Most Common Cloud Computing Mistakes
Businesses can improve the agility of their organizations by shifting workloads from the data center to cloud computing. Cloud computing can improve scalability, provide the speed needed to deliver new business services, and reduce the operational burden of technology.
However, not every company that embraces the cloud experiences those advantages. Many make mistakes as they make the move to the cloud that keep them from optimizing their performance. The following represent some of the most common mistakes businesses should be aware of.
Falling into the marketing trap
Companies providing cloud services entice new customers with a number of selling points. They say cloud computing is cheaper and more flexible than the data center. They also promote it as an always on, always available, and always secure alternative.
These tactics draw businesses into cloud computing, creating an image that the cloud connects them to mysterious and magical services with fancy names that will solve all of their problems. What businesses fail to understand is that the cloud simply outsources the work they were doing in their own data centers. It is effectively renting space in someone else’s data center.
Businesses that make the mistake of falling into the marketing trap don’t have a solid understanding of the technology that supports their business efforts. Consequently, they don’t know if the technology is set up in a way that will keep them operational and secure.
This problem is exacerbated when businesses rely on technical professionals who have only received certification training. Such training teaches the names of vendor-specific tools and teaches how to configure them, but it doesn’t explain how the underlying technology works.
Object storage, which is a key component of cloud services, is an example of this. In the Amazon Web Services cloud object storage is known as AWS S3 storage. In the Microsoft cloud, it is called Blob storage. In the Google cloud, it has yet another name.
Misconfigured object storage buckets are a leading cause of cybersecurity vulnerabilities regularly cited in media reports of security breaches. Those vulnerabilities arise because the technology professionals overseeing them only know how to click boxes in the configuration process, rather than understanding the technology’s strengths and weaknesses. Because their knowledge is limited to vendor certifications, they create situations that put cloud companies at risk.
Believing the cloud is cheaper than the data center
Cloud computing is often marketed as a more cost-effective option. The truth, however, is that it is substantially more expensive than a data center for most customers.
In the early days of cloud computing, providers believed they could provide lower costs than the data center through economies of scale. However, there were several flaws in their logic.
To understand why cloud computing is not cheaper, you must first understand the data center a business builds on-site involves the same technology used by Amazon, Microsoft, or Google for their cloud services. Those companies must operate the same technology to provide cloud computing as a business would in its own data center.
In addition, Amazon and other cloud providers must hire, train, and support large teams of people to build, promote, and maintain their clouds. Teams focused on marketing, sales, and technology are all necessary, which leads to some very big expenditures.
As clouds attract more users, they become hyper-scale, which requires even larger support teams. The increased costs of maintaining these teams are passed on to cloud customers, making the cloud more expensive than the private data center.
Failing to establish healthy governance
A successful IT strategy must start at the top. It must include a business vision, operational practices, and goals for the future. IT professionals trained solely by vendor certifications, which are the people who typically engineer a business’s cloud infrastructure, often know nothing about the business or how to leverage technology solutions to optimize it.
Businesses commonly make the mistake of not including senior management in the development of a governance structure. Department heads and internal technology people need to make sure they understand the technology and play a role in ensuring the right technology is used. Failure to involve all key stakeholders in governance strategies can easily lead to businesses incurring unnecessary costs and risks.
Additionally, leadership needs to guide technology teams on where they want to take the company in the future, as the technology needs to support the company’s ongoing initiatives. All too often, companies start with the technology and expect businesses to adapt to it, which can lock the business into suboptimal business processes. Governance strategies should make sure technology aligns with business optimization. They should also detail strategies for new technology deployments and updates that may be needed to optimize processes.
Ignoring optimization strategies
As businesses move applications and systems from data centers to the cloud, a certain degree of refactoring is needed to optimize performance. This is a commonly overlooked step because businesses are in a hurry to get to the cloud and start realizing the cost savings they have been promised.
Tuning technology for the cloud can reduce costs. To empower that tuning, businesses must start with an understanding of the business problems that need to be solved, the challenges involved in the solution, and the applications that can play a role.
Scaling strategies, for example, can be optimized by conducting capacity planning. Businesses that fail to do capacity planning don’t establish what services they will need nor the applications that can provide them. As a result, they end up spending more than is necessary for cloud services.
The most common mistakes associated with the use of cloud computing stem from a failure to understand the technology the cloud is built on and the ways in which it can solve business solutions. Businesses that fail to consider those factors by falling into marketing traps and failing to establish sound governance principles will find themselves locked into technology infrastructure that is less efficient, less secure, and more expensive than the service provided by the data center.