The advantages of choosing cloud storage for your business are legion. However, not every cloud has a silver lining. In this article, Stephen Parker, of Parker Software, dispels some common misconceptions about cloud-based storage and what disadvantages it poses when compared to a traditional on-premises model.

The costs of the cloud

Cloud-based storage is often portrayed as one of the most cost-effective hosting models. However, that’s not always true. In fact, compared to traditional, on-premises storage, 48 per cent of IT decision makers think that enterprise cloud applications and services are too expensive.

One of the common issues with cloud-based storage is the high cost of data centre outages. Businesses are currently losing $700 billion a year to IT downtime, and data centre outages can cost businesses almost $9,000 a minute. With average businesses experiencing five downtime events every single month — that’s an average of 27 hours of — it’s no surprise that there a certain level of dissatisfaction with the cloud.

One-third of organisations have experienced high costs and poor value with cloud services. And yet, the perception that cloud is cheaper persists. Generally speaking, the initial set up for cloud-based storage models is low-cost, but the potential problems with this storage following its installation can sky-rocket the price associated with it.

Can the cloud be secure?

Cloud storage providers are quick to defend their platforms against customer concerns for security. Despite their efforts to promote the cloud as a secure option, just 13 per cent of organisations admit to completely trusting public cloud providers to keep their data secure.

One of the biggest challenges for cyber-security is determining the safekeeping responsibilities of the client and the cloud provider. 34 per cent of IT professionals believe that senior management teams fully understand cloud security risks — but it’s dangerous for them to assume a business is fully in-the-know about the associated security dangers.

Statistics show that 43 per cent of organisations do not use encryption or anti-malware in their private cloud servers and 40 per cent fail to protect files located on SaaS with any data loss prevention techniques.

Under the right conditions, the cloud can be a secure option for data storage and, currently, 76 per cent of IT decision makers highlight security as their primary concern about cloud-based services.

Compliance in the cloud

With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the horizon, raising awareness of regulatory compliance has never been more important. 61 per cent of companies are concerned about complying with regulatory requirements, and these businesses state that this concern is a barrier to cloud adoption.

Compliance in the cloud is definitely achievable, but it’s not necessarily simple. Geographic location should be a key consideration for organisations thinking about moving to the cloud. For example, if a data centre isn’t in the same country as your business, the cloud provider may not recognise the country-specific regulations the business needs to adhere to.

To ensure you remain compliant, you should opt for a cloud provider that recognises all the regulations you have to adhere to — those associated to the company regionally and those that are specific to their sector.

As cloud storage models have heightened in popularity, many have been quick to announce the demise of on-premises applications. Cloud may continue to fly high, but it will do so as part of a hybrid model. On-premises storage isn’t going anywhere, because it’s clear that the cloud simply can’t cater for everyone.

Stephen Parker, is the founder and CEO of live chat provider Parker Software,