Cloud Computing Risks And Challenges Businesses Shouldn't Be Ignoring
The cloud landscape has evolved immensely over the last decade. Migrating to a cloud-based infrastructure has become the norm among modern businesses, which comes as no surprise considering all the scalability potential it holds, as well as the opportunities that come with it.
However, with all that evolution that the cloud has undergone, come various risks and challenges.
Admittedly, a business cannot simply choose to move its operations, processes, networks and other components to a cloud-based architecture without considering all the moving parts that this procedure involves. Regardless of the company size, it is recommended that you have professional guidance for coming up with an optimal cloud migration strategy capable of performing this convoluted task as effectively and efficiently as possible.
That said, here are some basic risks and challenges that cloud computing can involve.
Inaccurate Cost Projection of the Cloud Migration Process
Once you decide to migrate all or some of your infrastructures to the cloud, it is of utmost importance that you evaluate the financial cost that your business will be covering. The move can be an expensive journey (with immense payoff later on) and you don’t want to overpay for any aspect of this process. Surely, some unexpected costs are highly likely to crop up here and there during the migration period, and you would want to make sure these are brought to a minimum.
Potential Data Privacy and Security Issues
Overlooking security risks and data privacy-based issues is a huge gamble that could - due to a single mistake - lead to your company going under, especially if your organization is not an enterprise-level business. Sharing applications and handling sensitive customer data across numerous communication channels is always risky, and the repercussions can be quite devastating in terms of legal processes and the costs they could involve.
The cloud environment involves data transmissions that are breach-friendly unless you take all the necessary measures to prevent this potential data loss (or even worse - data theft) scenario. The regulatory framework can be vague and often depends on the privacy standards of a particular jurisdiction, which means that approaching data security according to best-practice standards should be among your top priority tasks.
One of the problems could be the fact that most public cloud computing contracts feature fixed terms that leave little (or, often, no room) for negotiation. This lack of flexibility is usually a non-issue for most companies, but there are certain types of businesses that could potentially see some of these fixed terms as a dealbreaker. The terms of the contract can in some cases be negotiable, especially if the cloud vendor is not one of the A-list digital giants, but the level of flexibility typically depends on the cloud service model you are opting for.
Governance, Control, Compliance
Make sure to incorporate proper IT governance that would enable all your assets to be implemented and used in accordance with all the necessary procedures, standards, protocols, and policies. This type of compliance is another top priority as it makes sure that all the regulatory laws - especially in terms of data privacy and retention - are properly addressed and abided by.
Be sure to come up with optimal strategies in terms of data governance, archiving, and retention, as these are those unsexy tasks that are rarely fun to perform but do require a granular and strategic approach. This is where email archiving solutions, a data governance policy, as well as email retention policies come into play. Data, particularly sensitive data, and company secrets are the very lifeblood of your business, which is why you should make sure that all these policies are properly designed and consistently implemented across all your teams and networks.
It is not uncommon for a cloud computing service provider to become dependent on third-party vendors. This could potentially be a problem in a scenario where, for any given reason, a third-party vendor fails to provide their services to the public cloud provider, in which case you as an end-user may face certain risks - like losing your data. When the relationship between third-party service vendors and a public cloud provider becomes messy, cloud providers typically do not hold themselves responsible for the relationship failure. So, be sure to have this in mind when choosing your cloud provider.
Migrating All Company Data at Once
Many might see the tactic of migrating all of their company data at once as a way to speed up the entire process, but this strategy often causes more downtime in the long run. Additionally, as data migration is a very serious process, certain issues may arise that could lead to the loss of sensitive and/or critical business or customer data. This is why it is recommended that you do this task in stages, or even perform tests.
The entire cloud computing model and the convoluted process of cloud migration should be approached with a finely-grained and well-thought-out strategy. You should consider all the potential challenges and have a remedy in place for each. The benefits of moving onto a cloud-based architecture are manifold. We suggest taking security and data privacy very seriously, and your approach to all the technical aspects of migrating to and using cloud-based infrastructure should be optimized according to your workflow and the industry your business belongs to.
We hope this overview of potential risks and challenges won’t result in you feeling reluctant about the cloud model. Remember, the benefits vastly overweigh the risks. All you need is proper planning and flawless execution, and the reward is just around the corner.
Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist, business writer, and entrepreneur, currently based in Melbourne. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in a fast-changing and demanding market environment. Covering finance and investment topics, Lauren strongly believes in a holistic approach to business.View Lauren Wiseman`s profile for more