It sometimes feels as though everyone has moved to the cloud. But there are still some organizations that are loath to do so. Sometimes the reasons for staying on-premises are very real, but sometimes it might be a case of believing many of the nigh decade-old cloud myths that I’d hoped had long gone. For example:
- “Public cloud is insecure”
- “You can’t trust cloud – someone else is in control”
- “Cloud is ultimately more expensive than the on-premises delivery model”
Sadly, myths such as these, and others, are evidence of a lack of understanding of the use of public cloud services. It’s a shame for the organizations that are being held back by these myths because they’re missing an opportunity to improve the quality of their IT services, flexibility for change, and bottom line.
Before I continue, please appreciate that it’s difficult to write about cloud in the context of an average organization, because in reality there’s no such thing and, even if there were, its needs would no doubt be different to yours.
Myth 1: “Public cloud is insecure”
Okay, it’s relatively easy to bring up a cloud-breach example, probably citing an AWS S3 public bucket breach or a similar story. It’s because they get significant media attention when they happen. Sure, you can misconfigure an ACL, open up a firewall, and expose your data assets to the world, JUST as you can in your own datacenter (or server room).
When considering your organization’s on-premises server room how does it stack up against the major cloud service provider in terms of asset management, cable management, weak access controls, lack of CCTV and alarms, poor HVAC, and various other physical/logical controls? What we do know is that cloud service providers live or die based on their security capabilities. And as such, they invest and reinvest in them accordingly.
I’d be willing to bet that for all but the largest of organizations, in a cloud vs. server room security bakeoff, that cloud would win on security.
Myth 2: “Cloud is Just ‘Someone Else’s Server’”
I know, I know. Even serverless can be viewed as using someone else’s computer. But this is like looking at one brick rather than the whole house.
Cloud is a service-based business model. It provides customers with many benefits, including:
- Commoditized components
- Flexible scaling
- Web technologies for interoperability
- Scale and volume advantages
- Service stacks that take advantage of all this (SaaS/PaaS/IaaS/FaaS (function-as-a-service))
Plus, did I mention the superior cloud security?
Myth 3: “Cloud is expensive”
The following example might be a little cheeky but for me, it’s a home run for cloud. Consider this transport-based analogy when you need to travel from A-B – a one-time 5,000-mile journey. Would you:
- Create a car manufacturing facility to then build yourself a car (for the single journey)? No way!
- Buy a car for your one-time journey? Surely this isn’t a wise investment either.
- Rent a form of transport? A car isn’t even the right mode of transport. But most of us can’t afford to rent a whole plane. However, a seat on a non-private plane would work – where we share the cost of the trip with the other passengers knowing that the airline has invested in repeatedly making the journey safely.
In the cloud vs. on-premises total cost of ownership (TCO) debate, cloud economics will make sense for most businesses. However, for some needs (plus organizations of a certain size, scale, complexity, capability, and maturity) on-premises or hybrid cloud is the right answer.
The truth about cloud
Is cloud going to be the right answer for your organization in every imaginable scenario? No.
Will cloud prevent people from running with weak security controls? No.
However, it does provide your organization with access to world-class technical capabilities that, if used right, will help to improve your organization’s security posture, better align its technology spending with business outcomes, and provide the flexibility to handle the ever-changing business-needs landscape.
Is your organization still struggling with these or other cloud myths? If so, please let me know in the comments.