This is the second of three blogs where I explore the pros and cons of using cloud for your business.
In last week's post, we discussed how the best ways to reduce costs, provide disaster recovery and provide your business with more flexibility are unlocked in the cloud.
This post will discuss three concerns about the cloud and why it might not be right for your business.
"Data loss, data breaches, unsecure application programming interfaces (APIs) and shared technology in a multitenant environment are just a few of the concerns expressed by respondents tackling the option of using public cloud."
"In addition, recent concerns of government snooping in the name of anti-terrorism and general privacy issues contribute to the lack of public cloud adoption."
- Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner
1. Connectivity - Don't move to Cloud without it
Cloud solutions are not beneficial and, in fact, dangerous if you lack a solid internet connection. The network needs to be as fast as your upload speed, if not more.
If you suffer internet outages, we don't recommend moving your business data to the cloud.
This would include businesses positioned far from the cabinet, businesses that share a network (industrial estates, hubs, etc) and businesses that can’t afford leased lines.
Similarly, an open WiFi connection in a business hub should be a warning sign not to use the cloud - you need a secure connection.
In the cloud, your company data will only be accessible via one line, so the importance of a solid, reliable connection cannot be overstated.
Mobile connectivity by location.
Where is your business based?
Ofcom have said virtually all UK premises must receive a 4G signal by the end of 2017.
Last week (3 May 2017) an OpenSignal study showed the top and bottom 5 UK locations for 4G availability on mobile:
Middlesbrough/Teesside - 82.7%
Sheffield - 79.3%
Sunderland - 79%
Leicester - 78.6%
Leeds/West Yorkshire - 78.2%
Bournemouth/Poole - 67.5%
Southampton/Portsmouth - 69.6%
Cardiff - 71.8%
Nottingham - 73.3%
London - 73.6
When your data leaves your in-house premises this can dilute ownership or control. Real time analytics, mobile apps and data regulations make it difficult to consolidate information from data centres.
Ensuring your data stays in the country is mandatory for confidential data, for example for PCI compliance. Businesses can also ensure authorisation to access data - and in some cases exclude the provider. An effective encryption key management strategy can also ensure encryption doesn’t leave with the employee/s who set it up.
Your cloud provider needs to understand your business like a partner and provide a clear contract. If anything changes, you need a watertight means to extract your data and port it to another provider, or return it in-house, whenever you need to in the future.
3. Cost Considerations
While many businesses choose a cloud service to avoid up-front investment, there is a flipside. A pay-as-you-go subscription fee might suit your cash flow now, but you need a contingency plan for unexpected business growth or downturn and you depend on the cloud to run your business. Seasonal or very small businesses might require reactive, flexible pricing, so the commitment of being tied to a fixed contract might outweigh the initial cost reduction.
Keep in mind the risk of a wider economy downturn and the fact that nearly 1 in 2 business leaders fear digital start-ups will make their business obsolete within 3-5 years.
How will you cut your subscription costs in a crisis?
In conclusion, your business should steer clear of the cloud if you have a weak internet connection, weak data security processes, and if your business needs to keep an open mind at this stage.
Find out if cloud is right for you with a free health check of your business systems.