The cloud holds so much promise, but it’s also complex. Thus, enterprise organizations considering a move to the cloud face several challenges in doing so. Some may even put off plans to migrate due to the perceived complexities involved. Is the cloud worth pursuing despite the challenges?

What Benefits Does Cloud Computing Offer Organizations?

Cloud computing offers several important benefits to enterprise organizations. For example, according to a blog post on Enterprise CIO Forum, cloud computing makes it easier to equip all employees with the same hardware and software tools. It allows you to expand and contract computing resources based on fluctuations in demand. Cloud computing also facilities collaboration, increases the accessibility of information, enhances security, and can simplify the process of integration after a merger.

Cloud computing is also attractive for its cost model. Rather than investing capital in hardware and software, cloud computing services are typically billed on a per month, per allotment / user basis. In other words, it becomes an operational rather than a capital expense.

Another benefit of the cloud is mobility. For companies with a mobile workforce, the ability to access systems, software, and files on mobile devices can become a competitive advantage — and it can improve the productivity of your mobile workers dramatically.

Today, virtually all IT services and applications can be hosted in the cloud including desktops, servers, storage, networks, enterprise resource management, customer relationship management, inventory management, human resources management, point of sale software, and more.

For all of the benefits of cloud computing, you’d think all organizations would embrace it. Many are, but some are holding back.

Common Challenges in Migrating to the Cloud

For example, according to a recent CDW survey about cloud computing, many IT professionals are holding off on cloud migrations due to the perceived complexity around integrating the cloud with legacy systems. In fact, cloud migrations put a great deal of pressure on IT departments. Though they may want to modernize, it’s not a simple matter of flipping a switch — especially with proprietary legacy systems.

Another concern involves both giving up direct control to the cloud service provider while simultaneously being held responsible for ensuring the reliability and continuity of the service. According to an article on Talkin Cloud, discussing the CDW survey, “More than three-fourths of cloud professionals said at least one of their cloud vendors has failed to meet a service-level agreement (SLA).”

Finally, while many enterprises like the ability to shift costs from capital expenses to operational, predicting the costs of implementing cloud computing can be difficult — with financial models of cloud computing costs being off by as much as 10 percent compared to reality for 53 percent of CDW’s respondents.

While cloud metaphors are plentiful, one cloud provider likened cloud computing to a herd — and it fits:

Today’s enterprise has a decision to make: run with the herd or risk getting left behind? Lagging behind the herd means you’re an easier target for predators. The fact that cloud service providers can more quickly plug security holes, issue software patches, and roll out new features means that those businesses lagging behind in the cloud migration are much easier targets for attackers (Source: Aryaka).

It may be challenging to keep up, but the benefits are worth making the leap. Don’t get left behind!