Debunking Cloud Objections
by Kate Smith, Director, Sales & Marketing
Whether we realize it or not, most of us interact with the cloud on a daily basis. Thinking about personal examples in my own life, I can name more than a few. All my data stored on my mobile device is backed up to the cloud. When I’m at home watching the new “it” show on Netflix I’m streaming from the cloud. When communicating with my doctor through a patient portal, I access records and conversations through the cloud. All my banking is done online via, you guessed it, the cloud. We all have become very comfortable interacting personally with the cloud, yet when we start discussing moving business data to the cloud, we suddenly become uncomfortable with the thought of cloud computing? Working with SMB customers we’ve heard a lot of objections when discussing moving to the cloud. The following outlines common misconceptions as well as how we address the concerns.
The Cloud is Still Too “New”
Believe it or not, we still hear some of our SMB customers allude to the “newness” of cloud computing. These customers are still living in an environment where on-premises hardware is king. According to ComputerWeekly.com, “The idea of an ‘intergalactic computer network’ was introduced in the sixties by J.C.R. Licklider, who was responsible for enabling the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agecy Network) in 1969.” (Mohamed, n.d.)
Additionally, ComputerWeekly.com cites Salesforce.com as a pioneer in cloud computing introducing their offering via a website as early as 1999 followed by Amazon Web Services in 2002. While many cloud-based offerings are still relatively new, cloud computing has been around a long time.
What if There is an Outage in the Cloud?
Another of my favorite objections to the cloud, is around outages so let me state this clearly and upfront. An outage can occur whether you are running your data in the cloud or on-premises. Let’s look at a recent example; the Amazon S3 outage that occurred on February 28th, 2017 which lasted for 4 hours. Long story short, the outage was a result of human error, something I think we can all relate to. Now think about an on-premises environment. If there were an outage, would your IT team be able to resolve the issue and proceed with business as usual in 4 hours?
A great blog post by Yaniv Leven further explores the cloud vs. on-premises debate. “If the recent AWS outage has led you to believe that it might be a good idea to keep all of your organization’s data on-premises, then think again. While this may seem like a good idea, it only increases your organization’s risks when it comes to business continuity in case of an outage.” (Leven, 2017)
Leven goes on to say, “Think about it—if this can happen to Amazon, then it can certainly happen to your on-premises servers, and in this case, you need to rely on your own IT team to have the knowledge, expertise and resources to resolve the issue quickly. “ (Leven, 2017)
To expand Leven’s point, cloud providers must carry specific Service Level Agreements (SLA) with their customers that outline guaranteed uptimes for their infrastructure. In the case of Amazon, their main focus during the outage was to identify and correct the issue as quickly as possible. Cloud service providers have built their businesses on the ability to provide stable cloud environments for their customers.
The Cloud is Too Expensive
The “cloud is too expensive” objection is one I can give some merit to. Many times, the cloud conversation with SMB customers begins when facing a technology refresh. We still have SMB customers running on-premises equipment that is possibly facing failure or end of life and a decision must be made. Do we move to the cloud or do we purchase new hardware and continue on-premises?
I recently worked with a customer who was considering moving to some of their on-premises data to Microsoft Azure. Initially the expense seemed to be the deciding factor. However, after more discussion and a proof of concept, the customer quickly realized the additional benefits the cloud offered that on-premises could not compete with. The customer is now realizing reduced IT costs, reduced overhead costs, secure accessibility, and scalability as the business changes.
The argument for on-premises vs. cloud will continue to rage on as long as we have access to varying technologies that can all get us to our endpoint – whatever that may be for your specific business needs.
Leven, Y. (2017, March 30). Lessons Learned From the Recent Amazon S3 Outage. Retrieved from http://blog.panoply.io/lessons-learned-from-the-recent-amazon-s3-outage
Mohamed, A. (n.d.). A history of cloud computing. Retrieved from computerweekly.com: http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/A-history-of-cloud-computing
About the Author
Kate Smith, SecurElement’s Director, Sales & Marketing is responsible for SecurElement’s overall sales and marketing strategy as well as ongoing partner relationships with organizations such as Microsoft, Cisco, Barracuda and many others.