Ten Years On: Three Common Misconceptions About How Cloud Has Evolved

by Simon Bennett, Chief Technology Officer, EMEA, Rackspace Technology

A Rackspace Technology employee sitting on some stairs while typing on his laptop


A decade is a long time in tech. For cloud, it has been no exception, with the technology cementing itself as a crucial business tool in recent years. And never more so than during the pandemic.

Ten years ago, cloud’s ubiquity certainly wasn’t what it has since become, in part as many initial teething issues had to be overcome before its current widespread adoption could be achieved. However, these issues, while now largely addressed, have also left behind some deep-rooted negative perceptions.

Whether it’s data privacy, costs, control management, or compliance regulations, many of the things still holding businesses back from fully embracing cloud are no longer the issues they used to be. Yet despite the great strides made, common misunderstandings still plague its perception in the industry. Unfortunately, this is holding many companies back from expanding their cloud usage and genuinely taking advantage of all it has to offer.

Let’s address some of these misconceptions and explore how cloud has evolved in the past decade.


Out of Our Hands and out of Control

Putting our data in someone else’s hands goes against our nature – it instinctively feels less secure when we are not entirely in control. However, when businesses keep their data on-premise, they know exactly what security processes are in place and can proactively make a choice to increase its sophistication.

However, security in the cloud feels like it is out of their hands. Pair this attitude with the growth of a powerful yet malicious new cyber world. It’s inevitable that many would be wary – even of a technology that has become a crucial ingredient to many businesses’ success.

In fact, in our recent Multicloud Annual Research Report, we surveyed 1,420 IT and business decision-makers worldwide, and security remains the number one IT challenge for businesses — ahead of costs at 21% and IT talent at 20%. In addition, security remains the most cited barrier to cloud optimization.

A decade ago, this fear wouldn’t have been so irrational. Cloud security certainly wasn’t what it is today. Indeed, cloud security is no longer just trying to keep up with the security of on-premises – it now paves the way for data privacy and security. That’s why even our national security service is willing to put its trust in the cloud to protect the country’s top secrets.

Indeed, not all clouds are made equal. Every platform excels in different areas, so taking a multicloud approach can have crucial benefits. Despite commonly cited concerns, introducing additional cloud partners strengthens security rather than diluting or complicating it.

When identifying the right cloud for your sensitive data that requires maximum security, you need to be considering a multitude of factors, including encryption, data redundancy and geo-replication, and administrator controls.


The Cloud Compliance Maze

Compliance and regulation in many ways go hand in hand with cybersecurity, but they are an additional and separate concern for businesses. For example, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union has become notorious for improving accountability for data security. Yet, while having now been in place for some time, many businesses are still struggling to become compliant. And to make matters worse, it’s not just GDPR that organisations have to contend with. Across the world, there are many regulations that IT leaders must adhere to avoid severe fines.

For example, in the United States, cloud security and compliance took on new urgency with the signing of Executive Order (EO) 14028. The EO requires private sector organizations working within the government supply chain to meet thousands of security standards from nearly one dozen cybersecurity regulatory organisations.

Cloud compliance can present itself as a bit of a maze and a complex one, but it is possible to navigate it, especially with the help of external experts who can support governance. From creating a specific cloud governance function to advising on the best tools to help businesses keep the right eyes on their data, partnering on data strategy and governance measures can provide important clarity amid critical but complicated regulatory environments.


Manage Your Cloud to Manage Your Costs

There are many factors that impact the cost of cloud vs. on-premise, which means no one can definitively state that cloud is cheaper or vice versa. It simply depends on how you use it. Yet, many individuals and businesses automatically assume cloud will always be more costly. And while that may have been true in the past, it is now far from reality.

When used correctly and with the support of third-party expertise, working in the cloud enables businesses to get smart about their IT cost management. One of the biggest reasons is that when cloud is optimised, you only pay for what you use instead of paying for an entire server that is only partially used. This is a particularly attractive model for businesses that must contend with a demand that scales up and down quickly – for example, online retailers – as it means they can cope with the extra demand at the time without having to pay for additional storage when it isn’t needed.


Seeing Through the Dark Clouds

Cloud hasn’t ever been and undoubtedly never will be perfect. But, as with any technology, the platforms available to us are constantly innovating to better support our fast-moving world.

But over the past decade, cloud has evolved to become not only a viable option for businesses, but in many instances, a vital one. That’s why we need to address any lingering negative perceptions around outdated issues and help more companies continue down their cloud journey.

At Rackspace Technology®, we want to help you wherever you are on your cloud transformation journey to optimise your costs, maximise your performance and evolve for a changing market. Our team of solutions-agnostic, cloud-specialised experts can help you engineer and architect the infrastructure you need to meet your business goals.

Take a deeper dive into the trends that are shaping the future of cloud right now by downloading our Multicloud Annual Research Report 2022.

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