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Debunking Urban Myths About The Cloud

Simon Jelley, General Manager for SaaS Protection, Endpoint and Backup Exec at Veritas Technologies

Urban myths are stories people claim are true, but they rarely if ever have evidence to back them up. I’m sure you can think of a few examples off the top of your head. The first one that comes to my mind is the guy who wakes up in a bathtub to discover that his kidneys are gone.

While these urban myths are, in many cases, somewhat entertaining, the shock and awe they’re designed to elicit can give them undue credibility—in some cases, even to the point where myth becomes accepted fact.

Unfortunately, modern day IT has not been immune to urban myths—remember how the world was going to end with Y2K? The problem is that if these IT urban myths gain traction, they can negatively affect how organizations deploy their IT infrastructure to maximize business benefit while minimizing risks.

I’ve observed that there’s a rich new vein of opportunity for IT urban myths: the cloud. So, I’m here to debunk three of the most pervasive cloud myths once and for all:

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1. Your data is inherently safer in the cloud.

I’ve touched on this one before, but it’s worth repeating because, like all urban myths, it just won’t go away.

From a previous column I wrote:

“Far too many companies think their cloud service provider is responsible for the protection of their cloud-based data. This is an incorrect assumption that puts businesses at risk until it’s thoroughly debunked. The truth is that, as part of their standard service, most cloud service providers only provide an uptime guarantee of their service—not cloud data protection. In fact, some make it clear in their terms and conditions that a customer’s data is their responsibility to protect. Storing data in the cloud doesn’t automatically make it safe; it still needs strong data protection.”

Recent IDC research revealed that 98% of the companies they surveyed experienced a cloud data breach in the preceding 18 months. And a recent survey by my company found that more than half of office workers reported having accidentally deleted cloud-based data—and never gotten it back.

2. One cloud fits all.

Cloud service providers are quick to point out the benefits of consolidating cloud workloads to as few providers as possible. And it’s true that consolidating can sometimes improve cost management, reduce complexity and close security gaps. Of course, providers also want a bigger share of your budget.

What they often overlook are the benefits of a multi-cloud approach, including agility, scalability and redundancy. Like the old saying: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Not to mention that a multi-cloud strategy is often necessary for global companies dealing with local data privacy laws.

That’s why today’s enterprise infrastructures increasingly include local on-premises resources along with hosted services from more than one public cloud service provider. In fact, 62% of the participants in a recent Cloud Security Alliance survey said they already have a multi-cloud strategy. Of the remainder, 84% plan to have a multi-cloud approach in place by 2024.

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It’s important to acknowledge that this approach creates new data management and protection challenges, including potential increased cost, complexity and vulnerability to things like ransomware. The trick is to find a way to get the best of both worlds: a multi-cloud infrastructure with the ability to manage and protect your data no matter where it lives. Trust me, it’s possible with the right help.

3. The cloud is easier to manage.

Far too many companies think they’re buying an outcome when they move to the cloud. In reality, they’re simply buying infrastructure. And yes, public cloud-based infrastructure can be easier to manage because the servers aren’t yours. But the applications and data still are (see myth #1).

Managing one application and its data in a cloud environment may be simple, but managing dozens of applications in multiple cloud environments (see myth #2) with disparate management tools isn’t. Without careful planning and the right tools, companies can spend more time managing cloud infrastructure than benefitting from it.

In the same vein, the cloud complicates digital compliance. Many office workers are sharing sensitive and business-critical company data through cloud-based collaboration tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. That’s to say nothing about the recent dramatic increase in highly regulated telehealth services provided via similar cloud-based applications.

There’s more potentially sensitive information than ever being shared through an unprecedented number of cloud-based applications. This increases productivity but simultaneously increases both risk and digital compliance complexity unless you have the ability to manage this new and growing data set.

In conclusion, can we now consider these cloud urban myths officially debunked? I hope so.

And stay tuned—next time, I’ll tell you what happens if you say “ransomware” three times in front of a mirror.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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