3 min read

8 Disadvantages of public cloud

12 May 2022

Whether you’re currently on public cloud, or considering it, you need to weigh up public cloud’s disadvantages to make sure they won’t disrupt your business. While public cloud has some valuable advantages, like flexibility and no need for initial investment, they won’t help if the platform is fundamentally unsuitable for your business. This guide will help you identify if you need to move away from public cloud towards a private cloud or hybrid IT solution for the future of your business.

A complete guide to cloud's pros and cons and infrastructure options:  Download 'Not All Roads Lead to Cloud'

8 Disadvanatges of public cloud - Header Image

1. Handing over control

Using public cloud services means putting your data into their system and losing control over crucial elements of your IT infrastructure. Security, both physical and cyber, is totally up to your provider, as well as network connectivity and anything else related to storing your data. This reduces your responsibilities, but is it worth it to no longer be able to make these important IT decisions?

2. Insecure platforms

Having your data stored on someone else’s servers will always come with security risks, something that is exasperated by public cloud’s shared nature. There’s no guarantee that your cloud's security will be able to keep up with a forever-changing threat landscape, especially since your provider is responsible for maintaining many different services and network connections all connecting to the same infrastructure.

3. One-size-fits-all solutions

When you sign up with a public cloud provider, you choose an existing package of services. This generic approach to IT services keeps costs down, but it hasn’t been tailored to your business, which could be a nightmare if you’ve got a complicated network architecture.

You’ll have the exact same solution as the rest the cloud customers, with little scope for this to adapt to your business. It might be unable to support your business if your requirements stray too far from the set dimensions of your public cloud.

4. Limited visibility

The view you have of your data will be through whatever portal is provided by your public cloud host. If you want more information than is displayed, there’s nothing you can do. While there is probably nothing underhand going on, it’s an undeniable disadvantage of public cloud that you won’t have complete visibility on all the metrics of your data storage.

We’re living in an age of information, and the more data you have, the better equipped you’ll be to make business-critical decisions. Being ignorant of certain information is never a part of anyone’s IT plan and might leave your business in the dark.

5. Outgrowing the platform

Public cloud is well suited for businesses which are starting out or growing rapidly. But public cloud services are intended to be a flexible alternative to other data storage, so once your IT system grows large enough and your priority is now capacity over flexibility, it’s no longer cost effective to stay on public cloud. Dropbox reportedly saved nearly $75M over two years by moving off of public cloud and into colocation services hosting private hardware.

 You will outgrow your public cloud platform eventually and need to make sure you don’t lose out financially by staying on it for too long.

6. Unreliable services

Even the biggest cloud providers still suffer downtime, whether it’s Google, Microsoft, or AWS. It’s an unavoidable fact of life, but if there’s a lack of communication and a slow fix, then that’s unnecessary disruption to your business.

Ultimately, it’s your IT that matter to your business, so if you’re regularly experiencing problems, your provider's overall performance doesn't matter. You need to be able to quickly access the engineers responsible for your systems when something goes wrong, to find a fix as soon as possible. With a large and complicated shared public cloud system, getting to the root of the issue can be a slow process.

7. Compliance issues

Ever since GDPR came into effect, businesses have been more aware of compliance issues around storing personal or sensitive data. If you work in an industry with a focus on data compliance – like banking, healthcare, or countless others – then this takes on extra importance since you can’t let a lack of data compliance lose you business. The lack of control with public cloud makes it difficult to meet data regulation requirements, which is why a lot of businesses use private cloud, or their own hardware for storing sensitive data.

8. Unpredictable costs

Public cloud services offer a “pay as you go” and “pay for what you use” billing format, which is great for small businesses with variable usage. However, it can cause a nightmare for your accounts department with how unpredictable it is. It’s easy to create some extra workload and suddenly be over budget, which can quickly eat into the profits of your business. This is a disadvantage unique to public cloud, since almost all other IT infrastructure solutions will have a set monthly cost.

Is public cloud right for your business?

Reviewing the pros and cons of public cloud is essential to understanding if it’s a good fit for your business or not. Unfortunately, if your business prioritises security, has specific IT requirements, or needs to get spending under control, then public cloud won’t be a good fit for you, especially in the long-term.

Instead, you could look at a private cloud solution, which still provides a lot of support but with better security and fixed costs. Or you can get the best of both worlds and look at a hybrid IT system, where you can keep the flexibility of your public cloud but combine it with a more secure and reliable IT platform.

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