All concerns about Cloud Computing answered on the backdrop of COVID-19

Apr 4, 2021 | Blog

About Mandar Deshpande

Associate Vice President at Ellicium Solutions Inc.

COVID-19 has pushed many organizations to adopt Cloud Computing, making them take on the journey of digital transformation even before they anticipated. In this article, I try to provide clarification on those concerns about Cloud computing.

There is a cartoon floating around, in which stakeholders are discussing in the conference room about how digital transformation is still years away for their organization, and outside the conference room, there is a storm of COVID-19 that is about to hit them. This cartoon pretty much sums up the state of the Digital Transformation journey many organizations are ‘forced’ to start in these circumstances.

Intensified discussions around Cloud computing during these times have just testified to this scenario. “Why do we need Cloud services?” has turned into “Which Cloud provider to select?”. At the same time, those who have adapted to it, have seen business continuity without much hindrance. Still, as always, the decision to adopt Cloud is mired with skepticism and irrational agitation. This skepticism and agitation stem from concerns that are still associated with Cloud. In this article, I try to provide clarification on those concerns.   

How not being on Cloud can hamper business continuity severely

Before we get to the myth part, I would like to narrate this one particular incident that happened recently. Though the premise of this incident is around lockdown due to COVID-19, it testifies how not being on Cloud can hamper business continuity severely.  

For one of our projects, deliverables were due in the first week of April. By that time, our team had already started working from home as per government directives. As the development environment for this project was on the Cloud, our team did not face any difficulty to continue working on the development part. As soon as we reached a critical part of data validation, our work stalled!

Data was on a client-server residing on their office premise. As the offices shut down due to lockdown, we did not gain access to the data. We had planned to go to production but now we can’t! We are waiting for the lifting of the lockdown. This has severely affected future plans for the client, adding huge costs. Many organizations in a similar situation are stuck both physically and digitally. Though this situation is unprecedented, it makes a strong case for moving to Cloud. 

Still, I understand that some organizations may need more clarity on certain things. So I have shortlisted concerns that I have heard over time and attempted to give more classification on those concerns. I hope it helps organizations to make a better and informed decision.  

Concern 1:  What if some unauthorized person gains access to our organization’s data? 

It is important to understand that sharing the space in the Cloud is done at the hardware level. However, virtually data is secure and separate. It is accessed by authorized personnel only. At the same time, for regulatory reasons, if it is required to have separate hardware, then it is possible.  Cloud providers (like AWS, Azure) have the facility of a dedicated instance where hardware is not shared with anyone. 

Concern 2: I am skeptical about Security in Cloud.

Most Cloud providers are compliant with the most common compliance programs like HIPPA (US), FIPS (Canada), ISO (Global). Hence, it is the default that data on the  Cloud is encrypted. At the same time, it is the client’s responsibility as well to make sure data is encrypted while transferring.  

Concern 3: Cloud is always costly.

The answer is, “it depends”. The key here is to efficiently optimize the utilization of the Cloud space. Cloud providers have enlisted many best practices which can help customers to save their costs. 

Example: Using serverless applications to take advantage of pay-per-use facilities instead of purchasing servers running all the time. Or using Spot instances for batch processing. 

As best practices follow, it proves that cost-saving opportunities are limitless. At Ellicium we have done a couple of projects where moving to Cloud saved almost 80% of cost compared to having on-premise setup. In current circumstances where the major focus is on cost-saving, moving to Cloud can create great opportunities in that perspective if IT  infrastructure is on-premise. 

Concern 4: How to ensure that Cloud is best in-suite to us without incurring extra cost?

Here is the good news! All cloud providers welcome new customers with a gift of credits. To give examples, Google Cloud gives away $300 credit for a year, while Azure gives away $200 credits for a month! 

Small teams can start utilizing this credit and experiment to test fitment with existing infrastructure and future needs. The results of this experimentation can be helpful to make an informed decision without incurring huge costs. 

Cancer 5: Cloud is only for Big setup. It will be overkill for us. 

Not at all! Rather it does not matter what type of infrastructure it is, be it Big Data, Web Base, Data Warehouse, or Mobile users, Cloud is fit for all. 

Cloud provider comes with a wide portfolio of services, ranging from Database, AI, Big Data, Web Development, IoT, Database. (Most of them are already managed) Therefore, any type of infrastructure can implement in the cloud. There are thousands of startups using the Cloud for various things.

Concern 6: It’s been a while since we update our IT infrastructure. What if Cloud doesn’t work out for us?

This where Cloud has an upper hand compared to other options, as only Cloud, provides an opportunity to evaluate different architecture with minimum or no cost. 

Example: If SQL Server 2019 needs purchasing then license for the year per core needs to be procured. However, on Cloud, the same setup can implement for a specific period and pay only for that specific user. This option of paying only for the duration of use is never going to be available for the On-prem setup. 

Cloud also inherently adheres to the Agile principle i.e. fail fast and rebuild fast. 

To conclude, I hope that these clarifications on some of the common concerns about Cloud computing will help you to accelerate your decision-making process. This pandemic has also proved that time for being skeptical about adopting Cloud computing has run its course.  

Still, if you have any concerns then we can discuss further. You can get in touch with me here: [email protected]

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