What are the risks of cloud adoption?

warning triangle on a cloud

The adoption of cloud services poses dilemmas for companies at every stage of their journey. At the outset, all-or-nothing solutions can force IT departments to commit prematurely to a single vendor, roadmap or timeframe.

As more cloud services enter the environment, complexity rises for users and IT alike, as users confront a fragmented experience, and IT struggles to secure, monitor and manage it all.

As organisations develop the right workspace journey for their business and users, they typically confront a series of challenges. To begin with, some vendors can encourage an 'all-in' approach to cloud adoption, where all services are sourced from one cloud, and all data is stored entirely in one cloud.

While some companies may be prepared to take this step, others will prefer to first test the waters with a limited or hybrid deployment - for example, starting with sourcing a single service or application from the cloud. However, in a single vendor approach, they would also be required to use the same provider's cloud services for that application's networking and data storage needs.

But as cloud adoption grows - whether that be public, private or hybrid - so does the complexity and risk exposure of managing them.

Lack of consistent security

Security remains one of the key concerns around cloud adoption. Many businesses are still sceptical of how well the cloud can maintain access and identity controls to keep their organisation's data secure, with the security levels of many cloud providers remaining relatively opaque.

Data governance and compliance arises as part of this, particularly with incoming GDPR regulations that impose tougher rules on how organisations must protect people's information. Companies and suppliers need to be completely clear on what data they're storing, and make sure they can amend or delete it if a customer requests them to.

Inconsistent user experience

Consistency is a big problem with cloud computing. As there are currently no proper standards for cloud computing, it is difficult for a company to ascertain the quality of the services they have been provided with.

This can result in varying degrees of performance across different devices, with certain services even restricted depending on the capabilities of the device. It can also be very easy to end up with disconnected workflows if cloud adoption and implementation isn't managed effectively.

Varied identities

As cloud adoption progresses and new cloud tools like SaaS apps and virtualised Windows apps enter the environment, unifying management of these various services becomes an issue. IT departments may struggle to provision, administer, secure and monitor the full spectrum of services efficiently, while users end up navigating multiple cloud environments.

This in turn leads to fragmented access, with each requiring different access credentials across different digital workspaces. Users may turn to unauthorised apps to better manage their workflow, which makes IT's job even more difficult in managing application security and data storage.

Esther Kezia Thorpe

Esther is a freelance media analyst, podcaster, and one-third of Media Voices. She has previously worked as a content marketing lead for Dennis Publishing and the Media Briefing. She writes frequently on topics such as subscriptions and tech developments for industry sites such as Digital Content Next and What’s New in Publishing. She is co-founder of the Publisher Podcast Awards and Publisher Podcast Summit; the first conference and awards dedicated to celebrating and elevating publisher podcasts.