Cloud computing has benefited many enterprises by reducing costs and enabling a focus on one’s core business competence, rather than IT and infrastructure issues. Despite the general hype on the subject across the IT world, there can be disadvantages to cloud computing, especially in smaller operations.
What is the disadvantage of cloud computing?
Downtime is often cited as one of the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing. Cloud computing is internet-based, if the internet is unavailable the system will also be unavailable. An outage on Amazon Web Services in 2017 cost publicly traded companies up to $150 million dollars. Unfortunately, no organization is immune, especially when critical business processes cannot afford to be interrupted.
Solution for minimizing planned downtime in a cloud environment
-Design services with high availability and disaster recovery in mind. Leverage the multi-availability zones provided by cloud vendors.
-If your services have a low tolerance for failure, consider multi-region deployments with automated failover to ensure the best business continuity possible.
-Define and implement a disaster recovery plan in line with your business objectives that provide the lowest possible recovery time.
2. Security and privacy
Although cloud service providers implement the best security standards and industry certifications, storing data and important files on external service providers always opens up risks. Any discussion involving data must address security and privacy, especially when it comes to managing sensitive data.
Solution for minimizing security and privacy risks
-Understand the shared responsibility model of your cloud provider. You will still be liable for what occurs within your network and in your product.
-Implement security at every level of your deployment.
-Take a risk-based approach to secure assets used in the cloud and extend security to the devices.
3. Vulnerability to attack
In cloud computing, every component is online, which exposes potential vulnerabilities. Even the best teams suffer severe attacks and security breaches from time to time. Since cloud computing is built as a public service, it’s easy to run before you learn to walk. After all, no one at a cloud vendor checks your administration skills before granting you an account.
The solution to helping you reduce cloud attacks
-Make security a core aspect of all IT operations.
-Keep ALL your teams up-to-date with cloud security best practices.
-Ensure security policies and procedures are regularly checked and reviewed.
4. Limited control and flexibility
Cloud users may find they have less control over the function and execution of services within a cloud-hosted infrastructure. A cloud provider’s end-user license agreement (EULA) and management policies might impose limits on what customers can do with their deployments.
Solution for maintaining control and flexibility
-Consider using a cloud provider partner to help with implementing, running, and supporting cloud services.
-Understand your responsibilities and the responsibilities of the cloud vendor in the shared responsibility model to reduce the chance of omission or error.
-Make sure you understand the SLA concerning the infrastructure and services you’re going to use and how that will impact your agreements with your customers.
5. Vendor lock-in
Vendor lock-in is another perceived disadvantage of cloud computing. Easy switching between cloud services is a service that hasn’t yet completely evolved, and organizations may find it difficult to migrate their services from one vendor to another.
The solution to decreasing dependency
-Properly understanding what your vendors are selling to help avoid lock-in challenges.
-Build-in flexibility as a matter of strategy when designing applications to ensure portability now and in the future.
-Build your applications with services that offer cloud-first advantages, such as modularity and portability of microservices and code.
6. Cost concerns
Adopting cloud solutions on a small scale and for short-term projects can be perceived as being expensive. However, the most significant cloud computing benefit is in terms of IT cost savings. Pay-as-you-go cloud services can provide more flexibility and lower hardware costs, but the overall price tag could end up being higher than you expected.
A solution to reduce costs
-Try not to over-provision your services, but rather look into using auto-scaling services.
-Ensure you have the option to scale DOWN as well as UP.
-Automate the process to start/stop your instances to save money when they are not being used.
Many organizations are using cloud computing nowadays. However, as with any infrastructure service, the suitability of cloud computing for your specific use case should be assessed in a risk-based evaluation.
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