Indian organisations are widely migrating to the cloud to gain competitive advantages around speed, agility and flexibility, according to Symantec Corp’s. recent Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey. In fact, nearly all the surveyed large and small businesses in the country are at least discussing cloud. However, increasing complexity and the proliferation of “rogue clouds” – prevalent in about 90 percent of Indian businesses, according to the survey – is resulting in escalating costs related to cloud. Rogue clouds are defined as business groups implementing public cloud applications that are not managed by or integrated into the company’s IT infrastructure. Other key survey findings showed enterprises and SMEs are experiencing escalating costs tied to complex backup and recovery, and inefficient cloud storage.
“For Indian businesses cloud computing means reduced CapEx, more predictable OpEx, easier management, enhanced scalability and better disaster preparedness ” said Anand Naik, Managing Director-Sales, India & SAARC, Symantec. “ However, in a rush to implement cloud, a majority of organisations in India are unwarily incurring hidden costs which can be avoided by taking control of cloud deployments while also minimising the data control and security risks linked with rogue cloud use.”
Rogue Cloud Implementations
According to the survey, rogue cloud deployments are one of the cost pitfalls. It is a surprisingly common problem, found in 89 percent of Indian enterprises and 92 percent of Indian SMEs within the last year.
Among Indian enterprises who reported rogue cloud issues, 57 percent experienced the exposure of confidential information, and more than a third faced account takeover issues, defacement of Web properties, or stolen goods or services. The survey found that top rogue cloud issues for Indian SMEs include security, data protection and loss of confidential information. The challenge is escalating, with nearly half (48 percent) of Indian SMEs indicating that rogue cloud deployments are becoming more frequent.
The most commonly cited reasons by Indian businesses for undertaking rogue cloud projects were to save time and money.
Cloud Backup And Recovery Issues
Cloud is complicating backup and recovery. First, most Indian organisations use three or more solutions to back-up their physical, virtual and cloud data—leading to increased IT inefficiencies, risk and training costs. Furthermore, nearly two-thirds organisations have lost cloud data (60 percent of enterprises and 70 percent of SMEs), and most (80 percent) have experienced recovery failures.
Finally, most see cloud recovery as a slow, tedious process; 85 percent estimate it would take three or more days to recover from a catastrophic loss of data in the cloud.
Inefficient Cloud Storage
Theoretically, cloud storage has the advantages of being quick to deploy, paying for only what is used and offering easy adjustment of capacity, all of which provide for high storage utilisation rates. In practice, however, global cloud storage utilisation is actually extremely low at just 17 percent. It’s even worse for SMEs, at just seven percent. This is resulting in organisations paying for six times as much storage as they need. The problem is exacerbated because almost half of enterprises in India (48 percent) admit that little to none of their data is deduplicated, and 34 percent of SMEs indicate that half or more of their data is duplicate, all of which is leading organisations to pay for storage they don’t require.
Compliance And eDiscovery Concerns
With growing regulatory and internal compliance frameworks, the survey revealed that two-thirds of Indian enterprises are concerned about not only meeting compliance requirements, but also proving it. However, nearly half (47 percent) have been fined for privacy violations in the cloud within the past 12 months. Organisations are performing equally poorly on the eDiscovery front: three-quarters of those who have received requests (76 percent) missed deadlines for delivering the requested information, potentially leading to fines or compromised legal positions. What’s worse, 34 percent never found the requested information.
Data in Transit Issues
Organisations have all sorts of assets in the cloud – such as web properties, online businesses or web applications – that require SSL certificates to protect the data in transit whether it is personal or financial information, business transactions and other online interactions. The survey showed companies found managing many SSL certificates to be highly complex: Just 48 percent rate cloud SSL certificate management as easy and only 40 percent are certain their cloud-partner’s certificates are in compliance with corporate standards.
Hidden Costs Are Easily Avoided
The survey shows ignoring these hidden costs will have a serious impact on business. However, these issues are easily mitigated with careful planning, implementation and management:
- Focus policies on information and people, not technologies or platforms
- Educate, monitor and enforce policies
- Embrace tools that are platform agnostic
- Deduplicate data in the cloud
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