Cloud

The top 10 cloud myths that hinder digital transformation

Organizations have moved many processes to the cloud, but the technology's ongoing hype has led to the spread of false information. Here's how to separate cloud fact from fiction.

The march to the cloud continues, as 60% of enterprises are now moving, or have already moved, mission-critical applications to the public cloud, according to one report. However, myths about cloud costs, security, and strategies pervade enterprises, said David Smith, vice president at Gartner, during a session at the 2018 Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando.

"Cloud is very susceptible to myths is because it is one of the longest, if not the longest, presence on the hype cycle," Smith later told TechRepublic. "When something is hyped so high, for so long, that is an area that is ripe for lots of myths."

The promises of the cloud are immense, and yet the definition of the cloud is confusing and inconsistent across many organizations, Smith said. The topic is also broad and fast moving, leading to further confusion, he added. "Whenever you tell people you don't need to know how something works, they want to know how it works," Smith said. "If they can't see behind the curtain, they will imagine what's back there."

SEE: Quick glossary: Hybrid cloud (Tech Pro Research)

Here are the top 10 cloud myths, according to Smith.

1. Cloud is always about money

Businesses think they need to move to the cloud to save on costs. But in reality, the decision to use cloud services must be for reasons other than financial gain, Smith said.

This is the most dangerous myth to believe, Smith said. "[CIOs] think that you always save money when you go to the cloud, and if they don't deliver the cost savings, that can be a real big deal for them," he added.

Business recommendation: Don't assume cost savings until you've done the work to analyze your specific situation.

2. You have to be cloud to be good

The reality is that the cloud is good for some processes, but not all of them, Smith said. "This is what vendors have been doing all along—they talk about their private cloud in order to get funded," Smith said.

Business recommendation: Focus on finding the best fit when using technology—including the cloud—to support your business.

3. Cloud should be used for everything

The reality is not all workloads and applications are a good fit for the cloud, Smith said. "it's not the right answer for everything," he added.

Business recommendation: Focus on desired outcomes, not whether something is or is not cloud. Evaluate applications on a case-by-case basis.

SEE: Cloud migration decision tool (Tech Pro Research)

4. "The CEO said so" is a cloud strategy

"This is the executive mandate," Smith said. "People don't really look at say why they're doing the cloud. They forget what it is they want to accomplish."

Business recommendation: Build a cloud strategy driven by desired outcomes and business imperatives.

5. We need a one-cloud solution

"This is either from one vendor, where people will just say 'Hey, I'm a Microsoft shop, I'm going that way,' or they think they have to go to one provider for everything and that's the goal," Smith said. "In reality, they probably have been using multiples for a long time."

Businesses can expect their use of cloud services to become increasingly varied and diverse over time, Smith said.

Business recommendation: Establish a cloud strategy that accommodates many different options—cloud and non-cloud.

6. Cloud is more secure than on-premises

This myth is a big problem because it takes responsibility off of the customer, Smith said. "First of all, you may have different kinds of cloud providers. They're not all the same. You always have to look at who's responsible for what," he added. "Just because you put something out on a secure cloud, like AWS, doesn't mean that what you put out there stays secure, because that's not their responsibility. That's your responsibility, as the customer."

Business recommendation: Focus on responsibilities. Avoid generalizations—cloud is often more secure, but not all cloud providers are equal. Set high standards for all.

SEE: Cloud Data Storage Policy (Tech Pro Research)

7. Multicloud will prevent lock-in

In reality, there are different interpretations and use cases for multicloud, Smith said.

Business recommendation: Balance multicloud goals with cloud native goals. Leverage platform specific features with eyes open.

8. Once I move to cloud, I'm done

"This is kind of like 'I've lifted and shifted; I can get all the benefits.' It doesn't work that way," Smith said. Organizations that want to get all of the benefits of the cloud must transform workloads and processes to leverage cloud capabilities, he added.

Business recommendation: Re-architect for the cloud to exploit cloud capabilities and shortcomings.

9. Enterprises are moving back from public cloud

"This is a myth pushed by vendors who haven't been successful in the cloud," Smith said. "We see very, very few examples of that. This is not a major trend. It is pretty rare that you find anybody moving anything back from public cloud."

You do sometimes see people who are unhappy with certain aspects of the cloud, Smith said, such as it costing more than expected. "But you don't see this mass moving back," he added.

Business recommendation: Develop a cloud strategy based on business goals and realistic assumptions.

10. We have a cloud (implementation/migration/adoption) strategy

"Strategy is something that deals with strategic decisions around whether you should go to the cloud," Smith said. "It's a very different thing from an implementation plan, a migration plan, or an adoption plan, which are a set of tactics."

Business recommendation: Separate cloud strategy from implementation plans.

Also see

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Image: iStockphoto/cybrain

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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