"Since its inception, cloud computing has reliably provoked a dazzling array of questions, such as “When is the best time to switch to cloud computing?”, “Do I want a public or private cloud?” and “Isn’t the cloud just outsourcing with a sillier name?” Even as the technology matures, it still creates confusion for potential and current consumers, and the longer questions linger, the murkier the market becomes. While there is no end in sight to the growth of the cloud for the foreseeable future, the prolonged existence of some of the common misconceptions and outright myths will only serve to hamper the technology’s march toward universal use. Examining some of the most persistent cloud illusions and fallacies can help organizations ensure they’re working with the right information.
Myth: The Cloud is a Physical Place
It’s hard for a phenomenon that takes its name from the conceptual qualities of a physical entity to avoid also being saddled with thoughts of tangibility. While data centers are physical places, and host cloud computing services, they are not clouds. It’s also difficult to divorce physical infrastructure from metaphysical architecture when people are accustomed to thinking in terms of hardware. Some of the cloud’s selling points haven’t necessarily helped in that regard, as cloud providers promise to reduce onsite IT hardware, servers and other data management needs. The cloud’s strength lies in its capacity to transcend the physical boundaries of space and the limitations of hardware to exist in multiple places at once.
Myth: The Cloud is Not Safe
This misconception is one of the harder ones to put to rest. Transitional tech periods are notorious for giving rise to safety concerns, and the amount of network, IT and data support needed today make such demand for protection virtually unprecedented. Security issues also come with the territory since, as InformationWeek contributor Charles Babcock pointed out, logging onto a cloud via a virtual private network causes the same inherent risks that Internet connections pose to their users. Because the cloud offers multiple layers of adaptable security features, such as data encryption that can be controlled by either organization IT departments or the cloud service provider, it ultimately provides the highest degree of safety in an environment where digital security is not an infallible science.
Myth: The Cloud Doesn’t Comply With [Insert Compliance Standard Here]
In the wake of public data breaches and embarrassing financial and social fallout, many industries have tightened the rules governing data protection and usage. This can create problems for companies in stricter sectors such as healthcare, financial services and government, but one errant belief is that cloud service providers are unable to offer sufficient support for standards compliance. In the cloud’s less adaptable days this may have rung true, but many of today’s cloud providers prioritize standards compliance, whether it’s to corner a particular industry market or highlight their commitment to data security in these anxiety-riddled times, wrote ZDNet contributor Ian JA Ferguson. This includes HIPAA for healthcare, SSAE16 for financial firms and PCI for credit card transactions.
The cloud is not perfect. There are many disparities between service providers that can make all the difference between an optimal investment and a middling one. Organizations should identify their most pressing needs, whether it’s better IT management, more reliabledisaster recovery services or agile server usage, and work with a provider to make sure all of their concerns are addressed."