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Top 5 Cloud 
Provisioning Mistakes

Cloud infrastructure can be a transformative investment as it enables businesses to scale, innovate, and operate with greater flexibility. However, one should keep the "shared responsibility" aspect of cloud provisioning in mind, as neglecting those can prove disastrous. One example of a cloud

resource provisioning error that proved costly is in the case of Toyota Motors, which exposed 260,000  customers’ data due to cloud misconfiguration. 

In the rush to leverage the benefits of cloud technology, many organizations make critical errors during the provisioning phase that can lead to operational inefficiencies, security vulnerabilities, and unexpected costs. Understanding these pitfalls is essential for businesses aiming to make the most of their cloud deployments.

5 Mistakes to Avoid With Cloud Infrastructure Provisioning

Mistakes with cloud infrastructure occur not because of incapability or lack of expertise but from misconceptions and limited awareness, which include: 

1. Not Choosing the Right Cloud Service Provider

First and foremost, choosing the right cloud service provider is a crucial decision that significantly impacts a business’s operations and long-term strategy. Opting for the wrong provider can result in a multitude of issues that can hinder the organization's growth and stability. One of the primary concerns is the lack of compatibility with existing systems and applications. 

The lack of clarity regarding the various providers’ capabilities can lead to the selection of a platform that might not adequately meet the organization’s requirements. This can lead to a misalignment between the company's chosen cloud solution and the company’s strategic goals, leading to inefficiencies and potential disruptions in operations. 

While selecting the appropriate cloud provider is important, maintaining a cloud-agnostic approach is optimal. This strategy allows for the freedom to transition between various providers, reducing reliance on a single platform. By adopting a cloud-agnostic mindset, businesses can readily adapt to changing demands and capitalize on the most suitable cloud solutions, free from the limitations of a specific vendor. 

 

2. Treating Security as an Afterthought

One of the major mistakes while opting for cloud resource provisioning is neglecting security measures. According to a Gartner study, it is projected that through 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be customer’s fault. A security breach can lead to a multitude of problems compromising sensitive data, tarnishing the organization’s reputation, triggering financial losses, legal repercussions, and eroding customer trust. According to the Systems Sciences Institute at IBM, the cost to fix a bug found during implementation is about six times higher than one identified during design.

Additionally, it can disrupt business operations and cause downtime, ultimately hindering the company’s growth and its competitive advantage in the market. To avoid such disasters, following the principles of security by design when designing cloud architectures must be a top priority in any cloud provisioning strategy. 

​3.   Not paying attention to cloud resource configurations

Cloud misconfiguration is a significant cybersecurity concern stemming from the misperception that the cloud is inherently secure. That’s because organizations fail to comprehend the "shared responsibility" model with Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), neglecting their responsibility to secure their data and applications. 

CSPs secure the cloud infrastructure and implement logical controls for customer data separation. However, organizational administrators handle the application and infrastructure resource-level security configurations, such as access controls, encryption, backup, firewall ports, logging and monitoring controls, key management, etc. If the organizational administrators disregard their responsibility toward security, it can lead to increased risks.

Developers like to build the next cool innovative products. Cloud infrastructure configuration is neither their domain nor something they have the time for. They need to ship products fast and a lack of understanding of cloud and security becomes a hurdle. Many times, developers view security as a bottleneck to innovation, leading them to take shortcuts that can compromise the integrity of the cloud environment. This is not ideal as misconfigurations can potentially expose sensitive data to unauthorized access, making it a prime target for cyber threats and breaches.

​4. Insufficient Expertise in Cloud Migration

The shortage of skilled talent in cloud computing poses a significant challenge in cloud provisioning. To migrate an infrastructure to the cloud or from one cloud to another requires a skill set that encompasses a deep understanding of the cloud environment, data migration processes, security protocols, and application processes. 

Without such expertise, organizations may struggle to execute smooth and efficient migration. This can lead to extended downtime, data loss, and security vulnerabilities. Moreover, different cloud technologies, such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, require professionals with in-depth knowledge to optimize and manage these services effectively. 

The inability to efficiently migrate to the cloud or between cloud platforms can result in increased operational costs, prolonged project timelines, and potential disruptions to business operations, ultimately affecting productivity and competitiveness. Additionally, the lack of skilled talent may hinder the adoption of innovative cloud technologies and services, limiting a company's ability to leverage the full potential of the cloud for scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. 

Moreover, when it comes to cloud migration, organizations must adhere to stringent data protection compliances and industry-specific security standards. These regulations often vary across different sectors, requiring a thorough understanding of the legal landscape. 

Without professionals who are well-versed in these intricate requirements, businesses may overlook crucial security protocols or fail to implement necessary compliance measures, leaving them vulnerable to potential data breaches and regulatory consequences. 

Ultimately, businesses may face difficulties in meeting customer demands, maintaining competitive advantages, and keeping up with the rapidly evolving technological landscape, thereby stunting their overall growth and success.

 

5.   Sprawl and Configuration Drift

Sprawl and configuration drift are two more significant challenges during cloud provisioning, which can lead to a range of issues within organizations. Sprawl occurs when cloud resources like virtual machines, applications, and storage instances are provisioned without adequate oversight or control. 

This uncontrolled proliferation of resources can result in increased costs, inefficient resource allocation, and difficulties in maintaining security and compliance standards. Furthermore, the lack of centralized visibility and control can make it challenging for IT teams to effectively monitor and manage the sprawling cloud infrastructure.

On the other hand, configuration drift refers to the gradual deviation of the actual configuration of a system from its expected state. This can occur due to manual changes, software updates, or other factors, leading to inconsistencies between different instances of the same infrastructure.

Configuration drift can compromise system stability, security, and performance, making it difficult for organizations to ensure consistency across their cloud environment. Without proper mechanisms in place to detect and address configuration drift, organizations may face operational challenges, increased downtime, and potential security vulnerabilities.

When these issues are not adequately addressed, the consequences can be severe. For instance, consider a scenario where due to lax access controls and monitoring processes,   unauthorized resources are spun up, leading to increased operational costs, increased attack surface, and increased security breach risk.

Consequently, the company struggles to maintain efficient operations, faces frequent downtimes, and experiences difficulties in ensuring compliance with industry regulations and standards

Conclusion

Cloud provisioning errors have the potential to significantly impede the success and progress of a business. As mentioned, the repercussions of these errors can be far-reaching, resulting in compromised data security, financial losses, and reputational damage. Moreover, rectifying the aftermath of such mistakes often requires substantial time, resources, and effort. So, it is essential to avoid such mistakes by following security by design approach. This ensures seamless functioning of operations, maintains customer trust, and upholds the organization’s competitive position in the market. 

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