For small business owners who have long relied on traditional data servers without issue, switching to the cloud can seem like an unnecessary risk. After all, the imagery evoked — a fluffy, floating entity far from your control —doesn’t exactly scream security.
Truth be told, the vast majority of concerns about cloud computing are groundless; like most every revolutionary technology, it’s weighed down by a lot of misconceptions.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Adam Savage and the Myth Busters team over to tackle cloud computing’s naysayers, but we’ll do our best to debunk the 5 biggest myths about cloud computing:
1. Cloud Computing Is a Fad
Do you know anyone who uses Gmail, iTunes, Amazon, eBay, discount travel sites or online banking? Of course you do. People already rely on cloud computing for the most important tasks in their day-to-day lives without a second thought. It will only become a bigger and bigger part of our lives in the years ahead. Cloud computing is The Beatles of modern technology, not 98 Degrees.
2. Cloud Computing Is Only Trustworthy for Consumers
The corporate world relies on the cloud just as much as consumers do. Thousands of companies use Salesforce to track and analyze their sales and marketing data via the cloud, and 85% of Fortune 500 companies collaborate on confidential projects via Yammer, an internal social network service that stores data in the cloud.
3. The Cloud Is More Risky Than Traditional Infrastructure
You might think that the word “cloud” denotes that your data and files are just floating around … somewhere. But while it’s not foolproof, it’s actually a very safe place for your data. Data is typically lost when an organization loses control over it, including how it’s stored, how it’s shared, how it’s secured and what its end users do with it. The cloud gives you back that control, from data center to delivery to endpoint.
Service outages can and do happen. In late June, the popular mobile photo-sharing service Instagram experienced a major outage after a storm knocked Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers in Northern Virginia offline. A separate AWS outage earlier in the month took down Heroku, Pinterest, Quora and HootSuite. While it’s easy to look at these instances and walk away with the impression that the cloud is unreliable, that isn’t necessarily true.
All in all, the cloud is usually more reliable than other hosted offerings. The problem is that for businesses that build all of their infrastructure on one cloud — or concentrate it in one location — downtime can be more problematic. The best thing business owners can do is look at having a backup strategy, just in case an outage occurs. That can mean having servers and load balances in separate locations or cloning or backing up data to separate services.
4. Cloud Computing Is More Expensive
Switching to the cloud may saddle you with moderate upfront costs, but in the long run, it will save you a whole lot of money. Cloud computing reduces IT management costs, since that task is outsourced to the cloud provider. Eschewing cloud computing is like hiring someone to grow and grind coffee beans for your office when you could just stop by Whole Foods.
5. You Can’t Beef Up Security on the Cloud
Though cloud storage providers offer a basic level of security, it’s important to bolster your security just as you would with traditional infrastructure. You can use behavior-based key management servers and encryption key management to give your files an extra layer of protection.
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