Cloud adoption is becoming key to growing businesses- but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Source: Shutterstock

Growth opportunities and challenges for cloud adoption

ORGANIZATIONS that stick to the status quo instead of embracing change risk being disrupted.

In order to keep afloat in a sea of raging competition, businesses across varying sectors are onboarding on a journey of digital transformation.

And for resource-constrained IT departments, the adoption of cloud services will be the foundation of their digital transformation journey.

Companies are beginning to understand that to stay competitive, they must accelerate innovation and time to market- and for most, this means expansion into the public cloud.

Cloud adoption is truly disrupting the traditional business model. It is the catalyst that drives innovation and sets businesses on the right path. As a result, many businesses are choosing to switch to the cloud, with one report predicting that 83 percent of enterprise workloads will be in the cloud by 2020.

An enabler of growth and innovation

The public cloud provides a valuable innovation platform for businesses to launch and run key workloads and applications. It can also facilitate businesses in adopting emerging technologies such as big data and analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence- all of which truly matter in today’s digital economy.

“You name it,  public cloud can enable it,” explained Colin Chan, Vice President of Rackspace Asia, a managed cloud computing company.

But despite its benefits, cloud adoption does not come without its difficulties. This includes issues related to adopting at scale, demonstrating the business value of cloud adoption, ensuring compliance and security and more.

Public cloud can be overwhelming for many businesses

While public cloud offers businesses a chance to grow and innovate, many organizations struggle with the overwhelming features and firepower of the public cloud.

“Each cloud has its own ever-widening portfolio of services — [Amazon’s] AWS released 1,400 new features in 2017 alone — plus each one offers different specializations,” explained Chan.

According to Chan, many businesses who have invested in Microsoft technologies are seeking certified experts to assist them with the complexity of Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure.

“But accessing the resources and Azure expertise to handle architecture design, security and operations can be a daunting task that distracts the CIO from the organization’s core business,” said Chan.

Security concerns over the cloud

According to an IDG survey, nearly 40 percent of organizations with public cloud experience reported moving public cloud workloads back to on premises. The reason for this was mostly due to security and cost concerns.

The security of the public cloud is something which is passionately debated and mainly relates to concerns over shadow IT, insider threat, account hijacking, lack of encryption, and more.

Such concerns about security have led many CIOs to inhibit their business use of public cloud services. But according to Jay Heiser, Search Vice President at Gartner, the challenges exist not in the security of the cloud itself, but in the policies and technologies for security and control of the technology.

“CIOs need to ensure their security teams are not holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated cloud security worries,” explained Heiser in a Gartner report.

“Exaggerated fears can result in lost opportunity and inappropriate spending.”

The demand for cloud computing skills outpaces supply

One of the most significant roadblocks in the migration and adoption of the cloud seems to be the skills gap.

Many enterprises are lacking both the skills and talent for effective cloud adoption. According to a survey by Robert Half Technology, at 24 percent, the cloud is the second biggest driver of demand for technology skills today, following closely behind digital marketing skills at 25 percent.

According to another report, large enterprises in Hong Kong could be losing out on revenue as 84 percent of IT decision makers say that they don’t have the required cloud expertise.

This comes as large enterprises across the world are losing out on over a quarter of a billion dollars per year as a result of the cloud skills gap.

It’s clear to see that while a cloud-enabled business model is the best way for an enterprise to extend its reach and boost innovation, the move does not come without its challenges.

Yet, with the right migration strategy and cloud talent, this powerful technology can help businesses deliver winning results.