Firms which may be considering a move, partial or otherwise, to cloud-based services, will need to work through a checklist to ensure all the bases are covered, that the firm is not exposed to any forthcoming regulations, and that the data will be adequately protected.
It’s a common misconception that the cloud is not as secure as on-premise infrastructure. This is perpetrated by high profile stories of data breaches and compromised security, and the fear is widespread. According to Alert Logic’s Cybersecurity Trends 2017 Spotlight Report, which surveyed companies in the UK, Benelux and Nordics, 48% of professionals surveyed said that their top concern was securing their data in the cloud, and protecting against data loss.
Reputable cloud providers boast multi-layered security strategies, using edge-to-edge, next-generation methods to prevent cyber-attacks. They also make significant investments in physical security and staff training and implement comprehensive monitoring and intrusion detection tools that alert and lock down, should anything get past the perimeter security.
Another common myth is that the cloud is not as flexible or customizable as on-premise infrastructure. With the increasingly mature multi-cloud offerings coming onto the market, this is no longer true. In fact, the Right scale 2017 State of the Cloud research report identifies that faster access to infrastructure and greater scalability are seen as the two biggest benefits to cloud use. Whether your firm lacks insight into customer behavior, market trends, historic performance or market performance, the cloud’s flexibility allows it to facilitate data processing and analytics of vast quantities of data quickly.
RFA’s multi-cloud allows firms to use the might and power of Azure and AWS, with a secure, simplified wrapper which transitions seamlessly into their private cloud services. Configuration and security are dealt with, but the scalability and flex of the public cloud are easily accessed.
Increasing competition can put pressures on firms, who are always looking for ways to gain a competitive edge. A move to the cloud can provide that much needed competitive edge, allowing firms to bring new offerings to market quickly, and to use the time saving efficiencies to focus on innovation. In fact, more than half the respondents surveyed by Right scale cite faster time to market as one of the benefits of cloud. As cloud users mature, this figure rises to almost 80% of respondents enjoying faster time to market because of cloud use.
A huge benefit of the cloud for both IT professionals and users is the security and ease of sharing and accessing data, eliminating shadow IT and the use of consumer grade file synch and share services. With the deadline for GDPR compliance drawing closer in Europe and similar tightening data protection regulations in the US, it is crucial that firms understand where their data is and how it is being stored and shared. Shadow IT will make it harder for IT teams to comply, and could mean they fall foul of the regulators.
Most cloud providers will work to a mutually agreed set of SLAs and those who are compliant with certain regulations will be able to demonstrate this. Policies around the storage and sharing, ease of access, and security of data, and the right to be forgotten are all crucial where your critical data is concerned.
And finally, don’t assume that moving services to the cloud will reduce costs. This is not always true. Try not to run a direct cost comparison between on-site infrastructure and an exact replica in the cloud, as this is rarely what you will move to. The days when moving from CapEx to OpEx, or cost savings from moving to the cloud may be over, but the other benefits of cloud services, such as the flexibility, scalability, availability and performance, more than make up for it.