Gartner Advises Companies to Keep Their Feet on the Ground When Entering the Cloud

Companies should not look to the cloud as a cure-all but as another tool in their arsenal. This was the main thrust of the argument presented by Gartner’s David Mitchell Smith at yesterday’s webinar on The Top 10 Cloud Myths.

Moving to the cloud has become the trendy choice for many companies. If you’re not in the cloud, then you are clearly behind the times (myth #2). There is a fuzzy, golden mystique attached to simply being part of the cloud in-crowd. Often, CEOs will pick up on this trend and proclaim that the cloud must be used, even if they are not sure what it is all about (myth #4). They somehow get the idea that the cloud is about saving money (myth #1) and that it should be used for all the company’s business (myth #3). In truth, the main reason CIOs choose to move to the cloud is for what Gartner terms, agility. Although 50% chose this as their main reason for moving to the cloud, only 14% mentioned cost. I found it interesting that none of the CIOs mentioned security as a factor in their choice.

Many companies feel that they must develop their complete strategy based on the cloud. (myth #5). This may work for some companies, but the cloud should be used in coordination with certain goals, and some companies may not even need the cloud at all. In other words, the cloud should be integrated into a company’s infrastructure in a way that harmonizes with the company’s goals. It is seldom a complete solution on its own.

There is often some misunderstanding surrounding security and the cloud (myth #6). Some believe it is not secure at all while others believe it will keep all of their company’s data safe. The truth, as expected, is somewhere in the middle. Although cloud security has improved greatly in recent years, it can still be compromised by sophisticated attacks, possibly emanating from the companies using the cloud. In other words, cloud security must be a partnership between the company and the cloud service providers.

There is some belief that companies should not use the cloud for their main business (mission-critical) activity (myth #7). However, some businesses (28%) use the cloud for their main business purposes and use it quite well. These include companies like Netflix and Expedia. Most companies will not need to move everything to the cloud, however. If this is a choice your company makes, Gartner advises moving to the cloud in stages.

Many companies believe the main use of the cloud is for data storage (myth #8). However, Gartner advises never moving all data to the cloud. Instead, some hybrid solution should be developed on premises with the cloud being just one factor in an overall solution to corporate efficiency. The following diagram from Gartner helps to explain this.

gartner cloud

The diagram shows that a hybrid cloud should be developed in accordance with who must have access to your data.

As a conclusion, Gartner offers two key points:

  • Avoid “one size fits all” and overly simplistic answers to complex situations — cloud is not one thing.
  • Maintain sight of business goals and align the potential benefits (and drawbacks) of cloud computing with them.

In short, if your head is in the cloud, your view may be obscured. Always keep your feet on the ground when dealing with the cloud.

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