Cloud computing is still a hot topic. Worldwide, business spending on cloud computing infrastructure is forecast to top $1 trillion for the first time in 2024. This will be driven by factors such as a growing need to adopt new platforms and as-a-service offerings, including AI.
Some of the benefits introduced by cloud solutions include data security, flexibility, agility, efficiency and high performance. Other benefits may be smoother processes and improved collaboration with cost reduction.
However, the cloud has its own set of challenges. The list below discusses some of the key challenges to consider when adopting cloud computing in 2024.
1. Security challenges
Data breaches and vulnerabilities remain a top concern when working with cloud environments, especially as cyber threats evolve. Security teams need to continuously monitor cloud environments to protect against anomalous behaviour and zero-day attacks, as well as respond quickly if a violation occurs.
Common causes of cloud security leaks include: lack of identity access management, data misuse, lack of control and visibility tools, misconfiguration and malware. There are also concerns around insecure APIs, malicious insider attacks and oversights, or neglect in cloud data management.
- Robust security measures can be maintained by configuring network hardware appropriately and installing the latest software updates to prevent security vulnerabilities.
- Using firewalls, antivirus and increasing bandwidth for cloud data availability to prevent data security risks.
- Employ robust access controls and stay updated with security patches.
- Implement robust encryption mechanisms for data both in transit and at rest.
- Use strong authentication methods and granular access controls to prevent unauthorised access.
- Conduct frequent security audits and employ continuous monitoring tools to detect and mitigate potential threats promptly.
2. Compliance challenges
Adhering to various data protection laws and industry-specific regulations can be complex, especially when operating across multiple locations. Different regions and industries have varying compliance requirements such as HIPAA, PCI DSS and GDPR. Depending on the industry, organisations must ensure migrated applications and all pertinent data are secure pre-transit, in transit and post-transit.
Organisations should set policies based on compliance frameworks and internal requirements, and apply those to the resources operating in the cloud. It’s also important to identify and monitor new cloud infrastructure and applications that are deployed to ensure they conform with regulatory and internal compliance requirements.
- Understand where data is stored and ensure it complies with specific regulations in different regions.
- Develop clear data handling and privacy policies aligned with regional and industry-specific regulations.
- Conduct regular compliance audits to ensure adherence to standards and regulations.
3. Performance challenges
Ensuring consistent performance and high availability of services can be challenging, especially during peak usage times or in the face of unexpected outages.
The performance of cloud computing solutions depends on the vendors who offer their services to clients. Your business may invest heavily in enterprise applications designed to give you an edge, but these will only work at their maximum potential if application performance allows.
Housing your cloud infrastructure in an isolated private data centre commonly results in low-density connectivity and latency issues caused by the distance between data centres and interconnecting services. These latency issues slow down internal operations, and ultimately impact customer outcomes. If enterprise applications struggle to deal with peak loads, this can result in the business suffering revenue loss, damage to their reputation and failing to meet their objectives of moving to the cloud.
- Ensure you sign up with a cloud service provider who has real-time SaaS monitoring policies. At present, a few top cloud service providers (Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud) are ruling over the public cloud market.
- Design architectures with redundancy and failover systems to ensure high availability.
- Implement monitoring tools to detect performance bottlenecks and optimise resources.
- Employ load balancing and auto-scaling mechanisms for dynamic resource allocation.
4. Internet connectivity challenges
When organisations start with public cloud services, they often use VPNs over the internet to connect their on-premises applications to the public cloud services. However, if they have applications with certain bandwidth/latency requirements, then VPN over the internet might not be the best solution.
Cloud services are dependent on a high-speed internet connection. Insufficient internet bandwidth is a common problem when transferring large volumes of information to and from cloud data servers. Cloud storage requires an internet connection to upload and migrate data files. If you’re offline, you won’t be able to access your files (except for data stored locally).
Businesses must invest in a good internet connection so that no downtime occurs, which can incur vast business losses from sudden, unexpected outages.
All large cloud providers offer dedicated connections. At Securus, our data centre facilities all offer full N+1 redundancy. We offer robust internet connectivity through multiple high-speed links to ensure low-latency and high-bandwidth access. The ability to hand off internet traffic to LINX or Lonap is built into our solutions.
- Pay more for higher bandwidth and focus on improving operational efficiency to address network dependencies.
5. Integration and migration challenges
Interoperability can be an issue when you try to move applications between multiple cloud ecosystems. Applications running in isolation may result in information siloes. Applications need to integrate seamlessly to create successful business outcomes, such as applications linked at the back end via APIs.
Migrating existing systems and applications to the cloud seamlessly without disrupting operations or losing data is a significant challenge, particularly for large enterprises. You need to consider data transfer issues, application compatibility, downtime and ensuring the continuity of business processes throughout the migration.
