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23 July 2023 - 7 minutes

Overcoming Challenges in Cloud Computing: Tips and Strategies

Overcoming challenges in cloud computing is crucial to getting the most out of cloud computing services.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

DevOps & Cloud

Cloud computing is becoming ever more relevant in the tech industry and among other sectors. In short, cloud computing is a model that utilizes the internet to deliver and access computing resources in a moment’s notice. As opposed to storing data and applications on local servers or personal devices, cloud computing enables individuals to take advantage of a vast network of servers hosted on the internet to store, organize, and manage data and applications. 

Cloud computing is a service that’s greatly expanding and can transform organizations and businesses if utilized correctly. That said, it’s no short of challenges for users. Learning how to overcome potential roadblocks is crucial in harnessing the potential of cloud computing. We're here to share a few tips and strategies on how to overcome potential challenges and transform your organization. 

Cloud Computing: A Quick Summary

First off, what is cloud computing? We’ve all heard “it’s stored on the cloud...” but what exactly does that entail? Cloud computing is the online delivery of computing services. It utilizes remote servers, storage, and applications that are accessed through the internet to store data as opposed to saving such information on personal devices or local servers. 

Cloud computing enables users to access and take advantage of computing resources instantaneously because this information is saved among a vast network of remote online servers. The cloud service provider is responsible for the maintenance of the underlying cloud infrastructure, security, and management. The user, on the other hand, simply utilizes the services without stressing about the hardware and infrastructure management. 

Cloud computing services are becoming more and more popular today. They’re proving to offer immense advantages to organizations, including: 

  1. Data storage and backup: in the most basic sense, cloud computing enables the storage and backup of important data. Data may be automatically replicated and backed up across multiple servers, ensuring protection against data loss. 

  2. Flexibility and mobility: one huge advantage of cloud computing is the flexibility it provides to users. Instead of saving everything on one hard drive, users can store data online and thus access it from multiple devices, across borders, and without the stress of data being lost if one physical server breaks down. This allows organizations greater collaboration and reduces the risk of having all data stored in a single location.  

  3. Security: security is a must for cloud computing because through storing everything online, organizations are vulnerable to cyber threats and data breaches. Those risks can be mitigated through proper encryption, access control, and regular security updates. On the contrary, through storing data in multiple locations, allowing for regular backups, and with secure data storage initiatives, data is in many ways safer than if it was simply stored on one personal device. 

  4. Scalability: it’s easy to scale cloud services depending on organizational demands, giving businesses and individuals greater flexibility in determining their computing power and storage needs. 

  5. Cost efficiency: ultimately, cloud computing services are cost effective because they rarely offer long term contracts and users can take advantage of the pay-as-you-go models which bill solely based on their actual usage. It makes the decision to try cloud storing services simple because it does not require a huge up front investment in infrastructure nor hardware. 

In short, cloud computing is an optimal, cost-effective way to secure a flexible and scalable solution for individuals and organizations looking to leverage computing resources, safely store data, and run applications without the stress of managing and maintaining a physical server. 

Applications of cloud computing

Sure, we have an idea of what “storing something on the cloud,” means, but we often fail to see the numerous applications of cloud computing across industries and sectors. Cloud computing’s dynamic aspects foster the foundation for innovative services that go beyond simply storing data online. These services are particularly valuable for agile and DevOps teams. Here are a few common applications of cloud computing: 

  1. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS): provides virtual computing resources like virtual machines, storage space, and networking capabilities. These virtual resources allow organizations to scale their infrastructure up or down with regard to consumer or business demand, without the commitment to physical servers and hardware. 

  2. Software as a service (SaaS): applications delivered through the cloud that enable users to access and utilize online software applications. This reduces the need to install or maintain software or other equipment. Common examples of SaaS include basic email services, customer relationship management (CRM) softwares, office productivity suites, and other collaborative tools. 

  3. Platform as a service (PaaS): as the name makes clear, PaaS provides a platform for developers to construct, test, manage, and deploy applications without the stress of managing the hardware or platform infrastructure. These platforms offer development tools, middleware, and access to databases which allows developers to concentrate on the development of applications, ultimately encouraging creativity and innovation.

