The cloud is no longer just an interesting way to reduce IT costs. Today, it is about transforming businesses, gaining extreme competitive advantage, interacting directly with customers in real time, and dozens of other game-changing possibilities. Challenges to cloud adoption come in all shapes, sizes and severities, depending on the organization. None should be considered show-stoppers, but that doesn’t make them any less real or significant. There is no definitive list of challenges; if there was it would be outdated as soon as it was put to paper. However, following are the concerns and challenges which are heard most often :
Making the correct choice : There are three types of cloud available – private, public and hybrid. The secret of successful cloud implementation lies in choosing the most appropriate cloud set-up. When bigger companies feel safer with their vast data in private cloud environment; small enterprises may benefit economically by hosting their services in public cloud. Some companies are also preferring the middle way i.e. hybrid cloud as a balanced approach.
Choosing between cloud services in forms of as-a-service (aaS) namely – infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software-as-a-service (SaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) also becomes a CIOs responsibility
Lack of Executive Support & Guidance : This is a difficult challenge with many fathers. In one way or another, a lack of support generally comes down to fear, uncertainty and doubt. While implementing cloud you need to adhere to both the governmental and internal regulations. The existing governmental policies may prove flawed and insufficient since cloud governance is still taking shape while internal policies may prove too stringent and inflexible.
Hence, you may need external and professional help in implementing cloud set-up properly.
Vendor Lock-in & Transparency : One of the major issues with cloud computing is its dependency on the service provider. For uninterrupted and fast services you need to choose a vendor with proper infrastructural and technical expertise. You need a vendor who can meet the security standards set both by the government agencies and your internal policies. Read their service-level agreement (SLA) carefully to learn more about what’s in offering, compensations in case of outage, lock-in clauses etc.
Data security : Often the major concern associated with cloud computing is data security and manageability. It becomes a more serious issue while you involve multiple vendors. Since you would be running your company’s assets and data from a third-party interface ensuring data security and privacy are of utmost importance. Hence, while engaging a cloud service provider always inquire about their cloud based security policies upfront. You’d also need to ensure that they have effective data backup plans to salvage data if a disaster strikes. However, cloud computing companies usually employ strict data security policies to prevent hacking and invest heavily on improved software and hardware., some of the issues regarding data security can be mitigated by employing a hybrid cloud environment.
Lack of Skills, Knowledge and Expertise: It’s different in the cloud, and many IT organizations may not have the necessary tools or resources to implement, monitor and manage cloud solutions. It’s not what they are geared to do. Educating staff about new processes and tool sets, or hiring staff with new skills is important because eventually more of your operations and applications move to the cloud over time.
Disaster recovery & Data Portability : A cloud provider must have a resilient infrastructure to deal with server breakdown and outage. A proper data backup policy should have been in place to deal with it. Quite naturally most cloud computing service providers prefer to set up their servers at politically and economically stable locations to avoid data loss issues due to unrests. -
Performance and Bandwidth Cost: Businesses can save money on system acquisitions, management and maintenance, but they may have to spend more for the bandwidth. For smaller applications this is not usually an issue, but cost can be high for the data-intensive applications. Delivering and receiving intensive and complex data over the network requires sufficient bandwidth to stave off latency and application time outs.
Integration with Existing Infrastructure: This is a difficult yet essential piece of maximizing the value of cloud services. The incremental gains that result from Introducing discreet cloud services into an organization will never achieve what a well-integrated environment can deliver. Developing a cohesive strategy is paramount, an effort that will be aided greatly by a governance strategy, first at the corporate level and then within IT.