Cloud Computing Vendors
The race is on for many companies to get to the cloud. In recent years, businesses of all shapes and sizes have seen the potential advantages that cloud computing vendors have to offer and decided that they’d like in on it as well. Whereas years ago the question was usually, “What is cloud computing?”, today the question is more like, “What can cloud computing do for my business?”
The answer to that is “a lot,” but the benefits might be a little further off than some organizations had in mind. Before taking advantage of cloud computing, businesses will first have to move there, and that in itself is fraught with obstacles and challenges. The following are just several of those challenges businesses will have to overcome to get the most out of the cloud.
1. Integrating Established Systems
One of the biggest challenges companies will have to face is how best to integrate their legacy systems into the cloud. This is especially true for those businesses that have been around for a long time. Their systems and networks are used to a certain way of doing things, and any disruption to that could cause problems. For example, business applications could be developed and delivered in a specific way, but moving such items to the cloud represents a major change.
Some companies have solved this problem by only moving a portion of their operations and applications to the cloud, but they still need to find ways to integrate their systems with new cloud services to make the transition as smooth as possible.
2. Changing the Company Culture
This challenge is similar to the previous one, only it pertains mostly to the employees. When keeping systems on-premise, workers will likely get used to the basic practices of things like deploying applications, data storage, and network security. Moving to the cloud requires whole new rules, guidelines, and procedures to the company, and any business leader will say that company cultural changes require time and patience to establish firmly. Businesses will also need to set out new rules about who is in control of the services delivered over the cloud and how to answer questions about authorization.
3. Choosing the Right Cloud Vendor
The dilemma over choosing the cloud vendor that’s right for the company is likely one that keeps business leaders up at night. There are many providers to choose from, and each come with their unique services and insights. Executives need to find the provider that has the products and expertise that perfectly complement their business. That requires going beyond simply finding the best provided software and instead developing a strong relationship with the cloud vendor. Since this is a partnership, businesses will want to have for many years to come, they have to find one that’s the best fit. Equally important is finding a vendor with the right pricing plan, which might be a fixed or variable cost, depending on the business’s needs.
4. Avoiding Vendor Lock-In
Another item businesses should watch out for is vendor lock-in, which is essentially where a company cannot easily switch from one cloud provider to a competitor. This can happen in a number of ways, the most serious being when a business has signed a contract with a provider they can’t get out of or one that imposes penalties if such a switch were attempted. Vendor lock-in is one of the main reasons businesses are reluctant to move to the cloud, but it can be avoided in a number of ways. Companies should always look at each contract carefully, especially the fine print. They should also ask each prospective vendor if they have data migration tools that help businesses move their data.
5. Improving Cloud Security
Many companies are uneasy about moving to the cloud since that means taking data and putting it into the hands of a third party. If a vendor lacks sufficient security measures, that means the company’s data could be put at risk. Alleviating these concerns usually comes down to, once again, picking the right provider, so when making a decision, businesses should ask what security features a vendor has at hand. Those measures should include anti-virus software, malware protection, and data encryption, among many others. While security might be considered the responsibility of the cloud provider, businesses should still make it their concern and have experts on staff to handle any security requirements on their end while also evaluating the provider.
By Rick Delgado