The 3 biggest cloud computing risks for businesses

…and how they’re being addressed by major cloud computing providers

Adopting and adapting to any new technology incurs some form of risk, there’s simply no way of avoiding it. Does this mean that we should cower in the corner, our momentum frozen in total disillusionment? We have to move forward, that’s the way the world of business and nature works; but we should also be mindful of our risks while doing so.  

Cloud computing is an amazing technology which is poised to soon change the world in ways which we can only imagine, yet it’s far from perfect. However, with each sunrise you can rest assured that solutions for the problems facing cloud computing (en masse) are being dealt with. Today’s top tech companies are devoting quite a lot of time, money and energy toward solving the most pertinent cloud computing risks and liabilities. But enough about that, let’s take a look at what the major risks are for businesses looking to adopt cloud computing.

#1 – Security, Security, Security…
The most visible and scrutinized risk associated with cloud computing continues to be security. Despite all the data which clearly suggests that cloud computing is at the very least, as secure as traditional IT, some people seem to be obsessed with the idea that cloud computing is somehow insecure. It could be argued that the only thing preventing more widespread cloud transition is the hype and fear surrounding security in the cloud.

The truth is that cloud computing is more or less as secure as any traditional IT computing / networking model. It should be noted that most major cloud providers are in fact developing new tools for combating malicious attacks and preventing security breaches. Likewise, the nature and design of cloud infrastructure makes it much easier to perform forensic investigations following a security event. As the tools and technologies associated with cloud security logging increases in power and scope, it is entirely foreseeable that criminals will become less inclined to engage in illegal activities.

#2 – Integration, Compliance & Compatibility
Cloud computing functionality is at risk because of a complete lack of definitive standardization. In truth, standardization could render all of the risks associated with integration, compliance and compatibility obsolete. As newer services and apps are released, effort has to be put forth toward integrating these components into an existing infrastructure. While technicians are focused on trying to integrate a new, extremely useful service into their cloud computing setup, additionally compatibility issues may crop up. For instance, integrating an app into a cloud doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will work in tandem with other, older apps and services. If a company is very dependent on some form of enterprise, or legacy software / application to do their business, new additions will probably have to be adapted (and not the other way around).  

Any situation whereupon the functionality of vital business-facilitating software is challenged by the addition of new components is a significant risk. As previously mentioned, standardization is the ultimate fix for these types of issues, but some organizations right now are leveraging hybrid clouds to accomplish more seamless integration.

Compliance issues are also of some concern as data in a cloud isn’t always confined to one area, locality or country. When an organization’s cloud extends across several different nations, there may even be legal issues to contend with (as certain types of data and sensitive information may supersede the given laws or doctrines of that principality). Additionally, if there is a security breach and consequent investigation, a lack of a compliance agreement may prevent a business from obtaining the evidence needed to track down or prosecute those who trespassed against them.

#3 – Management & Accessibility
Some of the top cloud providers are able to provide completely managed services for their clients. Many of these same vendors also often claim to be able to offer uninterrupted high-bandwidth service, which is vital to the ongoing success of many businesses. But what about situations where it’s unclear who is responsible for managing what and accessibility is questionable? Before your organization begins using any cloud computing service it’s important to closely evaluate (or create) your SLA (service level agreement).

If your data is not actually controlled or managed directly by your IT department, you need to ensure that you have a direct line of communication (which is always open) with those who do. Additionally, your service provider must have contingencies in place to deal with all manner of bandwidth and service availability issues. DDOS attacks are becoming increasingly common in cloud computing circles and a quality, forward-thinking cloud provider will have plans in place to ensure your data and service is secure. For those organizations which aren’t utilizing a fully managed cloud service, it is imperative that they have qualified personnel on hand who are trained and/or certified in cloud computing.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained
While there are certain risks associated with cloud computing, you shouldn’t let them deter you or your organization(s) from taking advantage of what the cloud has to offer. Businesses all across the globe are rushing to adapt and adopt cloud computing. This escalating cloud frenzy will also increase competition (from a technological standpoint) for many markets and industries as well. In other words, if you want to win, you need to join the game.

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