As companies continue to ways to become more agile in their business environments, the adoption of cloud technology has continued to be the mainstay of the new landscape. According to RightScale's annual report on the State of the Cloud surveythe year-over-year spend on the adoption of new cloud technologies increased to 53% over the 38% recorded in 2021. Of the more than 700 cloud decision-makers surveyed, approximately 47% already have significant workloads running in cloud environments. An additional 30-33% of those companies currently run some workloads in the cloud while 10-11% are currently experimenting with cloud concepts.

Every year the number of users turning to the public cloud is increasing. Public cloud has lots of benefits, but there are several risks that organisations need to understand in order to protect their organisation and appropriately mitigate these risks. 

1. Public Cloud = Limited Control 

The public cloud offers users limited control using a multi-tenant environment. This means that a single environment serves many customers or tenants. This shared environment ensures that public cloud customers are not given access to the hypervisor and prevents customers from customizing their environments.

Because public cloud companies own the hardware and software, they're able to make changes (low-level changes or big changes) at their choosing, without consultation with their customers beforehand. Public cloud providers also choose the authentication, authorization, and access control processes and software of their choosing. As a customer, your organisation has no control over which methods they use or the procedures governing these methods. If your organisation has strict security policies in place, it may be hard to ensure these policies are followed when using a public cloud environment. 

2. Thinking You're Fully Protected... When You're really Underprotected

Many organisations make the mistake of assuming that their data is fully protected because they're using the public cloud to store their files. To their own detriment, organisations may disregard other backup methods or disaster recovery plans. While major providers claim to have redundancy built into their infrastructure, there have been countless instances of redundancy failures and prolonged system outages. 

Having a backup or disaster recovery plan in place is critical to ensure you still have access to your data when your public cloud provider is inaccessible, or a mistake is made and files are lost. In 2021, AWS suffered three major outages that impacted everything from Hulu to Peleton.  These incidents sadly happen, and relying on your public cloud storage for your only source of data is dangerous. Ensure your organisation has another backup and also utilizes disaster recovery to minimize the impacts. 

3. Lack of Security in Public Cloud

As previously noted, public clouds are a multi-tenant environment. Such environments come with their own inherent security threats with the potential to make the entire environment vulnerable. Multitenancy exploits may allow one tenant or hacker to view all the data or assume the identity of another client. Due to security vulnerabilities that can impact your public cloud, your organisation should carefully consider any specific compliance regulations which your company follows as this will directly impact how you use the cloud environment.  The already limited control customers experience in the public cloud environment can prove to be an added security risk making difficult to enforce your specific security policies.

4. Ownership of the Data

An equally important risk to consider is data ownership. If you're operating within a public cloud then your cloud provider actually owns your data.  Be sure to carefully review your SLA to determine that your organisation holds the rights to your data. Many of the world's biggest cloud providers have contractual clauses that lay claim to customer data. Not only does it act as legal protection but many providers earn big bucks by your selling the data.  For organisations with a commitment to their clients to ensure their data is kept private, this presents a series of very specific challenges but crafting an airtight SLA with your provider is one way to safeguard against data loss. You may also consider storing only non-confidential material in the public cloud or simply choose a provider that allows you to retain ownership. 

The Public cloud can be a great tool. Managing it properly and ensuring you're only using it for non-confidential data is critical to ensuring its safe usage. For many businesses, the best approach is a hybrid approach, utilizing an approach that leverages the best of each model. 

Looking For a New Cloud Service Provider?

If you're thinking about switching cloud service providers, consider Cloud Carib. Headquartered in Nassau, the Bahamas, Cloud Carib is a cutting-edge, cloud, and managed service provider that offers private and hybrid cloud solutions. If you're looking for tailored cloud solutions from a reliable provider, contact us to speak with a cloud specialist.

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