A decade ago, business leaders whispered about the cloud as though it were some exceedingly powerful futuristic technology that would revolutionize business — and they were right. Yet, in 2021, plenty of organizations still aren’t using the cloud to its fullest potential, and they only have themselves to blame.
Concerns about the costs of migrating and maintaining the cloud as well as fears surrounding cloud security are the primary obstacles preventing business leaders from diving their data into the cloud’s deep end. Fortunately, these issues are relatively easy for organizations to overcome — as long as they know how.
Businesses incur high costs to avoid the cloud. Accumulating the right hardware and software as well as the right IT staff to perform maintenance and upgrades isn’t cheap, which is why so many businesses opt for cloud computing solutions.
Still, the cloud isn’t free. Business cloud costs can vary widely depending on the business’s scope, which can make comparing costs — and cutting costs — exceedingly difficult. Good estimates suggest that businesses looking for simple cloud backups could spend a few thousand dollars per month; a fully hosted network costs between $100 and $200 per desktop; and colocation, or utilizing private servers in the cloud, usually costs about $400 per server. It makes sense that business leaders might balk at the wide range in these numbers and decide against trying to fit them into their budgets.
Fortunately, there are ways to accurately predict and radically reduce costs associated with cloud computing. First, business leaders should identify their exact cloud computing needs and consult with cloud experts to find solutions that address those needs. Regularly auditing the business’s existing cloud solutions and searching for options that fit better are the best methods for controlling cost. Additionally, businesses can reduce cloud-related expenses by:
- Automating. Cloud automation helps streamline the installation, configuration and management of computing services like backup, storage and compliance. This helps to reduce the manual labor required for the cloud, cutting costs.
- Scheduling. Some cloud services are more expensive during certain times of the day or week. By scheduling services to occur outside those windows, businesses can find practical savings. What’s more, businesses can identify services that only need to run for specific periods instead of all the time.
- Reviewing. Over time, some cloud services will become outdated and unused. Finding these services and ceasing them before they drain too many resources will keep cloud costs low.
Security should be a primary concern for every business — even if they use the cloud. Many businesses aren’t well equipped to keep their data safe outside the cloud, and the robust security inherent to the cloud makes cloud computing more attractive. Still, there are continuous threats to the cloud, and that businesses have less control over servers and security makes many business leaders hesitant to take full advantage of cloud solutions.
Unfortunately, most security threats to the cloud are the result of human error, as opposed to cloud vulnerability. Thus, businesses can eliminate a significant portion of their concern by educating their workforce and expecting proper cyber hygiene from their employees. Businesses should have clear guidelines for using the cloud safely, so workers avoid behaviors that put cloud systems at risk.
A few simple cloud security measures go a long way toward eliminating other potential vulnerabilities in cloud computing. Businesses can work with cloud providers and IT teams to backup their cloud, control access to the cloud and encrypt the cloud. Each of these solutions makes it more difficult for bad actors to infiltrate and wreak havoc.
Additionally, businesses should consistently test their cloud security. At least once per year, businesses can conduct a penetration test, which mimics a real attack on their computing systems. Tests should reveal weaknesses in security and provide insights into how to make the cloud essentially impenetrable.
These days, no one is whispering about the cloud. Instead, tech experts are shouting about how modern business wouldn’t exist without cloud computing options. The sooner business leaders overcome their reservations regarding cost and security, the sooner businesses can grow and succeed like never before.