There are many people out there who avoid the cloud like the plague. Because it is still a relatively new technology, there are some individuals who are wary of adopting it at this point in time. But according to E-Commerce Times contributor Jeff Kagan, those sentiments are beginning to give way as a greater understanding of the cloud comes into public knowledge.
"The cloud may seem confusing, but as we become more comfortable with it, it will make more sense," he wrote. "The good news is, you don't have to jump in yet. Those who want to already are experiencing both the wonder and the problems. The cloud will only get better as time passes. Most are still holding back, but mark my words, you will be a cloud customer some day. In fact, you may already be one."
This is especially true of businesses. While there are companies out there who have firm stances against cloud use, chances are that their employees are already leveraging their private cloud services with enterprise information. But in order to truly experience the power of the cloud, organizations need to take the initiative toward integrating an infrastructure of their own. By doing so, there will be much more control over how these servers are used and a greatly reduced chance of sensitive information being compromised.
Security a major concern of consumer cloud use
One of the biggest problems with employees using various clouds around the office comes in the form of data loss. Public cloud architectures may be good for holding on to a couple of MP3s or an album of family photos, but the unfortunate truth of the matter is that staff members are often unaware of where their files are ending up. According to Kagan, there can be major discrepancies between cloud services – some are very well protected, while others lack the server segregation and defenses that are inherently required of them.
This is alarming, considering that there is a large segment of enterprises that allow free, open use of consumer-grade cloud tools. According to a survey headed up by security company Sophos, 46 percent of businesses let their staff members use whatever cloud service they choose, while 38 percent elect to block certain providers. The remaining 15 percent either forbid all cloud use or are unaware of employee cloud habits.
But the answer to the enterprise cloud debate is not to hand the reins over to workers, nor is it to cut off all cloud access. Companies need to evaluate their options to determine what style of infrastructure is right for them. More often than not, they are going to find that the proper solution lies in private hosting.
Private clouds most appropriate for enterprise
While it may seem like companies only have two options for cloud in public hosting or onsite upkeep, there are more viable routes that can be taken. Private hosting architectures have all of the same advantages that public servers have but without the security concerns that come with them. Because these servers are dedicated to specific companies, the need to plan for periods of high usage and information breaches diminishes significantly.
According to a recent TechTarget white paper, organizations that are looking for effective cloud solutions need to consider the security and functionality of their potential options.
"In a public cloud, sensitive applications and IT are exposed to certain risks related to data recoverability, data isolation and data destruction," the report states. "In addition, users are responsible for setting and controlling the appropriate security settings, and since it is often application managers or line-of-business users turning to outside service providers, there is greater exposure to risk because these users may not be familiar with how to properly set up, administer and manage those settings."
This is essentially what all companies need to remember. The consumerization of IT has given members of the workforce the ability to perform many basic computer operations without the knowledge to understand what they are really doing. Some workers may feel that they are circumventing unnecessary barriers to productivity when they turn to services like Dropbox or Google Drive, but in reality, they are breaching data by sending it out to servers of which they have no understanding.
Cloud solutions are meant to be tailor-made
No two businesses are alike. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all guide to cloud deployment. All companies are going to leverage the cloud in different ways, and as such, they must individually take stock of how this technology can be best implemented.
Before taking an all-out plunge into the cloud, TechTarget wrote that "organizations should build out their business cases. They need to do their homework to understand where operational costs exist and how they'll be challenged to meet service levels and business demands."
It is increasingly being realized that private hosting is the only way to ensure enterprise class cloud computing. Electing to go a different route can endanger an entire business.