5 Challenges in the Journey to the Cloud
On my blog, I have already said that Cloud Computing is a Safe Bet for the Future, defining and showing us the shape of things to come for the IT industry. I have discussed about advantages and disadvantages, about the hows, the whens and the whys, about dos and don’ts. And, in my opinion, sooner or later, most businesses will start their migration to the cloud and like any epic journey it is not without challenges.
I believe these are the most common challenges in the journey to the cloud:
- Lack of knowledge and understanding is the first obstacle to be conquered. Although cloud computing is on everyone’s mind and sometimes it feels like there is an overabundance of information on the topic, this does not translate into a proper understanding of the issue. There are many misunderstandings about what the cloud can and cannot do, about the differences between services, confusions about choices, like public, private or hybrid cloud. Presenting actual examples and case studies of completed work, relevant to businesses, would help improve knowledge and understanding. Learning from people that have actually been through these migrations is also helpful.
- Fear is another challenge to be overcome. First, the fear of the unknown and mistrust in new technologies that may have not been tested enough, and it is the cloud computing industry’s responsibility to educate the market. Secondly, there are fears related to security issues and the loss of control over data and systems.
- Security is probably the biggest issue. Will my data be secure? Who will have access to it? Where will it be stored? Is the data well protected in case the system is attacked? These are questions being asked, and beside technical provisions there are also legal and compliance issued to be solved. Policies and contracts are very important here and businesses are advised to look through them carefully.
- Standards are a challenge in the sense that there are no universally recognized standards, which does not help with the trust issues, but also the standardization process in itself is very complex. In my article Cloud Computing Standards – is it time? I have discussed how standardization would help the industry.
- Reliability and availability are the problems most present in the news, when a service is down it gets attention from the media. And I think in this respect it is important to have a pragmatic approach and put things in perspective. Applications can fail, whether they are hosted in the cloud, managed by a third party provider or in-house. And although the problems have been widely reported, most of the time the cloud has proved extremely reliable. But it is important to have a SLA with your provider in place, with clearly stated consequences in case something does go wrong.
- Integration and Migration are complex issues, but the IT industry is rising to the challenge and the process can be properly managed. And although the migration and integration process may be complicated, the end result will be easy to manage IT resources so in the long term it becomes easier and not more difficult.
I have chosen here what I believe are the 5 key challenges on the road to cloud computing and they may seem formidable, but solutions exist for each of them. In previous posts I have discussed in detail an actual cloud computing implementation and how various challenges were overcome. And I think we need to remember that nothing worth doing is not without challenges and the benefits are definitely worth it.
By Rick Blaisdell