The Risks of Poor Enterprise Cloud Management and How to Avoid Them
One of the most common cases for cloud implementation is IT infrastructure modernization to increase its flexibility, security, and cost-effectiveness. Progress has its price — without proper management, utilizing a nontraditional, cloud-based infrastructure may cause risks.
Although the cloud as we know it has been around since the mid-2000s, it’s still a trendy technology, with its adoption among businesses increasing every year. Gartner forecasts that in 2021 investments in public cloud services will grow to $332 billion compared to $270 billion in 2020.
One of the most common cases for cloud implementation is IT infrastructure modernization to increase its flexibility, security, and cost-effectiveness. Still, like every bean has its black, the progress has its price — without proper management, utilizing a nontraditional, cloud-based infrastructure may cause risks.
At the bare minimum, these risks may lead to decreasing the ROI of cloud solutions. In worst-case scenarios, enterprises may fall prey to hackers and malware. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the main risks of inadequate cloud management and give some tips for avoiding them.
Is There a One-Size-Fits-All Approach to Risk Mitigation?
While the types of cloud and their specifics vary (there are public, private and hybrid ones), they all have one thing in common. In particular, implementing and managing a cloud-based solution of any type transforms internal processes in one way or another, which is stressful and contributes to the emergence of risks.
For this reason, enterprise managers that approach cloud adoption wisely seek to address the risks in advance by building a comprehensive cloud strategy, evaluating existing infrastructure capabilities, and choosing the right service provider.
Upon completing the cloud infrastructure setup, companies typically entrust cloud infrastructure management to their IT departments (if the teams are up to the task) or delegate responsibilities via managed IT services.
Simply put, sizing up the situation, executing the strategy step by step, and having relevant expertise within reach are the only guarantees of avoiding adverse outcomes. On the contrary, overconfidence, lack of clarity and technical skills may turn potential risks inevitable.
3 Types of Risks to Be Aware Of
1. Risks Related to Data Security
Public cloud solutions provide better data protection compared to an on-premises infrastructure, and these are not just words – here’s the official confirmation by The White House. However, completely secure software simply doesn’t exist, so data safety remains the number one concern regardless of vendors or solution types.
The leading cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure or AWS provide a high level of defense indeed, but hackers are still trying to find flaws. In that sense, the situation with private clouds seems much more ambiguous. Without a provider’s support, data safety in private cloud environments mostly depends on the skills of their supporting IT teams.
How to mitigate these risks:
Choosing a public cloud, you should consider only those vendors that provide an advanced level of security and are constantly working to improve their products. In this regard, market leaders like Amazon and Microsoft are among the most trusted providers.
However, enterprise managers should never forget the universal maxim — trust in God but keep your powder dry. Regardless of the choice of infrastructure and provider, companies should take their own measures to ensure data safety.
For example, IT departments can implement AI-powered software to automatically monitor the overall system condition, key parameters, and required configurations. Regular performance testing combined with simulations of potential attacks should also become part of companies’ security routine.
2. Risks Related to Data Loss
Data loss may be caused not only out of malice but for many other reasons. For example, if an accident happens on the provider’s side, it may damage some information assets. In a private cloud, users may accidentally remove or delete data.
How to mitigate these risks:
Before going for the cloud, future adopters should consider what data should be stored in the cloud and what’s better to be stored locally. Thus, they can make sure that the most valuable information is always safe.
Running regular backups is another way to avoid data loss. Regarding private networks, IT managers may develop a custom mechanism for data backups, while public cloud vendors provide in-built functionality helping users automate this process.
3. Risks Related to Increased Workload
As noted above, even when adopting a public cloud, part of the responsibility may fall on the company’s IT department. So, besides its ongoing tasks for handling local technical processes, the team may also have to deal with data management related to the public cloud environment.
With the adoption of a private or hybrid system, the workload may become even more extensive. Broadening the team’s focus, managers can cause a drop in productivity of the entire IT department, which may result in an inability to support the company’s infrastructure adequately.
This issue, in turn, generates a whole array of risks, ranging from legal compliance violations to the emergence of security flaws.
How to mitigate these risks:
Organizations should avoid biting off more than they can chew by estimating their capabilities. For example, if the company’s technicians don’t have sufficient skills to manage a private cloud, choosing a public solution may be a more appropriate option.
Companies should consider whether they have enough resources to implement and manage a private network or whether it is better to choose a public provider to whom they can delegate some of the responsibility. Alternatively, enterprises can delegate some of the duties to a third-party contractor.
Today, enterprises that strive to gain a competitive edge cannot neglect the power of cloud computing. Many businesses have already moved to the cloud environment, while others are about to start the transition. However, a modernized infrastructure requires a modernized approach to management; otherwise, the changes may cause significant adverse outcomes, including data losses and increased cybersecurity vulnerabilities.