The biggest myths surrounding cloud infrastructures

The demand for Web-based IT services may be growing consistently, but there are still some major preconceptions about these types of services– especially in the IT departments of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In this article, we address the most common objections to cloud computing – and present the counter-arguments. The first set of myths that we want to debunk is founded on the notion that cloud-based services come with risks and constraints that may not be worth accepting. We show you that cloud computing is actually an excellent alternative for SMEs that would otherwise have to invest a great deal of time, money, and effort into maintaining their own IT infrastructure.

Myth: “Data is and remains more secure on my own server!”
The idea that cloud computing is not as secure as the computer in a company’s own server room is probably the most prevalent prejudice around, and it simply doesn’t hold up to objective scrutiny. This is more of a trust issue than a case of real security gaps, and in fact there have been only very few security breaches in the cloud to date. Most security incidents concern businesses’ in-house server infrastructures, which are much more at risk than professionally managed cloud services. It’s not just about potential hacker attacks, either, but also more mundane risks like efficient data backups and protection against fires, flooding, or even theft. If something were to happen nonetheless, cloud providers have so-called disaster recovery plans in place: namely effective provisions for resuming service for customers as quickly and seamlessly as possible after an outage. These usually go far beyond what is provided for so-called “on-premises” structures. Serious cloud providers also disclose their security provisions, and even have them certified.

Myth: “In the medium to long term, the cloud is much more expensive than permanently installed solutions!”
This objection is often raised by those who compare the purchasing price of a server and software with the monthly costs of a corresponding cloud offer, but this is a faulty comparison. It doesn’t take into account the costs of IT staff, maintenance, regular updates, backups, the data center facility, power consumption, and measures to prevent outages – which don’t just cost money, but also precious time. With cloud-based services, companies can enjoy the benefits of having several servers without having to deal with the usual drawbacks: The service provider is responsible for operating the computers seamlessly. Cloud users also benefit from economies of scale and falls in prices to a much greater extent than those who run their own servers. In a study by the analysis and consulting firm Pierre Audoin Consultants, for example, almost all users of cloud-based offers confirmed that they managed to cut their costs by 10 to 30 percent.

Browser-based and mobile applications are most powerful when the job scope, workplace, or capacity of the IT infrastructure vary dramatically and are difficult to plan. In this case, cloud infrastructures have the advantage that, contrary to in-house servers, you only have to pay for the server and storage capacity that you actually use. You also save yourself the investment into in-house infrastructure and tie down much less proprietary capital with the monthly fee for equivalent services in the cloud, which can be flexible and need-based depending on the chosen offer.

Myth: “With the cloud, I would have to tie myself down to a single provider!”
Independence from providers is a major concern for many companies. Even with your own servers and software, something like switching from an ERP solution to a competing system is one of the greatest challenges you can face. Experts know that data migration is one of the main obstacles to introducing a new technological platform. Many people now believe that this problem is compounded in the still obscure world of cloud-based services. There’s a prejudice that it’s impossible to retrieve the data from the cloud – at least in a usable format. Admittedly, there are no universal solutions in this field, so here’s a tip: When choosing a cloud provider, pay attention to which industry standards are applied. For instance, a cloud provider should give its customers the possibility to access their data over interfaces known as Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). It can also be a good idea to integrate private networks and other clouds.

Myth: “I don’t use the cloud – anyone can access my data there!”
This is another deeply engrained myth.  Of course, the security of company data stored in the cloud depends on several major factors, including the cloud provider, but if the data is well encrypted then it is often safer in the cloud than on a local server. During encryption, it’s important to differentiate between data at rest, which is stored inactively, and data in transit between data centers and end users. The second kind gives IT decision-makers the biggest headaches: What will happen to the data once it is on its way through the Internet? The simplest answer is that it will be sent out under lock and key. Security protocols like HTTPS and SSL ensure that all communication between the browser and the webserver is protected against third-party access. Every high-quality, professional SaaS tool makes use of these and only allows secure connections.
On the user’s end, multi-factor authentication is not a luxury. Each login has two authentication steps – for example a pin code and a one-time password that the user receives via e-mail or smartphone. A cloud provider or SaaS tool with this option provides extra security, but the key to comprehensive security is ultimately a strong password. Most data breaches are not the result of sophisticated hacks, but of weak passwords.
The security of the cloud infrastructure itself is guaranteed by the providers, the largest of whom have security personnel, electronic safeguards, and multi-factor authentication access controls securing their data centers around the clock.
Of course, any local or Web-based IT system can theoretically be attacked, spied on, and hacked. However, cloud providers tend to have larger and better equipped security departments with well-trained staff. That’s why the public cloud of a renowned cloud service provider is usually better armed against hackers, spies, data thieves, malware, and so forth than a company’s own IT solution or independently created private cloud.

As you can see, the professional services of established cloud providers can easily compete with and even surpass the results that SMEs can achieve by maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure – including in terms of security, efficiency, and costs. Stay tuned for next article, in which we will address the myths that lead many companies to believe that cloud computing just isn’t right for them. We will explain why outsourcing your IT services to the cloud has advantages for every company, regardless of the sector.


Source: (in German)

Author: Editorial Team
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