Busting the Biggest Myths Surrounding the Public Cloud

Many organizations are putting their money where the cloud is. A Gartner survey found approximately 70 percent of organizations that currently use cloud services plan on increasing their cloud spending. The public cloud market is growing as well—worldwide spending on public cloud infrastructure is estimated to grow to $120 billion in 2021, up 35 percent from late 2019.

But the telecom industry still has a long way to go with cloud. Many CSPs have deployed less than 5 percent of their operations in the public cloud.

Could it be that CSPs are hesitant to take advantage of all the public cloud has to offer because of some persistent myths? We’ll bust some of the most pervasive misconceptions about the public cloud, while also offering a roadmap of how CSPs can increase adoption.


Myth 1—The Public Cloud Isn’t Secure

There’s a persistent narrative that because the public cloud is a multi-tenanted environment, there have to be inherent security risks. In fact, top public cloud providers offer enterprise and government levels of security, but you are accountable to understand the part you play. Providers like Amazon Web Services operate under a shared security model with their customers, meaning AWS will operate, manage and control components from the customer’s operating system and the virtualization layer, but you own the rest. The real myth is that providers do all the security for you, and that isn’t true either.

In addition, the major public cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure meet vigorous compliance standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS and NIST. They also have the ability to create custom standards for unique needs.


Myth 2—It’s Easy to Move Across Clouds

Each public cloud has its unique strengths. For example, you might find that AWS offers a specific native service that fits your business, while Azure has another attractive feature. Because these native services are provider-independent, there’s not (currently) a way to move across clouds seamlessly. This means that it’s difficult to shift workloads from a hyperscaler like AWS to another hyperscaler like Azure. Some container technologies like Kubernetes offer a path forward in this area, but having both elasticity and seamless cloud transition just isn’t there yet.

For now, it’s best to establish practices and expertise with the cloud provider that best fits your business’ needs. As the industry continues to evolve and offer compatible services, we will see companies utilize multiple cloud providers or specific services they offer to more directly meet business challenges. Until these paradigm shifts occur, companies should focus their efforts on establishing a practice, moving as far into one cloud provider as possible to learn, conquer that cloud and grow from there.


Myth 3—It Lacks the Power of On-Premises/Private Cloud

Another longstanding public cloud myth posits that private cloud is superior when it comes to computing firepower. In fact, public cloud offers unmatched resiliency. Second, for many implementation scenarios, the public cloud allows for faster scaling, as well as greater elasticity and fluidity, as additional capacity can be provisioned in real time. Finally, the elasticity and fluidity of the public cloud leads to lower costs.

For telecommunications companies, their core competencies include launching new digital services—not running their data centers. Public cloud providers possess massive amounts of computing power and are developing innovative technologies much faster than an operator can in a data center. Consulting firm McKinsey believes “public-cloud platforms have more capabilities than private-cloud platforms: cloud-service providers invest heavily in developing new services, and third-party vendors tend to launch new services in the public cloud before introducing private-cloud versions.” The public cloud is an integral component in the spurring of innovation.


Myth 4—Public Cloud Can Be More Expensive than Private Cloud

Like all major transformations, the cloud takes an initial investment to get started. However, just because moving to the public cloud requires an investment up front doesn’t mean that it is a costly long-term measure.

Gartner set out to evaluate the best cloud approach in terms of TCO and ROI and found that while “cloud services can initially be more expensive than running on-premises data centers,” they can “become cost-effective over time if organizations learn to use and operate them more efficiently.” The better you become at the cloud, the more your organization will save.


How Can CSPs Get There?

Generally speaking, it’s better (and more manageable) for CSPs to not take on too much from the outset. You don’t want to try and climb Mount Everest on Day 1. The ideal approach would be to carve up a section of your organization and place all your focus there to start the transition. Let’s say you want to deploy cloud-first solutions for revenue management. With that small segment, you can start with an easy victory, then move onto more difficult areas. Then, you can evaluate what worked and what failed, and move forward.

It’s important to set up a space for safe innovation within your company. Experiment, learn and evaluate what works best, celebrate the outcomes and expand to the rest of the organization. Maintaining progress is key. Getting started can be the hard part, but innovation is contagious and the momentum will carry you through as you continually transform.

The public cloud has a lot to offer for CSPs. From security, performance, choices and innovation, the public cloud has a lot to offer. Don’t believe the myths—believe in the potential of the public cloud.