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6 Hidden Costs of Cloud and How to Avoid Them

Thor Olavsrud | Jan. 18, 2013
As organizations flock to the cloud—94 percent of enterprises are at least discussing cloud or cloud services—they are encountering a host of hidden costs. These costs can be avoided with a bit of planning.

The survey found that 49 percent of organizations were concerned about meeting compliance requirements and 53 percent were concerned about being able to prove they have met cloud compliance requirements.

Organizations are also struggling with eDiscovery when it comes to the cloud. The survey found that more than one-third of organizations have had an eDiscovery request for cloud data and two-thirds of that group missed their deadline, leading to fines and legal risks.

"Forty-one percent weren't ever able to find the data," Elliott says. "Taken together, those create significant liability."

Data in Transit Issues

Managing the exploding number of SSL certificates held by organizations is already a struggle today, and the cloud is compounding the problem, according to the study. Assets in the cloud require SSL certificates to protect the data--personal information, financial information, business transactions and other online interactions--in transit.

"The cornerstone of cloud transactions is SSL encryption," Elliott says. "You have to be able to manage your SSL certificates in an efficient way. Only about 27 percent of organizations say managed SSL certificates related to the cloud is easy. Many think it's highly complex. And 40 percent say they're not sure their cloud-partner's certificates meet or comply with their own internal corporate standards."

4 Steps to Avoid Hidden Cloud Costs

While the hidden costs of cloud deployments may be plentiful, Elliott says the good news is those hidden costs are easy to overcome with a bit of planning. He recommends four simple steps IT can take to avoid the hidden costs of the cloud:

1. Focus policies on information and people, not technologies or platforms. Cloud technologies and platforms are evolving at a rapid pace, Elliott says, and too much policy focus on technologies and platforms can lead to getting left behind. By focusing policies on information and people, you'll stay nimble regardless of the technology or platform you use.

2. Educate, monitor and enforce policies. "There is an education process here," Elliott says. "Like anything else, it takes time to mature. You need to monitor their performance and have mechanisms in place to enforce your policies."

3. Embrace tools that are platform agnostic. Platform-specific tools increase the cost of migrating to a new platform when necessary.

4. Deduplicate data in the cloud. "You're paying for the storage you use," Elliott says. "Deduplicate and you use less storage, reducing your overall cost."


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