I know everyone has a different view about cloud computing. A number of businesses and even IT pros have some false believes and misunderstanding about cloud computing. Hence the reason I’m writing this article to demystify some of the myths that people have about cloud computing.
However, I will begin with an overview of what cloud computing is about.
What is Cloud Computing
The word ‘Cloud’ is a metaphorical word for the internet. Simply put, it means storing and accessing programs and data over the internet instead of on your computer’s hard drive or your LAN (Local Area Network).
Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Rackspace, etc. created large data centres with computing resources and offered those resources to the public instead of them buying their own dedicated servers.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
There are 5 core benefits of cloud computing. They are:
- On-demand self-service: This means that customers can add resources they need, when they need them.
- Broad Network Access: Cloud computing allows range of devices, including both desktop, laptops and mobile access to apps and data stored in the cloud.
- Resource Pooling: Anyone who wants access to computing resources can get access to the resources they need as long as they pay for it.
- Rapid Elasticity: Customers can rapidly scale up or scale down their resources if need be.
- Measured Services: This means that the services used are metered. Hence, customers pay only for what they use, for the duration that they use it.
Now, let get into the myths…
Myth 1: There is only one Cloud: There are 3 different types of clouds:
Public Cloud: Here providers offer resources to the public. This may not work for everyone; as available feature configuration options are often limited.
Private Cloud: These are computing resources and data center architectures owned by a single company.
Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment which uses a mix of on-premises, private cloud and third-party, public cloud services with orchestration between the two platforms.
If an organization consider some of their information to be too sensitive, such information can be kept on a Private cloud and their less sensitive information can be stored on a public cloud
Myth 2: Security – Cloud Computing is Less Secure than On-Premises
Organization have many concerns related to privacy when it comes to cloud computing.
Data Breaches: This is the biggest fear of most executives. They fear that their sensitive data may fall into the hands of competitors or malicious users. It is really necessary to address this concern because a company might lose it relevance or industry position if their trade secret get into the wrong hands.
Data Loss: Loss of data may mean the loss of the ability to do business. At a minimum it will cost time and money to reconstruct missing data.
Data loss can happen from malicious attack or from a user error – if good data is accidentally deleted. Do keep in mind that these privacy and security concerns that organizations have about cloud computing are not new. Organization equally have the same fear about on-premises systems. The differences are that they have full control over their on-premises infrastructure compared to the control they have in the cloud.
Responses to Security Concerns
In order to address these security concerns, providers put a great deal of effort into making sure their facilities processes, and personnel are secure. They take steps to both deter and prevent attacks. They run IDS and IPS software to detect threats and take corrective actions before they can penetrate client systems.
Cloud providers also provide physical security for their facilities. They ensure those facilities have redundant power connectivity and other services necessary to maintain operation. In addition, providers take measures to ensure staff are vetted, background checked and trained in security best practices.
Cloud providers also work to ensure data is secure by providing services such as – Encryption, Security controls and Compliance
Myth 3: SLA – SLA’s are designed to favour the provider
Performance and availability are the biggest worries that organization have about cloud computing and these are typically covered in the SLA. e.g. the SLA may guarantee 99.9% (3 nines) uptime. SLA will also often state that cloud providers will take steps to protect against attacks, data breach, and data loss.
Response to SLA Concerns
SLAs are the primary tool for organizations to hold cloud vendors accountable to provide the service being paid for. Cloud administrators in the organization should be well versed in the language used in SLA, such as SLO and SLG.
Organization should periodically measure the SLO for the services they are paying for or hire a third party to perform an audit of cloud services. Once the data is captured, you can then work with cloud providers to ensure they are getting what they are paying for and get incentives or adjustments from the providers if they are not.
Before you agree to a contract with a cloud provider, address the following issues:
If your organization must meet compliance standards, ask the provider if they have provisions to ensure your data remain complaint
Review DR and failover at the provider’s data center in the event of an outage.
Verify that the SLA defines ramifications for the provider if terms of service are not met.
Regularly measure and audit service including downtime etc. to ensure provider is delivering what they promised.
Myth 4: Cloud Computing is too Expensive
In order to compare cost between traditional software and cloud-based software, you will have to look at all the factors that add cost to software deployment, and the implications to business and IT objectives of each type of solution.
The costs and business implications for on-premises can include – up-front capital expenditures, software licenses, software maintenance and updates, hardware, end-user training, implementation time etc.
Response to cloud computing being too expensive
Cloud computing can be expensive or cheap depending on factors such as:
- Number of your users
- Applications you use
- Licensing of software
- Customized backup
With cloud computing, you pay for what you use. The rule of thumb here is not to assume that you will save money unless you have performed an analysis of your situation by weighing the implications of moving from capital expenditure to operating expenditure
Myth 5: Cloud Computing Will Mark the End of the IT Department
The cloud in reality does not threaten IT jobs. Even though it’s true that in the cloud, OS comes pre-installed, but Admins are still required to make decisions on which instance type would be appropriate for your business. You will also need admins to make decisions regarding processor, RAM, Load balancing etc. These are some of the technical matters that requires the expertise of server administrators.
Hence server administration is an unavoidable role in any environment. Weather on-premises or cloud