Against the backdrop of repeated and well-publicized data and privacy breaches, businesses are continuing to evaluate cloud benefits against cloud computing disadvantages. The tradeoffs are difficult: streamlined, cost effective infrastructure vs. loss of control.
But cloud infrastructure is not sorcery or black magic. While you can expect a whole new level of automation features out of the cloud, expecting the cloud to automatically fix issues for you is unreasonable.
The cloud has come a long way over the past few decades. What was once a dream is now achievable for most businesses.
Media Darlings: Cloud Computing Fails
While the tremendous advantages and features of the cloud are now largely understood, the media frequently focuses on the setbacks of a virtual infrastructure when it’s not properly set up.
It was roughly a month ago when we learned that Code Spaces shut down because its AWS account was hacked by the bad guys. You can read the full story here.
While we are just recovering from the chills of this incident and others, the very recent security breach of celebrities’ iCloud accounts is in the headlines. On one end, Apple denies that the hack is linked to a security breach of iCloud. While on the other end, it has stirred up serious debates in the community questioning the reliability of the cloud.
Two Sides of the Cloud
We certainly can praise the advantages of the cloud and the features it has to offer. By using the cloud the right way, you can end up revolutionizing your industry. It’s enticing at various levels by simply addressing issues at technical and business perspectives.
You can read these previous blog posts about some interesting positives for using the cloud:
But, what are some of the cloud computing disadvantages you must consider? Here’s a list:
Cloud Doesn’t Come on a Silver Platter: The cloud has proved its potential of creating push-button deployments of an infrastructure, including security, app servers, database servers, load balancing, SOA, queues and data processing. This can’t be achieved in a few steps and just a basic understanding of the cloud. And it simply doesn’t suffice to be excited about the cloud. It takes time to master the details of the ocean of services you can avail using the cloud.
Targeted Operations: Cloud providers like AWS speak the language of Ops. So what does that mean to your Devs? It means an overhead in enriching the team with the needed skillset. You can read here to learn how AWS can hurt you.
Privacy and Compliance Headaches: Managing compliance for various industries, states and national governments can be complex. Many companies based outside of (and even inside) the United States have post-Snowden concerns about the privacy of their data. Managing these details is not for novices.
How can I trust my business with the cloud?
Establishing a stable, dynamic cloud infrastructure is one of the best decisions you can make. But, how can you be sure of your decision? And, how may it affect you down the line?
Here are some points to ponder:
1. The cloud is not a one-size-fit-all technology. Make sure that your business and, hence, your infrastructure is right for the cloud. Don’t opt for cloud migration just because your competitor has done so. Understand your business model and needs before taking the first step
2. There are several compliance and security support packages offered by the cloud. Exploring the right features implies making a wise choice of a cloud provider. For instance, if you are a healthcare startup and are looking for HIPAA compliance, you should consider using AWS as opposed to Heroku, which does not yet support HIPAA.
3. Keep calm and speak “cloud.” To utilize the cloud to its fullest potential, it’s necessary that you speak the language of the cloud. You must follow best practices to achieve maximum results.
4. Execute a thorough plan ... and then some. While it is natural to feel the pressure of lacking a good cloud architect in your team, it’s significant to plan and work it out before hastily jumping to the decision of executing a cloud migration.
In a nutshell, while the wake up calls may give you nightmares, they are also lessons to learn. Fitting the pieces of your cloud infrastructure together properly with these best practices in mind provides assurance that your business remains secure.
Most often, cloud failures happen not because the cloud let you down, but because someone didn’t fit all the pieces of the puzzle together in the right way.