Cloud computing may be growing by leaps and bounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy road for businesses to fully take advantage of it. Adopting any new technology usually takes time, and considering how the cloud can change the way a company operates, a cloud computing transition can prove challenging. Many organizations believe the effort to be well worth it and show it by committing the time and resources toward making the change. Others, however, may be hesitant when looking at the challenges awaiting them when moving to the cloud. As in most business decisions, going into a major transition fully prepared can mean the difference between a smooth process and an outright disaster. Here’s a look at some of the biggest hurdles organizations can expect before adopting cloud computing.
Costs of Integration
Of the many reasons to integrate cloud computing within a company, one of the most cited is the promise of savings on costs. While the savings would normally be had long term, it’s the initial investment in making the transition that makes many business leaders think twice. According to a 2012 survey, the cost of implementing and integrating cloud computing was said to be the biggest challenge facing businesses. In the survey, roughly a third of senior executives said making the move to the cloud proved to be costlier than first thought. This fact may lead other company leaders to believe that moving to the cloud would not be worth it financially, even if savings could be gained in the long run.
Network Infrastructure Changes
When fully integrating cloud computing, it’s usually necessary for an organization to create a new network infrastructure or to make changes to the already existing infrastructure. Basic features like the network configuration and bandwidth will oftentimes prove incapable of handling the increased workload that comes with the cloud. In the case of the federal government, significant changes, such as a complete redesign or network topology, needed to be made to legacy systems to meet the new needs. Changes to the infrastructure require time and usually a large initial investment, requirements that may derail any effort to implement cloud computing.
Security remains a top priority and one of the biggest worries for business leaders, especially considering the rash of major data breaches in recent years. Moving that data to the cloud can seem like a risky strategy, one that companies may balk at. Many businesses have not been convinced of the cloud’s security advances, but cloud providers have worked hard to better protect businesses’ valuable data. Organizations can also utilize their own tactics for protecting data by utilizing secure applications, encrypting information, and purchasing security hardware. By pursuing these strategies, organizations can have more confidence their data is protected in the cloud.
Another major roadblock to full adoption of cloud computing is the organization’s culture. Many company leaders and employees like to keep things the same with technology and strategies they know they can trust. When looking at the cloud, many of them see a piece of technology that is unproven and risky. They’d prefer to see the company’s data kept close at hand where they can work with it and protect it. Changing the culture of the organization is a necessary step to not only get everyone on board with the idea but to ensure they’re able to use the cloud to the fullest extent. An emphasis on the benefits of cloud computing can go far in convincing the reluctant.
Even if an organization doesn’t have big concerns about security or finances, the legal questions that come with cloud computing can put a stop to any effort to adopt it. These questions usually affect healthcare, governmental, and educational institutions the most since they deal with potentially sensitive information. The data they possess may have legal protections, which can lead to potential lawsuits and other ramifications should that data be lost or stolen, making the decision to move the information to the cloud much weightier. Regulations over what can be included in the cloud also depend on the state and country where the data will be stored. All these cloud regulations and questions may hamper any attempt to fully utilize cloud computing.
With so many things to consider and questions to answer, it’s clear integrating cloud computing is no easy matter. The challenges listed here must be addressed and anticipated if organizations want to smoothly transition into using the cloud. The right preparation will help companies and institutions overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of all that cloud computing has to offer.