As with any new technology, there are concerns with the cloud when it comes to the security surrounding its application. The cloud as a concept is built around accessibility but when you open that channel to a wider network, problems are bound to occur.
One of the main issues that has tested the cloud in recent years is the word itself. The “cloud” has become a blanket term for online networking that is now prevalent within society. When stories have hit the headlines with issues attributed to the “cloud” it has been both a curse and a blessing. With the celebrity photo hack in 2014, public opinion of the service trembled under claims that the service was unreliable and dangerous. In reality all the service provided was an accessible means for the hackers to log in to accounts through passwords which in some cases were 3 years old. The leak was in fact as much a hack as it was a stab in the dark made possible through phishing scams. Stories like this can ruin a product so early in its lifecycle however, with every security concern, the cloud grows stronger making for an incredibly reactive and responsive development process.
We’re now in a position that just because the public cloud is publicly accessible, doesn’t mean that your infrastructure is available to the public internet. For a company, the mistakes that are made through poor configuration of cloud applications become much more difficult to make in a private data centre. The increase in security layers added within the cloud has introduced a handful of methods for further authentication. The technology records and monitors geolocation, device history and the preferred browser linked to your account as well as requiring more personal information before logging in. For the more security conscious, the hybrid cloud is believed to be the way forward.
By combining on site solutions with both public and private clouds, applications can be managed based on sensitivity and accessibility to tailor a service that is scalable and cost effective. With security now the primary concern of any individual looking to embrace cloud computing, vendors are not only focussed on not snooping on users data but actually building mechanisms to rid themselves of the power to do so.
It has to be remembered that the cloud is a tool and that any tool can be mismanaged. The cloud will be exactly as strong as the infrastructure you surround it with. For instance, a poor internet connection won’t support constant access to the cloud but that isn’t to mean it isn’t useful to a user without the facility.
Disaster recovery is one of the most useful and reliable applications of the cloud as it offers an additional level of protection through redundancy. When business continuity is interrupted with on-premise solutions, the effects can take an unbearable toll on productivity. We recently conducted a piece of research to support this. Our study found that network/connection uptime is the biggest factor to support productivity at work, but it is also perceived by IT users to be the biggest barrier too.
However with cloud data can be backed up to multiple location adding another layer of reliability and ultimately practicality. Even with the idea of having something as intangible as a hosted solution striking fear into the hearts of IT professionals, tools to monitor the physical and digital performance of your cabinet at the data centre is a reality. The solution can be treated with all the convenience of on premise with none of the risks attached with keeping all your data in one place. All together, the reliability and scale that can be built around the cloud far outreaches anything that can be facilitated on site.
As with any new resource or technology, there will be an initial outlay that in the short term will be difficult to part ways with. Harder still is improving an infrastructure that at first glance doesn’t seem to be in need of improving. Then to invest large amounts of money into a tool with no real return on investment puts such a strain on the transition that it will always meet with resistance.
The cloud will not make you money but it will allow you to streamline the way that you do. Efficiency improvements and process development is proven to not only increase productivity but also make businesses more scalable. A rigid infrastructure makes for an awkward growth strategy and with the flexibility of the cloud, a wider range of choices are available to a company. This can involve scaling up or down without needing to install new hardware whilst reducing IT management costs through time wasted managing antiquated on site facilities.
The cloud is more expensive yes, but only if you commit to the short term benefits. Over the long term it really becomes cheaper and if you still aren’t sure, trial services are available to determine what value can be added through the cloud.
We hope that’s answered some of your concerns with the cloud. Take a look at part two where we address three more misconceptions of the cloud.
If you would like more information on how cloud services can transform your business, please contact us.