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Cloud computing has been helping various organizations in their business processes. It provides quick access to information anytime, anywhere. Storage is easily scalable to accommodate growing needs for data, and capital investment and IT operating costs are lower compared to managing all data centers on-site. Many companies rely so heavily on the cloud that they have minimal servers and assets.
By 2020, Garner predicts that cloud providers will triple as more organizations will outsource services while others will try cloud computing for the first time. Also, the research company predicts the industry will hit the $300 billion mark by 2021. Service providers are going to rely on their marketing companies and top SEO companies including those ranked by BestSEOCompanies.com to bring in new clients and increase market share.
But, this convenience has certain risks and threats that might lead to disasters such as data loss, leakage or downtime. It is imperative for every organization to understand how cloud computing works and identify the inherent risks. This helps each company to perform risk assessment procedures and carefully plan how to mitigate the risks associated with the service.
In the 2018 Emerging Risks Report and Monitor surveyed by Gartner Consulting, risks involved in cloud computing comes at the top of the list of concerns for most executives. As the service grows exponentially, the threats also build and risk managers recognize this. The challenge now is how to address these emerging risks and avoid the ugly consequences. After all, data hosted off-site might be vulnerable to heaps of potential problems.
Data security remains the number one concern of tech and risk experts. Hiring a service provider means losing control and visibility over data security and management. They fear that the vendor might grant access to unauthorized users, expose sensitive information or lose data. Another challenge is when the contracted service provider outsources some of its services to a third party. This increases the risks and complexities of cloud computing.
There are several ways to address data security risk. For one, a company needs to sit down with the vendor to discuss controls on data access, encryption techniques, asset management, business continuity and disaster recovery readiness. Also, clients should ask their vendors to identify any part of the service or infrastructure that is outsourced to a third party. If there is any contracted service, the vendor has to require any third party to follow security protocols and assume full responsibility if anything fails.
Other risks in implementing cloud computing are service reliability and uptime. These operational risks can lead to suboptimal service depending on the contracted price. A customized service level for an outsourced service is going to cost more than the regular packages offered. For a private internal cloud, service reliability depends mostly on quality of IT hardware and network, and expertise of the IT and development teams. For outsourced plans, companies do not control the quality of service and infrastructure.
Companies may experience opportunity cost from unavailable service due to downtime. Every hour of downtime can be thousands or millions of lost revenue, and an influx of client complaints and bad reviews. Organizations should ask cloud providers about controls in place that will provide consistent internet connectivity. Also, contractors should not just draft but perform backup plans in case of a power failure or loss of Internet connection.
While these innovations provide various benefits, they also pose major risks that can hurt an organization. Companies must understand how cloud computing works, be critical in hiring a vendor, identify any threats, perform assessment procedures and plan out how to mitigate risks in order to optimize the potential benefits.
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