  4. Function as a service (FaaS): also known as serverless computing, is a cloud computing model that provides a platform for developers to design, manage, and run applications. This reduces the work for developers to construct and maintain the infrastructure necessary to develop and release an application. Instead, through function as a service, cloud computing services provide cloud resources, carry out a block of code, deliver those results, and finally, destroy the resources such that they cannot be replicated. 

These are just a few of many real life examples of cloud computing services, and each encompasses a wide variety of programs, platforms, tools and softwares. Through these services, tech professionals have been able to transform everything from healthcare to transportations, to file sharing and messaging services

Challenges in Cloud Computing

In order to reap the benefits of cloud computing services, tech professionals need to be aware of the potential challenges they may encounter. Here, we’ve outlined some of the most common roadblocks in cloud computing and offer tips as you navigate this ever growing online terrain. 

Security and privacy

Of course security concerns are at the top of the list for challenges as it relates to cloud computing. Storing everything online on remote servers that are managed and maintained by external organizations should spark concern regarding data breaches, unauthorized access, and data privacy. Learning to implement robust security measures is the task at hand for data scientists and cybersecurity professionals. 

Ironhack’s tip: organizations must be proactive when it comes to monitoring security threats, encrypting data, implementing access controls, and leading regular security audits. Data analysts and cybersecurity professionals need to be up-to-date on current securitization practices and proactive in addressing potential threats. These risks will not disappear especially as the digital terrain is only expanding, thus, implementing robust security measures is crucial in mitigating these threats. 

Governance and compliance 

As the digital terrain expands, legislation is constantly changing and adapting in order to promote data security and privacy. That said, organizations must be in compliance with sometimes complex regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Failing to be in compliance with said regulations could lead to legal consequences, financial penalties, and threaten your organization’s reputation. 

Ironhack’s tip: this work can be complex, especially when navigating sensitive data or international data transfers. Knowing that, organizations should establish robust data protection and privacy protocols, implement appropriate security measures, and regularly review and update organizational policies and procedures. Equally, invest in staff training to understand regulations and work to develop a company culture of compliance. 

Data transfer and bandwidth costs 

Organizations must be aware of the costs associated with transferring large volumes of data to and from the cloud. Often there are additional costs for transferring across regions and if poorly managed, organizations may face unexpected costs. 

Ironhack’s tip: in order to avoid overspending and optimize costs, organizations must monitor and manage cloud resources effectively. This means devoting time to planning and managing data transfers in order to optimize costs. 

Lack of cloud expertise 

Cloud computing services are relatively new and without doubt, they’re continually evolving and transforming. With that, many organizations lack experience with cloud services. That skills gap may lead to missed opportunities, poor decisions, or a failure to take advantage of all that these technologies can offer. 

Ironhack’s tip: organizations should collaborate with cloud service providers in order to better understand the tools and utilize the services to their fullest. Equally, it may be worth investing in training and upskilling workshops for employees such that everyone is up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Button: Upskilling/reskilling 

Complexity and management

Maintaining and managing cloud resources is often complex, especially when folks have minimal training, the services are constantly developing, and the goal of contracting cloud computing services is often to not stress about their management. Furthermore, these resources become more complex in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. 

Ironhack’s tip: in navigating these resources, organizations must invest in proper management tools and train their employees such that they possess the skills to efficiently monitor, coordinate, and optimize their cloud resources. 

In all, cloud computing is constantly developing and advancing in the services and applications it provides. While cloud computing can greatly support an organization through providing flexibility, opportunities for collaboration, security, and cost efficiency, organizations must be proactive in addressing potential challenges that may arise. Knowing those challenges and taking proper security measures, proactively monitoring work, and embracing continual improvement practices, businesses can effectively mitigate risks and overcome challenges in cloud computing. 

If you’re interested in helping your organization leverage the benefits of cloud computing, or simply are interested in learning more about data analysis, storage, and cybersecurity, check out the courses that Ironhack offers. 

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