In 2012, a survey by Wakefield Research found that 51% of Americans believed storms would affect cloud computing. We'd hope that things have changed over the last 7 years, and that people are at least a little more savvy about what 'the cloud' is and does. But we do know that there are still a lot of concerns and misconceptions. So here we are to answer some of those lingering questions...
But first - what is cloud computing?
Cloud computing uses the internet to deliver computer-related services - like storage, databases, software, analytics, servers, and networking. Instead of having on-site servers and storage, you outsource this to the cloud. The benefit is that you can access faster innovation and economies of scale, while using flexible resources that scale with your needs.
Myth: Only tech companies need cloud computing
Nothing could be further from the truth. While it might be fair to say that tech companies are more likely to use the cloud, it's certainly not the case that other businesses aren't or shouldn't be using it. Any company, of any size, can get great benefits from cloud computing - from increased storage, better data management, improved collaboration, and greater flexibility to name just a few.
Working with a tech company to get your business into the cloud isn't a bad idea, though. We're able to identify areas you may not even have considered, and we have access to technologies that can increase the benefits you'll see by a considerable amount. Ultimately, you don't need to be a techie person to get cloud.
Myth: The cloud isn’t safe
Probably one of the most common myths we hear at SpiderGroup about the cloud is that it isn’t safe. In fact, security measure by the bigger cloud vendors are often better than individual businesses - after all, keeping everything safe and secure is a vital part of their business! They also have the resources, skills, time, and incentive to keep up to date and on top of changes and risks in a way most in-house teams simply can't.
However, you should be aware that security is also your responsibility. You need to protect your cloud systems just as much as you'd have to protect on-site servers from attack. Having a cloud provider behind you doesn't make you immune - you set your passwords, for example, and password security is definitely an important area to get right.
Keeping your important documents and information on the cloud rather than on your computers not only means they can be accessed anywhere in the world, but also means they can still be accessed should your computers and laptops get lost, damaged, or stolen.
Myth: Anyone can access data on a public Cloud
This myth is a popular one, and it's probably down to the naming conventions used when talking about different types of cloud service - public, private, and hybrid.
- Public cloud - owned and operated by a cloud service provider (like Microsoft Azure or AWS). You access the services through a web browser.
- Private cloud - cloud resources used exclusively by one business on a private network, may be hosted on site or by a cloud service provider.
- Hybrid cloud - a combination of public and private clouds, with technology linking the two to share information.
The important thing to understand is that a public cloud isn't 'open to the public'. Everything you store there is secured and accessed only by you and your authorised users. Effectively, it's called 'public' because the resources are available to multiple businesses rather than only being used by one. Each business has its own 'section' and there is no crossover, and no shared access.
Myth: When it comes to the Cloud, it’s all or nothing
If you had to go all-in as soon as you thought about moving to the cloud, it would be understandable to worry. Luckily this myth is simply not true - one of the great things about using the cloud is that it's scalable and flexible. You can add more as you need to. You can reduce what you use if it turns out you don't need as much as you thought.
Sometimes you have systems that aren't right for the cloud. That's perfectly fine. You can keep those where they are, while moving other areas of your business into cloud computing. You don't need a complete digital transformation project to start on the path to using cloud - you can dip a toe in.
Being able to pay for only what you use is particularly helpful to businesses on an ambitious growth trajectory - instead of having to get more resources than you need to help you grow, or continually having to add more as your business develops, you can scale at your own pace, without tying up funds earlier than you need to.
Myth: Cloud is expensive
Subscriptions to cloud software may seem like a far bigger expenditure for your business, but can actually save you money. Without having to buy software and applications outright, you can save on upfront costs, and often won’t have to worry about paying for new software every time new versions are introduced. And, you may also find your business saves on electricity bills, as well as being able to offer more flexible working opportunities.
Not to mention the fact cloud subscriptions can scale with your business, reducing and growing when you really need it.
Cloud is generally more cost effective, rather than cheaper or more expensive. Careful planning during your migration will also help realise these efficiencies, to help you fully benefit from the potential savings.
Myth: Using the cloud is harmful to the environment
This is an important concern - and it's true that data centres do consume energy, often in very large amounts. But on-site facilities also consume energy, even if we don't really think about it (especially if you have server rooms with the right cooling to keep your equipment running at its optimum levels).
Migrating from on-site facilities to the cloud means that you're moving to a consolidated cloud data centre, which is almost always more energy efficient than lots of companies powering equipment locally.
Myth: Cloud migration is too much hassle
The idea that migrating to cloud is difficult and time-consuming is a very common one. And, depending on how you go about it, it can sometimes be true.
The difference is usually in how much planning, how much preparation, and how much support you have. Working with an experienced cloud specialist will definitely make the process a LOT easier, and will highlight areas of potential risk before you run into them.
The migration process can be managed with very little downtime, if you're working with a company that knows what it's doing. Cloud consultants and specialists (like us) have the experience and knowledge to conduct a clean and efficient migration, making the whole process far quicker and more painless than you might expect.
Myth: Cloud is just too complicated
Once your migration has taken place (and, have we mentioned that getting experts in to help with that is the best plan?) you're up and running. But you don't have to worry that everything is now hard to find or understand. Typical cloud features include user-friendly dashboards and reporting, so you don't have to get to grips with complicated back-end stuff. Leave that to the IT people, and just enjoy having easy access to everything you need - no matter where you are.
Myth: I don't use Cloud and I don't need it
Chances are, you have come across cloud services, and may even be using them now without realising. If you use any of the following services, you're using cloud already:
- Google Drive (Google Docs, Sheets, etc)
- Microsoft Office 365
- Facebook (if you store photos or use Messenger, for example)
Cloud isn't new anymore - it's everywhere. Even if you don't use the services above, you'll find that many of the services you do use are themselves using cloud to run their businesses.
SpiderGroup are specialists when it comes to cloud computing so why not get in touch? Speak to a member of our tech team on 0117 933 0570 today for more information.