Setting cloud interoperability and portability standards in advance of any migration can help solve this problem. The use of multi-layer authentication and authorisation tools is also encouraged for account verifications in public, private and hybrid cloud ecosystems.
- Thoroughly assess the existing infrastructure and plan the migration process meticulously.
- Ensure compatibility between existing systems and cloud platforms to minimise disruptions during migration.
- Rigorously test migrated systems to validate functionality and data integrity.
6. Cost management challenges
After a successful cloud migration, optimising resource usage and selecting the right pricing models are ongoing challenges. Cloud expenses can spiral if not managed effectively.
Cost-effective use of cloud services requires total cloud spend transparency to avoid over-provisioning. But achieving that transparency is possible only through accurate cost allocation and clear visualisation of spending data. There are many factors that contribute to cloud costs, and not all of them are obvious upfront. Costs can include:
- Web services
- Software licenses
- Virtual machine instances
- Network traffic
- Training and support
- Continuously monitor resource usage and employ scaling strategies to match demand.
- Deploy cloud-native tools or third-party services to track and monitor costs.
- Utilise long-term commitments for predictable workloads and leverage cost-effective service options.
7. Skill gaps and training challenges
The rapidly evolving cloud landscape demands skilled professionals, yet many organisations are finding it tough to recruit the right cloud talent. There is a shortage of professionals with the required qualifications in the industry. Workloads are increasing, and the number of tools launched to market is also on the rise.
To overcome this talent crisis, businesses must adopt effective hiring practices that attract and retain top-notch cloud experts.
- Clearly outline the required qualifications, certifications and technical competencies for the role to ensure potential candidates understand the expectations.
- Offer competitive compensation and benefits
- Retrain existing IT staff and help them in upskilling their careers by investing in training programmes to keep them updated with the latest cloud technologies and best practices.
- Encourage employees to pursue certifications and acquire new skills in cloud technologies through workshops, courses or online learning platforms.
- Cultivate a positive workplace culture
8. Governance and control challenges
Maintaining control over data access, usage, compliance and governance in a cloud environment requires robust policies and frameworks.
Deloitte has highlighted a significant trend in enterprise IT spending: licensing expenses have escalated to constitute as much as 24% of the overall IT budget. Cloud providers often have complex licensing models that can be difficult to understand and manage. This complexity can lead to inefficiencies and underutilisation of licenses, negating some of the cost benefits of moving to the cloud.
IT teams must catalogue software licenses to differentiate between those easily transferable to the cloud and those that might require modification or replacement. This review process includes a careful examination of license terms and conditions, with a focus on identifying any constraints linked to on-premise usage.
- Develop comprehensive governance policies addressing data access, usage, compliance and risk management.
- Implement robust access controls and monitoring tools to enforce policies and track compliance.
- Evaluate existing software licenses to determine their compatibility with a cloud environment.
9. Hybrid and multi-cloud challenges
Managing a combination of on-premises, private cloud and multiple public cloud environments adds complexity in terms of interoperability and orchestration.
Common cloud computing issues and challenges with multi-cloud environments are configuration errors, lack of security patches, data governance and no granularity. It can be difficult to track the security requirements of multi-clouds and apply data management policies across various channels.
- Leverage orchestration and automation tools to manage and integrate diverse cloud environments efficiently.
- Adopt standardised APIs and interfaces to facilitate interoperability between different cloud platforms.
10. Legacy system challenges
Integrating legacy systems with modern cloud infrastructure can pose challenges due to technical compatibility issues and the need for extensive restructuring.
IT teams need to conduct an analysis and inventory of the legacy applications to be migrated. It is important to identify which application processes are dependent on physical systems, and the cloud migration tools needed to ensure those applications operate effectively in the cloud.
- Use middleware solutions and APIs to bridge the gap between legacy systems and modern, cloud-based services.
- Implement a phased approach to upgrade legacy systems, prioritising critical components for migration or updates.
The cloud presents an opportunity for organisations to reassess and modernise how their applications function, and get the most out of that functionality by leveraging cost- and time-saving technologies native to the cloud provider. It can be a time-consuming process, but the long-term upside is that organisations benefits from the flexibility, scale and speed that modern, cloud-native applications provide.
The challenges we’ve highlighted may vary in intensity depending on an organisation’s size, industry and existing IT infrastructure. Addressing them often requires a combination of technology, strategy and adaptability. Each challenge demands a tailored approach based on an organisation’s specific needs, existing infrastructure and long-term goals.
Addressing these challenges requires a comprehensive strategy, involving not just technology, but also organisational readiness, continual assessment and a proactive stance toward evolving cloud landscapes.
To find out how Securus can help you on your journey to the cloud, please get in touch with our cloud experts on 03451 283457.