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What are some of the factors that prevent companies from fully adopting the cloud?

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Q:

What are some of the factors that prevent companies from fully adopting the cloud?

A:

Current research indicates that many companies are moving toward cloud vendor services. However, this sea change is not universal, and quite a few companies are getting left behind.

Cloud adoption can come with some serious challenges, and there are significant obstacles that keep many businesses from realizing the advantages and benefits of cloud services.

First, there's cost. Companies have to factor these new vendor services into an enterprise budget, and where these services require up-front capital outlays, all kinds of challenges can occur. Gun-shy leaders may balk at paying for services even though they might ultimately provide a great return on investment. Companies may feel they simply can't afford to get on board with cloud services.

There are also a raft of security and compliance issues related to cloud adoption. Companies have to do due diligence and conduct detailed conversations with vendors to find out how secure cloud storage and data handling services are, and how they support compliance with industry standards. For instance, in the financial industry, regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley may have an effect, and in the medical industry, HIPAA rules around private medical data can be roadblocks in the cloud option processes.

In general, companies may experience a loss of control around their data. While it may be labor-intensive and expensive to keep proprietary data in on-site server systems, it also gives companies 100 percent control over their internal data assets.

Other concerns with cloud adoption are related to reliability and uptime for systems. Stakeholders could argue that although cloud might save them money and time, they may not be able to trust that vendors will maintain the uptime levels that their in-house systems provide. This is especially true if the vendor systems are much more full-featured and functional, but are part of larger corporate data systems that may be prone to downtime at unanticipated intervals.

In addition to all of the above, other governance and security issues continue to plague some companies that are late to the game with cloud adoption. Some companies simply can’t figure out their “ideal cloud workload” – whether all of their processes should be moved to the cloud, and if not, which specific processes should be designated. In the end, moving to the cloud requires the evaluation of many moving parts, and brings different challenges for each potential cloud customer.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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