It’s no secret that the cloud is everywhere. From Main Street to Wall Street, businesses find it difficult to ignore the tangible benefits cloud technology can provide. Cloud adoption has soared in the past year, with 68 percent of enterprises currently using public or private cloud solutions, and around one-third of companies having what is considered a “mature” cloud strategy. But while cloud use has experienced rapid, significant growth, companies continue to remain wary of the public cloud.
The public cloud trails the private cloud in enterprise popularity. Only half of companies currently rely on the public cloud for limited workloads such as email, web content management and data archiving. Today, the challenge for IT service providers and vendors is teaching businesses how to overcome common misconceptions about the public cloud and how to maximize their cloud investments.
Four Reasons Why Companies Shy Away from the Public Cloud
The global public cloud market is expected to take off over the next few months, surpassing $146 billion in 2017. But in spite of these bullish projections, business leaders are hesitant to bring the public cloud into their organization for several reasons:
1. Concerns over security: The big question mark for business leaders is whether or not the public cloud is safe enough for mission-critical workloads. Fear of potential data breaches and hijacked accounts has led to the underutilization of the public cloud, with many companies using it for end user-facing tasks (such as productivity and social networking applications) instead. Business leaders also voice concerns about the potential for security breaches to bring entire systems offline or for data to be compromised during a cloud migration.
2. Scarcity of resources: Many organizations currently lack individuals with the right background to advocate for public cloud initiatives – let alone manage the technology. At the leadership level, plenty of C-suite executives still don’t understand the benefits of the public cloud, and are less likely to throw their support behind cloud investments. Tactically, there is also the issue of short-staffed IT departments that are not equipped with the requisite skills to support a public cloud environment.
3. Organizational complexities: The same standards a company follows to run their legacy mainframes and private servers don’t apply in a public cloud environment. Public cloud solutions come with a host of operational nuances that demand new processes for monitoring and governance. This poses a significant change for business and IT leaders who harbor reservations about managing the intricacies of a hybrid or public cloud model.
4. Misconceptions about cost: While it’s true the cloud can help businesses cut IT costs, rushed migration and sloppy management protocol can actually drive up long-term expenses. Too many organizations immediately rush to the cloud without establishing proper governance to ensure a healthy ROI, ending up with features and functionality that go unused.
How Businesses Can Embrace the Public Cloud and Its Benefits
Despite these deeply ingrained concerns, the public cloud has much to offer organizations – from cost savings to enhanced internal agility, and even a high degree of security.
Public cloud service providers, like Amazon Web Services, have funneled millions in processes and robust controls to keep clients’ sensitive data safe, often safer than it could be on-premise. Operating on a pay-as-you-go model, the public cloud can reduce the total cost of ownership for businesses of all sizes, leveling the playing field for smaller companies. The public cloud also provides unlimited scalability, giving businesses the ability to expand or curb service as they grow.
But achieving success with the public cloud hinges on careful planning and a strategy tailored to an organization’s unique IT challenges and objectives. The best way to begin is by crafting a thorough blueprint assessing your business’ most pressing needs. With the assistance of cloud experts and third-party consultants, organizations can not only gauge their public cloud readiness, but also identify which cloud environment aligns best with their existing operations and future goals. Even taking the time to conduct a high-level IT inventory sheds light on opportunities to eliminate shadow IT and optimize expenses by consolidating workloads in a public cloud solution.
Businesses planning to shift applications to a public cloud environment should take advantage of cloud managed service providers (MSP) to make the most out of their chosen solution. A cloud MSP can extend the cloud ROI with appropriate tools to analyze cloud performance and governance to ensure the security and cost control. Partnering with an MSP to help design, deploy and manage the public cloud also reduces the administrative pressure placed on internal IT departments, freeing them up to focus on strategic internal projects and respond faster to end user requests.
The cloud is a must-have for any business looking to compete in the digital age. Security fears or a perceived lack of in-house resources shouldn’t deter executives from considering a public cloud solution, but rather help them build a business case for it. When companies learn how to harness the true power of the public cloud, they can tap into a significant advantage over those who stick to a private or non-existent cloud environment. With the right outside expertise and proper due diligence, businesses can make smarter, more successful public cloud investments that pay dividends for years to come.
Brett Moss, SVP of Hyperscale Cloud at Ensono
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