Cloud computing is changing the service technology industry across all businesses, and over the last two decades, it has transformed the way technology is deployed, implemented, or adopted. According to a study by the International data group, 69% of businesses are already using cloud technology and 18% of businesses are planning to implement cloud computing solutions soon.
Storage has emerged as one of the major benefits of cloud wherein businesses now have the flexibility to scale their storage without relying on hardware and investment. Legacy storage technology requires scaling, updates, and scheduled downtime to function to best of its abilities. The cloud, on the other hand, has all the capabilities of legacy solutions without the infrastructural hassle. It also helps that enterprises can choose a provider based on their business requirements.
Cloud storage solves scaling problems, but it also comes with its own set of challenges, so if you’re an organization that is thinking about shifting from legacy storage solutions to cloud storage solutions, then this list will help you anticipate the challenges you may face while making the shift and how to tackle them.
Here is a list of challenges businesses are facing and how they should be avoided
1. Choosing the right storage providers
Cloud storage is offered by several vendors, but AWS and Azure are the dominant players in this market. A survey of 997 respondents (RightScale2018) stated that 96% of them use the cloud, of which 68% are using AWS and 88% are using Azure.
Though AWS or Azure might be the most popular choice, there are many other providers that provide customized storage solutions. So it is important to explore your options before picking a provider.
Few things organizations should look for before choosing cloud providers are:
- Downtime history is indispensable to understand how reliable the provider is, assess the level of support provided during downtime, and the quality of service.
- Data accessibility for data storage, examine the bandwidth they offer within their storage facility and outside because it will affect connectivity.
- Pricing structure should include fixed storage and bandwidth charge to move data in and out.
The most common mistakes enterprises make not to consider scaling requirements based on business growth. Choosing a storage provider that knows your industry can ease the transition as they will know the pitfalls, compliance requirements, industry regulations, and performance requirements for your business and be able to anticipate roadblocks.
2. Data connectivity
Cloud providers might have high-end solutions over 1Gbps, and many organizations provide even better connectivity internally with over 100 Mbps, but when it comes to its internet connectivity bandwidth, the numbers dip exponentially. Asymmetric problems alleviate the problem wherein the upload speed is greater than the download speed. If the connectivity with cloud storage isn’t sufficient, businesses fail to get the required potential benefits.
3. Negotiate Service level agreement (SLA)
Cloud storage providers will offer SLA that suits their own requirements; it will follow a slew of obligations they have towards business and what they would do if they fail to satisfy them. IDC estimates that 80% of organizations accept their SLA without negotiating the terms to ensure the agreement also considers their requirements. Many businesses fail to negotiate on crucial terms, such as downtimes, software up-gradation, security, and technology services.
Working with Cloud storage adds an additional layer of complexity for the IT department as they have to monitor the SLA continuously. Keeping this in mind is important because a common problem businesses face is that users and departments often bypass the IT department and contact the provider to fix issues directly. This means that effective monitoring of SLA becomes close to impossible. One simple way to circumvent the issue would be to use an internal business portal wherein employees can contact the IT department directly.
4. Moving your data across various provider
Cloud storage providers offer a barrage of solutions that sound convenient a when businesses decide to move their data. And many businesses end up agreeing to these offers without stopping to analyze what they are getting into, especially when it comes to connectivity and data transfer.
During the data migration to the cloud, providers offer two options for data transfer- physical media of transfer through hard drives or free data access over the network connection. But when a decision of taking the complete data stored on a providers’ storage to completely different providers storage, the problems creep in. Here are certain important questions that should be asked,
1. How will the data be made available- On a physical storage device or through a network connection?
2. What will be the cost of transferring data through the network connection, and what will be available bandwidth? For example: if the data available is 150 GB, and the available bandwidth is 1Gbps—it will need 150 days for your data to be transferred.
3. While working with multiple providers, how long will it take for data to be deleted from one cloud storage to another after the complete transfer has been completed?
5. Security a concern
According to new research by Thales and Ponemon Institute, a 2018 Global Cloud data Security study that surveyed close to 3,200 IT and IT security practitioners stated that corporate data stored in the cloud environment and not managed by IT has grown from 44% to 53%. A storage provider is responsible for keeping the sensitive data secured and provide active solutions to all threats. However, if a data breach occurs, it is businesses that will be answerable to clients, and not the storage provider.
So it is important to consider data security outside of what the cloud storage provider is offering.
As the businesses shift their data rapidly from on-premises storage to cloud storage, flexibility, technology advancement, and low upfront cost prove to be undeniably attractive. It then becomes easy to neglect conversations surrounding the latter part of the transformation, which is using the cloud. Employees tend to use cloud storage without considering the implications of cost. It leads to cloud sprawl, pushing businesses to adopt a governance policy for storage and service usage. Cost happens to be one of the challenges businesses usually face after the hype of cloud had faded.
Cloud as a storage solution offers a reliable platform, but if not strategized well could lead to vendor lock-in, crippling your business. Whether the cloud is chosen as the primary storage option or disaster recovery solution, scrutinizing the vendor on different parameters of reliability and security will give the business required freedom in operation.
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