The Top Five Threats To Cloud Computing

The Top Five Threats To Cloud Computing

With hundreds of enterprises migrating to cloud services every day, it looks like the march to cloud everything is inevitable and unstoppable. However, cloud computing is not without its risks, and in this post, I will cover the top five issues that pose a threat to increased cloud adoption by enterprises.

Highly fragmented market

In most areas of computing, it is a winner-take-all market. Whether it is Facebook or Google search, or Windows or iPhone, most markets in our world face either a monopoly or a duopoly. While such markets pose their own threats (lack of options/high pricing power with providers), cloud computing belongs to the other end of the spectrum. It is heavily fragmented, with new players entering the game every day.

For instance, in the consumer cloud storage segment alone, there are at least seven players vying for the role of leader (though Dropbox currently has an edge). All the major players in computing—Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM, Salesforce and Amazon—are making cloud computing their top priority. This has added to an increased confusion among customers and prevented the adoption of proper standards.

Lack of sufficient standards

It follows from the previous point that fragmentation, high stakes and huge rivalry are preventing the evolution of proper standards in handling data and applications. This means moving your data and applications painlessly between different CSPs is still an elusive dream. Without sufficient standards, many enterprises are loathe to invest a lot of money in innovation and integration when it comes to the cloud.

Data lock-in

In an earlier article I covered how retrieving data and moving to another provider can be a non-trivial issue on the cloud. The fragmentation and lack of standards work together here. Given how critical data is for your organization’s survival, it is important to implement proper policies in order to make sure your data is not locked-in.

Security threats

Cloud computing puts your critical enterprise data and that of your users on the public Internet. There is a significant probability that this data could fall in the hands of malicious hackers. This is a concern that is inhibiting the adoption of cloud computing in sectors such as healthcare and finance. With the adoption of proper practices, it is possible to have as high security on the public cloud as is possible on an in-house server installation. However, the attack surface is still high on a public cloud, and the public perception of a lack of security is still a threat to cloud adoption.

Service outages

In February, Microsoft Azure faced a massive service outage that affected thousands of enterprises. Its competitors—Amazon and Google—have also faced massive service downtime issues in the recent past. Cloud computing technologies are still maturing, and CSPs are working hard to prevent such massive failures. However, we can expect serious outages to be a frequent scourge for some time to come.

By Balaji Viswanathan

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