Cloud computing is constantly increasing in popularity as more businesses realize the range of benefits of an effective cloud strategy. The cloud is not a new concept - It's been around for decades. However, as cloud computing impacts the IT industry, a range of misconceptions - or myths - have developed. These myths are largely derived from confusion and lack of understanding of cloud services by businesses who are still in the process of determining whether they should move to the cloud.

Here is a list of the ten most common myths in cloud computing:

1. The Cloud is Insecure

This is one of the most common cloud computing myths. Security is a common concern because sensitive business data is on the line. This is especially true in public clouds where clients share computing resources. The good news is that security is just as - if not more - important for cloud providers that depend on security for business success. Providers must establish a strong security infrastructure to meet various industry requirements .

Top cloud providers employ a layered security infrastructure that features extensive surveillance systems, firewalls and protection against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Security is a primary concern for cloud providers, meaning they can provide enhanced security, which, in many cases, surpasses security levels at on-premise data centers. This is because many organizations have minimal resources to apply toward infrastructure security. Cloud providers retain experts that perform routine security assessments and ensure compliance with regulations and standards.

2. Cloud Data Centers Contribute to Global Warming

As cloud computing becomes more widespread, the rate of assembled data centers is on the rise. Without question, data centers contribute to global warming because they increase power consumption, which demands an increased amount of carbon dioxide production. However, modern data centers are far more energy efficient than their predecessors.

Traditional data centers required extensive cooling facilities to maintain optimal server temperatures. Also, a traditional data center's average server was used to run minimal applications, while the rest of the available central processing unit (CPU) cycles remained idle. By not making full use of the CPU, each data center required an increased amount of servers. This led to a high level of energy consumption.

By comparison, modern data centers use advanced, natural air cooling systems and employ step-down voltage lines closer to the servers, minimizing the loss of voltage during transportation. Further, multiple applications are run on single servers made possible by virtualization advancements. As a result, modern data centers have the ability to limit electricity and effectively increase computing while reducing electricity consumption.

3. Major Companies Will Dominate the Cloud

The number of cloud computing providers is on the rise. While a few major companies, like Amazon, appear to be well ahead of the competition, it is highly unlikely that one single organization will fully dominate cloud computing. This is due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which is a wide variety of cloud services. Also, many components comprise cloud computing, making it difficult for a single provider to assert cloud computing dominance.

Advancements also continue in the technology behind cloud computing, making it difficult to define the characteristics of an organization that would totally dominate the market. Customers retain control over companies that are successful in the cloud, and healthy market competition is important because it forces businesses to constantly innovate and offer the best services to their customers.

4. The Cloud Has Limited Customization Capabilities

Despite many cloud providers' claims that they can provide single custom cloud solutions, the reality is that a wide range of cloud computing services is available. You can choose from public, private and hybrid cloud solutions - or you can use a combination of deployment methods, depending on your needs. Additionally, you can choose from various types of operating modules, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). With these options, the customer has the flexibility of mixing and matching a combination of services to meet their requirements.

5. Traditional Data Centers Will be Replaced by the Cloud

The cloud may replace data centers for most - but certainly not all - computing needs. Many applications built to run in a traditional IT infrastructure will not be rearchitected for the cloud. This is the case for many large enterprises that still use their own data centers for certain computing needs, allowing the companies to gain maximum efficiency and maintain their infrastructure without the need for cloud services. It's safe to say that traditional data centers will not be replaced by the cloud any time soon.

6. Public Cloud Services are Inexpensive

The view that the public cloud will always save money is derived from the commonly employed "pay-as-you-use" model in the public cloud. Initial prices for this model are cheap. However, it is important to understand that this pay type of model isn't ideal for every organization. Analyzing your resource requirements is critical to determining which cloud model is the best fit for your company, .

As a general principle, the pay-as-you-use model should be considered to meet short term needs, such as a one-time project requiring predetermined resources. However, an application that constantly consumes a great deal of resources benefits from a private cloud solution, versus pay-as-you-use. Without an effective and established strategy, you may waste resources by using an inefficient form of cloud services. Thus, ensure a full understanding of your requirements, and select a service that is financially feasible and provide optimal performance.

7. Cloud Computing Reduces Productivity

Increased productivity is a key benefit of an effective cloud computing strategy. Increased accessibility, convenience and collaboration positively impact employee productivity. Long processes are no longer required to conduct simple tasks, like file sharing, data storage or team collaboration. With all the documents available in the cloud, employees can add content and make changes from any device. It's even easier to collaborate with teams on specific projects, as the cloud facilitates real-time syncing.

8. Migrating Applications to the Cloud is a Complex Process

It is no secret that applications built in on-premise servers take a considerable amount of time to rearchitect for the cloud, and many existing applications will not be rebuilt because they are too dependent on existing infrastructure. However, redeveloping each application may not be necessary, as there are many cloud service providers that allow you to incorporate existing applications and simply tweak within your service to meet requirements. You also can choose to migrate some processes to the cloud and run them in parallel with other processes on your own infrastructure.

9. Only Large Enterprises Can Make Full Use of the Cloud

The beauty of cloud computing is that there is a range of available solutions. Large enterprises may be able to incorporate the cloud into their systems on a much bigger scale than smaller companies, but effective use of cloud services can be made by companies of all sizes. One of the most important aspects of delving into the cloud is to know your requirements, so that you can select a cloud service that meets your needs.

10. Once You're in, You Can't Back Out

Fear of being locked into a cloud service is a common reason businesses may be hesitant to move to the cloud. Some believe that once their data is associated with one cloud provider, they will be unable to retrieve the data in its original form. While some public cloud providers have a no holds barred approach to locking in customers, others fully comply with industry standards. This protects and prevents you from being locked in. When selecting a public cloud provider, ensure adherence to proper industry standards and that you can easily export data from the cloud - at any time.

Cloud computing myths are the result of miscommunication and assumptions. In reality, organizations use cloud services in different ways. Some assume that there is only a one-size-fits-all cloud solution, when there are actually many available types of cloud services. Individual companies should strive to develop their own cloud strategies based on business requirements. Through proper planning, cloud computing's full benefits can be realized.