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BLOG: The myths of cloud computing

Andrew Milroy | Nov. 21, 2011
Unveiling the truths surrounding these myths.

Today, cloud computing is becoming mainstream. In Asia Pacific, about two-thirds of organisations expect to increase their spending on cloud computing over the next year.

Clearly, decision makers in most Asian organisations recognise the benefits of cloud computing, which are manifold. These benefits include the ability to offer greater business agility, cost reduction and a switch in IT spending from capital investment to operational expenditure. Basically, cloud computing is becoming critical as a means of gaining a competitive advantage for today's organisations. It is now a strategic issue.

Nevertheless, adoption of cloud computing, in particular public cloud computing, is being hindered by several myths. The most common myths are as follows:

  • Cloud computing is less secure than on-premise alternatives.
  • Cloud computing is only suitable for consumers and smaller organisations. It is not suitable for enterprises.
  • Cloud computing is not suitable for mission critical activities.
  • Private clouds offer the benefits of cloud computing without the drawbacks.

Myth #1 - Cloud computing is less secure than on-premise alternatives

Currently, there is no evidence to show that cloud computing is less secure than on-premise alternatives.

In fact, there are strong arguments to suggest the opposite. Cloud computing is, in many ways, inherently more secure than on-premise alternatives. Most security breaches are caused by human error. In cloud computing, more activities are automated, reducing the possibility of human error. Additionally, on-premise systems are usually distributed by nature and therefore have more points of vulnerability. Cloud architectures are more centralised and have fewer points of vulnerability.

Cloud service providers also tend to focus, to a greater extent on security, than most individual organisations. Security breaches, for them, destroy their entire businesses and their credibility as service providers.

Major security breaches in recent years have had nothing to do with cloud computing. Sony and US DoD, the UK government and others had major security breaches as a result of human error and poor process control. It is much easier to manage these two factors in cloud environments than in on-premise ones.

Myth #2 - Cloud computing is only suitable for consumers and smaller businesses

Clearly this statement is not correct as there are many examples of larger organisations using both private clouds and public cloud services. Typically, it is public cloud services that are perceived to be unsuitable for enterprise use.

The best known example of a company that runs on the public cloud is Netflix and it is a US$2 billion organisation. The bulk of its operations are run on Amazon EC2. In Asia Pacific, even major financial services firms use public cloud services. For example, BankWest, a subsidiary of Commonwealth bank, uses SuccessFactors. Salesforce.com is widely used in enterprises as is Netsuite and Concur.

 

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