example, a public retail company has to comply with PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002).
Of course, compliance can differ significantly depending on which sector your business operates in.
To overcome this challenge, you will first have to dedicate some time to ensuring you meet all necessary procedures and properly store your data. Note that certain vendors provide certified compliance to reduce your workload – although you may still have to supply additional input to guarantee you are meeting compliance regulations.
Challenge #7: Performance
Once you have made the move to the cloud, you are dependent on your provider when it comes to business performance. If your service provider isn’t able to properly handle your applications, this can seriously hamper performance – and even just a small latency bump when loading, say, a webpage can drive away potential customers.
Before going all-in, investigate to ensure your cloud service provider has a reputation for stellar performance and they utilize innovatory technologies.