Cloud computing represents a fascinating new digital frontier, and many companies are rushing to take advantage of the convenience that it provides. The cloud offers a level of interconnectedness that was never possible in the past, and businesses can leverage those benefits in all sorts of ways. However, new technology often comes with new risks and challenges, and this is no exception. In order to help you avoid those risks and challenges, we offer our list of the most common cloud computing mistakes and how to deal with them.
Mistake #1: Not Thinking About Compatibility Issues
Chances are, your company network uses a large number of different apps and programs. If you have some competent IT people, they have probably gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that all of these apps are working within your current infrastructure. Once you add the cloud to that infrastructure, that carefully-created house of cards can end up crashing to the ground.
This problem sometimes results from the use of a substandard cloud provider. As they say, “you get what you pay for,” and this is definitely the case when it comes to cloud computing. The better cloud companies will be able to work with a wider variety of apps and produce smoother results for you and yours.
Mistake #2: Not Sizing The Network Appropriately
One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is its easy scalability. It is equally well-suited for both large and small applications, but you do need to make sure that you get a plan that meets your needs without exceeding them too much. The size of that network can be measured in terms of bandwidth, so that’s where your negotiations should be focused.
Bandwidth will greatly affect the speed and efficiency of your network. If you go with a solution that is too small, you will find yourself dealing with a lot of latency (the technical term for lag). On the other hand, if you get a plan that is too large, you are just going to end up wasting money. We would recommend going a little bigger than your needs, but only slightly. That way, you still have a little room to grow before you need to renegotiate your entire plan.
Mistake #3: Assuming That Cloud Security Is Always Better
Not all cloud plans are of the high-security type. Because of the relatively open nature of the cloud, good security is very important, but your cloud provider might not necessarily explain things to you in this regard. They will always claim to have excellent security, but this might not apply to all plans and contracts.
When setting up your cloud account, it is a good idea to ask about the specific security measures that will be provided. You want things like network monitoring, disaster recovery, encryptions of all types, and good on-site server security. If your cloud provider is not offering these things, you either need a different plan or a different company. The cloud can actually be less secure than normal computing if you don’t go for a high-security plan.
Mistake #4: Not Getting An SLA
An SLA (service-level agreement) is quite possibly the most important thing that you will do when setting up your cloud account. This is just a written agreement in which the duties and obligations of both parties are laid out plainly. If you find yourself in a situation where you aren’t happy with your cloud provider, that SLA is going to be your best friend, as it represents the only real guarantee in this industry.
In particular, you need to look at the uptime and downtime portions of the contract. These will determine how much network downtime is acceptable before your provider becomes liable. “uptime” simply refers to the total amount of time at which the cloud is up and running. Your contract should stipulate more than 95% of uptime, just because untimely outages can be so very expensive.
Mistake #5: Not Getting The Backup Feature
Most cloud providers offer a wide range of services that go along with cloud usage. If your company is on a tight budget, it might be tempting to forego all of these options, but you should not do so. Even if you reject all the other extras, you definitely need a plan that includes managed cloud backup.
A lot of malware attacks involve deliberate damage to your data. Ransomware attacks are the worst of these, but even the more traditional hacking methods can corrupt data and render it unusable. When that happens, you will be completely out of luck unless you have some recent backups. Although you will still experience downtime and lost revenue as you rebuild your system from those backups, the damage will be greatly lessened.
Mistake #6: Getting Locked Into A Contract
When you are dealing with a substandard cloud provider, they may use certain “dirty tricks” in order to keep your business. This practice, which is referred to as “locking in,” involves using proprietary measures to make the customer dependent on the cloud provider. This is done by using software and hardware that is tailored for the cloud provider’s network, and no other. That means you cannot switch providers without restructuring your entire IT setup, and that can cost a lot of money.
You should always look for these “lock-in” clauses in any contract that you sign, and they should be considered to be an automatic deal-breaker. After all, a reputable company wouldn’t have to resort to such dirty tricks, now would they?
As with any new technology, there is a significant amount of confusion among the public about cloud computing. Of course, it will become better understood as time goes on, but only if people take the time to educate themselves and others. We hope that this article will help you to avoid these classic pitfalls and that you will be able to deploy the cloud safely and efficiently. If you would like to know more, contact PCH Technologies at 856) 754-7500.