Many people in IT take what the tech analyst firm Gartner has to say about anything very seriously. As a technologist, I am no different. Recently, Gartner put together a short one-hour presentation on their “Top 10 Cloud Myths.” I had to tune in.
While I agreed with all of Gartners top 10 cloud myths outlined, a few of them jumped out at me as more important than others. That’s because they are not only myths that customers have and still struggle with, but also ones with which I have some real-life experience.
Before we dig in, I think it is important for us to understand what Gartner really means when they say cloud. As Gartner defines it, “Cloud is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as-a-service to consumers using Internet technologies.” This is extremely important to our efforts of getting over some of those cloud myths.
Gartner suggests that we stop calling everything cloud and call things what they are. Compute is compute and collaboration is collaboration, regardless where the resources that make up the solutions live. I cannot agree more with this view and I hope as we dig into some of the myths, you will understand why. Before implementing a “cloud solution,” we should have a business conversation about what we are actually trying to solve. Then, let the conversation lead us to the type of solution that fits best.
With that, let’s dig into some of the myths.
Myth 1: Public Cloud Saves Money
The number one reason why organizations are moving to the cloud is for agility. As an entity moves more workloads to the cloud, the cloud can naturally become expensive. Does the benefit of agility outweigh the cost?
When speaking to customers, I like to have a financial conversation. I want to determine what is important to them. Will agility give the business the desired speed to market to achieve their objectives, ultimately making the cost of IT less of a concern? Is the organization in acquisition mode, making elongated IT implementations or roll outs an unviable option? Lastly, my favorite, what does it cost the business to continue to maintain server hardware? Or more impactful, what time is spent on patching and updating that could be spent on projects that move the business forward?
The answers to these questions could indeed make our first Gartner myth true or debunk it right out of the gate. The point here is if a cloud move is about finances, let’s look at it from all angles.
Myth 3: Cloud Should Be Used for Everything
If you have not yet figured it out, I am a “cloud guy.” I would, however, be foolish not to admit that every workload is different. I will sit here and argue all day long that it is POSSIBLE to run just about anything in the cloud. But let’s be honest, not every workload will be at its best there. Some workloads are compliance heavy or legacy applications which can be difficult to move anywhere and some applications are best accessed when the users are close to the infrastructure the application sits on.
Myth 4: “The CEO Said So” Is a Cloud Strategy
This is one of my favorite Gartner myths as it relates to my experiences with not only customers, but also vendors that I train on cloud. Cloud strategies should align with business objectives. If I hear a customer quote this myth, I ask them what went into the planning or what drove the CEO to come to a cloud strategy. What are we trying to solve?
If I hear a vendor quote this myth, I challenge them to ask better questions or make it clear to them that they do not have the contacts within their customer’s account that are close enough to the development of business strategies.
Myth 6: Cloud is Less Secure than On-premises Capabilities (and its counter myth, Cloud is More Secure)
The cloud is often more secure, but the risks are different. It all depends on who the organization is, who the provider is and the actual workload being migrated to the cloud. The better cloud providers often have security teams larger than their customers’ entire organization and have taken the steps to optimize their security processes to the cloud.
To counter, we have to remember that NOT all cloud providers are created equal. “Joe’s Cloud Server Company,” headquartered in Joe’s garage, is probably not the most secure cloud. Okay, maybe that example is a little extreme, but you get it.
When I worked for a cloud provider, I always tried to make the point that a customer needs to do their research. Security protocols, processes and certifications should always be part of the initial conversations when evaluating any cloud provider’s solution. It is important to learn who is responsible for what security. For example, the provider is responsible for this and that, but the customer is responsible for this and that. Responsibilities should be clear from the beginning.
These 4 myths have a common theme. That common theme is to really dig in and ask “why and what?” Why cloud? What will it bring our organization? What issues will it solve? Will it ultimately make it easier for our organization to conduct business?
If you take anything away from this post, I would say, PLAN. Make sure you are providing a solution for something and have a clear plan on how the responsibilities are divided up amongst your organization and the provider.
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