You’ve probably seen stories of the ridiculous surge in stock prices when a company adds “blockchain” to its name, but have you heard of “cloud washing?” Essentially, cloud washing is a deceptive practice in which a vendor rebrands an old product or service that relies on the internet by associating it with the cloud.
Many service providers are simply moving their clients’ on-premise software to a data center and calling it a cloud solution. In reality, there’s much more to a true cloud solution than the location of the servers.
There are a number of warning signs that a phony cloud provider might be trying to fool you. To start with, a cloud-native provider will be eager to offer you a free trial. Typically, these companies know that you’ll appreciate their product, and they’re willing to take a small loss to get it in front of you. If providers aren’t offering a free trial, take that as a sign that they can’t deliver the goods.
True cloud solutions should provide seamless upgrades and customization. Upgrades with a fake cloud provider will be slow and painful because the off-site data centers or hosting facilities aren’t designed to handle upgrades. They can even result in systems having to go offline.
Fake providers won’t be able to innovate at the quick rate that true cloud providers can; with a cloud-native solution, there should be only one codebase and one platform, making it easy for the provider to fix problems and create better services. Fake providers will have a much more arduous task ahead of them, with lots of pieces to the puzzle.
If your provider or potential provider is concerned about which “version” each machine is running, that’s a bad omen as well. With fake cloud solutions, on-premise and hosted customers operate on different versions, which makes it much harder to share knowledge and best practices with colleagues. With a cloud-native solution, every single customer should always have the latest release — and it will have been updated through a seamless transition, no less. Because everyone in your company should be speaking the same language, this also creates a strong community for sharing tips and tricks as an added benefit.
The struggle to compete in a cloud-driven world is intense. But there are real differences between solutions born in the cloud and others forced into it like square pegs in round holes. True cloud solutions are user-friendly and flexible. Proper cloud providers have major advantages that benefit your business operations and your bottom line.
Don’t get pulled into the webs of false providers; there are too many benefits to lose out on. Here are the minimum benefits you can expect from a cloud provider.
Real cloud solutions feature automatic updates that will ensure you’re always up-to-date with the latest releases and functionalities. With a fake cloud solution, it can take years before any substantial updates are rolled out — just like with most on-premise solutions. And when those updates are finally available, a fake provider will probably install them manually and separately for each client, which takes even longer. Real cloud solutions allow streamlined integration with your current applications and other cloud solutions, with zero compromise to stability.
Real cloud providers run all their clients’ applications on one secure platform and codebase, which makes it easy for their R&D team to focus on improving the performance of all your apps and your overall user experience. Leveraging a managed cloud network allows you to access everything you need through one network and use a single system to manage applications, store files, and create backups of both. Many providers will also offer a converged solution, which integrates security monitoring, disaster recovery, and other solutions so you don’t have to deploy them separately.
Cloud providers will offer multiple layers of security to protect your digital assets, including 24/7 monitoring, intrusion prevention, and data backup. Factor in the advanced security systems these companies use — such as video surveillance, biometric scanners, and badged access — and your on-site servers are starting to look downright exposed.
True cloud solutions offer a service-oriented architecture (SOA) that includes services by subscription, storage services, and application services. These offerings indicate a highly scalable environment, enabling a customizable, pay-as-you-go billing system. You should be able to pick and choose what will work best for your company, and experts should help you make those decisions objectively.
This billing system should allow you to easily scale your cloud services as needed. Expanding your on-premise system would require a huge amount of upfront capital and a well-funded IT department. When you need more from your cloud provider, ramping up usage is as easy as asking, and it comes with more predictable costs and less frustration.
If you’re using a fake cloud provider, you’re missing out on all the advantages that make the cloud so groundbreaking. Look for the telltale warning signs discussed above, and if something feels fishy, take your business elsewhere. Legitimate cloud providers will be able to get you up and running in no time, and they’ll be happy to offer you a free trial because, at the end of the day, they know the benefits of a true cloud solution.
Robin Hau is the founder and CEO of SimplyClouds, a provider of powerful, affordable cloud services for businesses of any size that utilizes a self-service marketplace for easy ordering, provisioning, and management. He has more than 20 years of experience building and providing technology products and services as CEO of SimplyClouds’ parent company, USWired. As an established managed services provider in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hau has positioned SimplyClouds as the easiest way for any business to move to the cloud with minimal technical know-how.