"The Cloud" has a number of myths associated it, many holdovers from the early days of the concept. Even the name itself is something of a Misnomer, as there is no one "Cloud", but rather, several different types, offering different services, with different pros and cons. Look for a future Blog for comparisons of the various types and offerings.
For now, we'll look at some of the biggest myths, and worries, held by smaller businesses who have yet to make use of "The Cloud".
1. The Cloud isn't secure enough
For many, the idea of putting your data in the hands of someone else, in a datacentre potentially hundreds, if not thousands of miles away, is hard to swallow. Just because you don't have the servers and hard drives in your building, doesn't mean they are any less secure, however. In many cases, leveraging the cloud improves overall security.
Most data breaches are caused by human error, and by keeping the data offsite, with rigorous password controls and measures such as Multi-Factor Authentication, the number of people with unfettered or unneeded access to your data is reduced.
You should also consider that cloud providers must take security extremely seriously, as if their reputation is damaged by a security breach, that would likely spell the end of their business. It is always in the best interest of Cloud providers to protect your data, and in most cases, will have superior security systems and processes than most small to medium businesses.
If you're still concerned, look for the certifications that a cloud provider holds, such as ISO 27001/27017, PCI-DSS, FCA and similar.
2. The cloud is just for storing data
While Cloud services are very competitive for storing or backing up your data, this only scratches the surface of what is possible.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) allows you to run your own application servers or specialised software in the cloud, while Platform as a Service (PaaS) takes away managing the operating system and provides you with a known good platform to build your specific systems on.
There are a myriad of use cases, and specific service offerings that vary from provider to provider, certainly too many to list here. If you want to get the most from the Cloud, its certainly worth enlisting the help of a Cloud First IT service provider to help you find the best systems for your needs. (nudge nudge)
3. Cloud services put your Privacy at Risk
It easy to see how this myth exists, as many consumer cloud services make their money by harvesting the data you upload, and either selling it on or using it to advertise to you.
Business Cloud systems are very different however, and typically come with watertight privacy protections, and compliance with pretty much every privacy law or regulation world-wide. Rather than offering a service for free and recouping profits from your data, business solutions charge a fee to use the service, and protect your data at all costs. Just like with security, a Cloud provider that sold data or broke privacy laws would quickly find themselves out of business, so its in their best interests to protect your data.
4. Cloud is for bigger companies, not small or local businesses
While the cloud is definitely used by large companies and multi-nationals, it is equally useful to small and micro business, across most verticals. In fact, 88% of UK businesses (of which 95% are Micro Businesses, 1-9 employees) already use Cloud technology in one form or another, however many aren't taking full advantage of it.
Cloud often has the most impact in smaller businesses, by reducing capital expenditure, and scaling seamlessly as the company grows. Non-financial benefits can also be found, with ease of collaboration and remote working, and countless applications for almost all verticals. For example, a Cleaning company could manage appointments and allow service personnel access to the most up to date information, while a professional services company could use cloud technologies and security to maintain compliance with regulations.
5. The Cloud Provider will have control over my data
This is a very common and understandable myth, but a misplaced one. While on-premises IT obviously keeps control of data in your hands, there is no real worry of a cloud provider taking control of your data or preventing you from moving it.
Any good and reputable cloud provider will provide means to download copies of your data whenever you wish, and this right is often codified in contracts and T&Cs. Additionally, Cloud providers often seek to be intercompatible with other providers or systems, increasing their audience and potential customers, so it's in their best interests to ensure that your data is portable.
Myths and misconceptions, such as these, shouldn't hold you back from pursuing Cloud solutions as a part of your IT strategy, or from getting the most from Cloud services. Cloud technologies provide a range of benefits for small companies, so if you've been put off exploring Cloud, don't put it off any longer. If you want to learn more about how utilising the Cloud can help you, get in touch today.
IT+X provides a range of services to Small to Medium Businesses, including Cloud First IT management and Managed Services.