Debunking Cloud and Cloud Migration Myths

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Read more about author Arri Rucker.

Many companies hesitate to migrate to the cloud for a variety of valid reasons. However, these migration concerns are often based on misconceptions that keep companies from realizing the financial and operational benefits of the cloud. 

The following blog post addresses some of the myths around the public cloud, including cost control obstacles, compliance shortfalls, security risks, and more. It will also offer insight into determining if the cloud is a fit for your project and guidance to ensure your trip to the cloud – if you choose to take it – is as easy and cost-effective as possible. 

Myth #1: On-premises infrastructure is more secure than the cloud

The belief that on-premises infrastructure is inherently more secure than cloud solutions is rooted in traditional thinking. While concerns about data security are valid, it is important to recognize that cloud providers often offer equal, if not superior, security controls. In the cloud, many of the security technologies that would otherwise need to be purchased, provisioned and managed independently are already integrated into the services provided.

Additionally, the cloud offers flexibility to implement extra security measures tailored to specific business needs. It is also crucial to note that cloud providers are subject to the same data security regulations as on-premises data storage. Essentially, the cloud offers comparable security controls to an on-premises data center, but with the added advantage of not having to directly manage and staff the teams that support these security systems. This often makes the cloud a more efficient and secure choice for many organizations.

Myth #2: Cloud costs are unstable and always higher than on-premises

This is a prevalent concern among decision-makers, and while it is true that cloud costs can spiral if not carefully managed, this perspective often misses the bigger picture. On-premises solutions, though seemingly stable, come with their own set of inefficiencies and inflexibilities, particularly when adapting to changing business needs.

The cloud, by contrast, offers the agility to scale resources in line with actual usage, meaning you only pay for what you need. This is a significant advantage in scenarios like an e-commerce business during high-demand periods, where the ability to efficiently scale is crucial. Additionally, cloud providers offer robust tools for cost management and optimization, helping businesses maintain predictable costs while enjoying the flexibility to swiftly adapt to market changes. This balance of cost-effectiveness and adaptability often makes the cloud a more viable option compared to on-premises infrastructure.

Myth #3: It’s impossible to be compliant with regulations in the cloud

This myth doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Compliance programs typically focus on two areas: business operations and infrastructure management, including data security. These controls are achievable whether you’re using on-premises hardware or cloud-based infrastructure. While there may be unique cases with vendor-specific requirements that exceed a cloud vendor’s offerings, these are exceptions rather than the rule.

In fact, cloud environments often make it easier to meet regulatory standards. Most cloud providers are already compliant with numerous regulatory standards (up to 143 in some cases) and offer advanced security tools. This compliance framework allows companies to concentrate on aligning their workloads and practices with specific regulations like PCI DSS, HIPAA and GDPR, ensuring data security, privacy, and residency are adequately addressed.

Moreover, the availability of sovereign cloud solutions helps meet local regulatory requirements in different countries, further easing the compliance burden for organizations operating globally.

Myth #4: The cloud has significantly more latency than on-prem solutions

This myth oversimplifies reality. Cloud providers offer low-latency networking, with data centers and zones designed for high availability and fault tolerance. Latency within these zones is often minimal, and even for multiregional workloads, is usually under 100 milliseconds.

Additionally, the global infrastructure of cloud networks can help in reducing end-user latency. With multiple points of presence worldwide, users can connect to a nearby cloud network, potentially achieving latency that is on par with or better than on-premises solutions.

Myth #5: Cloud migration is lengthy and expensive and must happen all at once

The belief that cloud migration is always a prolonged and expensive endeavor is misleading. The key factor influencing the migration’s duration and cost is the complexity of the existing workloads. Simpler workloads can transition more swiftly, while more complex systems may require a more nuanced approach.

There are various migration strategies available, ranging from a straightforward “lift-and-shift” of existing applications to the cloud, to a more gradual “migrate-to-modernize” approach. This latter strategy involves incrementally adopting cloud-native technologies, allowing for a smoother transition and optimization of workloads during the migration process. By choosing the right strategy based on workload complexity and business needs, organizations can effectively manage resources and minimize disruption, making the migration process more efficient and cost-effective.

Tips for Success

When considering a cloud strategy, it is essential to focus on several key aspects for optimal performance and efficiency. First, agility is a significant advantage of cloud services, offering the ability to scale quickly across different geographies. This is particularly beneficial for businesses that need to adapt rapidly to market changes. Additionally, the elasticity of the cloud allows for dynamic scaling of resources, which is a stark contrast to the limitations and extensive planning required with on-premises solutions.

Another critical factor is the broad range of features and functionality that cloud platforms provide. They offer a diverse array of services and compute options, tailored to suit any workload. This diversity significantly reduces the need for undifferentiated heavy lifting on your part. Furthermore, cloud platforms excel in global reach, ensuring that services are accessible wherever a business expands, which is a crucial consideration for companies with a global footprint.

Sustainability is also a key aspect of cloud platforms. Many providers prioritize environmentally friendly practices, which can align with and enhance a company’s sustainability goals. It is even possible to run carbon-neutral workloads. In terms of management, cloud solutions offer Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and other managed services, which significantly reduce the need for extensive in-house management. This shift allows businesses to focus more on core activities that differentiate it in the market.

Modernizing workloads to be cloud-native is an important step beyond mere migration. This modernization allows for more efficient cost control, improved agility and better support for compliance, backup and disaster recovery. Finally, a blended approach to expertise is beneficial. Maintaining an internal team that is well-versed in your technology stack for direct cloud workload management, while also collaborating with a cloud partner for deeper expertise, ensures effective management and strategic adaptability. It is crucial to choose cloud partners that enable you to manage and understand implementations comprehensively, helping avoid technical debt and ensuring long-term maintainability of your cloud infrastructure.