Moving to the cloud is serious business, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Today, many companies are opting to move daily online business activities to the cloud for its convenience, agility and cost-saving options.
According to a recent report by Harvard Business Review and Verizon, 84% of the IT and business executives polled said their use of cloud had increased in the past year, with 39% reporting it increased significantly. Another 40% said the cloud had increased their revenue, and 36% said it had increased their profit margin.
These figures are sure to rise as more businesses discover the benefits of moving to the cloud, including lower capital and operating costs for data centers and improved application performance and resiliency. In addition, cloud usage is expanding to the nuts and bolts of IT operations, instead of an experimental thing.
While initial cloud implementations focused on areas such as application development and sales force automation, more organizations now are exploring cloud for core business systems like supply-chain management and industry-specific services, such as financial applications or transportation management.
Whatever the application, be sure to avoid the common slip-ups organizations encounter, both in technical implementation and financial planning. The following slides describe the biggest mistakes companies make when they make that first move to the cloud. Use this list to avoid the dangers, so your organization can use the cloud efficiently to meet business goals.
Failing to exercise role-based access control
Organizations new to the cloud often fail to realize just how vulnerable their data can be. Any resources in the cloud absolutely must be protected by role-based access control. Once upon a time, this was an extreme security measure. In the cloud, this is a necessity.
When you have employees with different roles in your company, access control is a key feature that can help ensure basic cloud administrative security. Youll need to exercise caution to prevent credentials from being compromised, and to ensure menial errors dont spoil your day. Implementing robust and powerful access control is important to protect company resources.
To protect your cloud resources from accidental or maliciously planned threat, keep at least two sets of credentials, or two-factor authentication, on all access points.
Overlooking data security and compliance
Many companies assume their data is automatically protected. If your cloud provider is compliant on, for instance, PCI DSS, doesnt that mean you are assured PCI compliance? Unfortunately, no. Some companies get caught in this trap: it is your responsibility to encrypt and secure your own data. Ensuring compliance with standard regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and others, protects your data from being compromised by hackers or employee oversight. Compliance with regulations also tends to deliver cost savings and flexibility over time by preventing losses.
To make your cloud data more secure:
- Protect data at rest using 256-bit encryption;
- Protect your encryption keys with a robust key management solution; and
- Monitor and authenticate the roles assigned to each user with respect to data access.
Neglecting network connectivity
To ensure cloud data safety, a reliable Internet connection is vital - particularly when all of your data resides on the cloud. Do not sacrifice performance for price, and avoid choosing low-priced storage options without considering high bandwidth Internet connectivity. Consider the impact of cloud activity on your network, and ensure ways to make your network work more efficiently with the cloud.
To address network consequences of off-site data hosting, network WAN latency impacting user access, and application responsiveness, data upload, and retrieve operations, consider opting for WAN acceleration devices and cloud storage gateways that can help with bandwidth optimization.
Failing to consider TCO and dashboards
Most companies fail to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the cloud solution offered by their cloud providers. Fortunately, many vendors offer dashboards that provide deep visibility into cost. This allows organizations to more easily monitor use, and cut off the tap if use exceeds thresholds. In addition, many vendors offer usage-based accounting to monitor the actual cost and value of applications migrated to the cloud.
Based on need, companies often migrate increasing amounts of data and applications into the cloud over time, which raises the cost of meeting capacity requirements. Hence, to leverage the benefit of low compute cost without incurring ongoing storage costs, companies can benefit from properly planning their enterprise application and data migration to and from the cloud. Companies can opt for a unified storage and data management and migration platform to increase their migration flexibility and improve on the total cost structure involved. This also helps prevent capacity constraints.
Some businesses witness dynamic cloud activity when many employees simultaneously start or stop use of a specific service based on project requirements. The optimal pricing structure for an organization that routinely experiences these kinds of ups and downs in use would be either dynamic pricing based on need, or a pay-as-you-go, utility-based model.
Getting trapped in vendor lock-in
When using cloud-based products and services, you might wish to make a transition from one cloud vendor to another. But doing this is often not very easy. This may be due to contract constraints, lack of any well defined migration path, or may be simply because of incompatibility between different proprietary cloud-based technologies. Any of these reasons may get you trapped with vendor lock-in.
To avoid bad vendor lock-ins, first make sure you read the fine print of the contract terms and conditions. If necessary, make clarifications regarding any tools or facilities you might require for moving customer data out of their cloud repository. Finally, make sure the cloud service provider follows industry standards such as Cloud Data Management Interface (CDMI).
Ignoring compatibility issues
Most proprietary technologies used in developing web apps face compatibility issues with the modern cloud-computing environment. When migrating web applications to the cloud, youll need to ensure that your applications are compatible with the targeted cloud environment.
Some cloud vendors provide the necessary tools to check the compatibility of your application with your cloud environment. Based on level of compatibility, existing applications might require some re-factoring or re-coding before moving to the cloud.
Failure to plan for reverse backup and disaster recovery
Companies must have a clear understanding of where their data resides in the cloud, and should be aware of the various possibilities of data retrieval that might be used in order to get data back as and when required. Creating, maintaining, and regularly practicing a well-planned backup procedure and proper disaster recovery exercise can help you ensure that your data is protected and secure. Practice exercises can give you confidence that you know how to back up the right data at the right place, and in the event of a disaster, you will be able to fetch that data. Failing to plan for data backup and recovery methods can result in significant consequences that can interrupt your business continuity.
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8 Biggest Cloud Mistakes Companies Make
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