Cloud computing challenges of mid-market organisations

Cloud computing challenges of mid-market organisations

Mirus’ parent company, Advania UK, recently unveiled a detailed study of cloud computing challenges facing mid-market businesses, together with an expert view of the solutions we can offer. Our latest blog provides context to modern business needs and common cloud computing challenges, with recent statistics and market research from Advania that point toward the solutions.

Modern cloud computing challenges that can make or break your business

Mid-market businesses face a unique set of cloud computing challenges in the hybrid working world. Without the resources of large enterprises but facing the same transformational demands of security, accessibility, efficiency and sustainability, mid-market organisations find themselves requiring the same tools and technologies to achieve long-term success and outstrip competitors – but often with only a tiny percentage of the budget.

The hybrid working world sees companies needing to adjust at pace to a new set of expectations from employees and clients alike. Where ‘work’ was once a place we went to, more and more it is something that we do – irrespective of location. The tools at your people’s disposal and the services your clients demand must have this elasticity at heart, offering a 24/7 platform that is secure, sustainable and successful. These modern challenges of cloud computing simply didn’t exist a few years ago and organisations that don’t adapt risk being left behind.

The need to build and deploy an optimised set of solutions is far from unique to  mid-market businesses. However, with the financial and operational constraints common to many non-enterprise organisations, achieving a long-term balance of financial outlay and constant evolution against business need and sustainability can be a challenge.

Through Advania’s research, three key challenge areas stood out as being most concerning to mid-market organisations across the world: cyber security, cost and complexity. Let’s look at each of them in turn.

Cloud computing challenges: security

With the constantly-evolving threat landscape ramping up the daily level of risk to businesses, industry experts predict that a breach in an organisation’s cyber defence is now a matter of when – not if. Yet a concerning number of mid-marketing organisations have not adapted to the scale of modern cyber threats. Almost half of the organisations we heard from – a staggering 47% – said that their cyber defence strategies are planned and deployed entirely in-house, with no external expertise at all. This is despite threat actors spending billions of dollars a year on beating your critical business defences.

With only one in five organisations actively seeking out the advice of a trusted partner, this is a clear example of hope over experience. The simpler methods of yesterday are inadequate to the realities of today.

But cloud computing security challenges don’t only exist based on your external view. You may be exposed to threats and security failures internally as well, due to your own attitudes and practices, or those of your people. More than 50% of organisations represented in the study admitted failure to implement even basic security measures such as antivirus protection and firewalls, with 37% having no incident response plan. Incredibly, 2% admitted to having absolutely no security strategy whatsoever.

Cloud computing challenges can take many different forms. While you may correctly be concerned with your security preparedness and response to threat actors, is your organisation on top of a schedule of intense and impactful security training? Do your people practice good password hygiene to keep their data secure? Do you offer meaningful point in time training to identify the security mistakes your workforce is making?

Hundreds of thousands of organisations are in danger – perhaps imminent – from the never-ending cycle of threat actor evolution and deployment. If you can’t answer all the above questions, Mirus’ expert security team are on hand to speak to you today.

Cloud computing challenges: cost

There is significant confusion around the ideal solution type for mid-market organisations. Despite the prevalence of big tech vendors offering tools at virtually every price point and industry, 92% of respondents to our survey claimed that tech vendors do not act in the best interests of the mid-market when it comes to the development of their tech stack. Almost a third believe that vendors focus on enterprise clients over their mid-market equivalents.

By feeling undervalued and considering themselves a market afterthought, medium-sized organisations will have little confidence in the solutions being offered to them by large technology vendors. In the UK, 25% of businesses feel that their needs are ignored by big tech vendors.

Because of this, non-enterprise organisations generally face two choices when transforming and evolving their technology packages. They can select a cheaper, but far less well integrated, off-the-rack set of technologies, or face a significantly inflated cost for customised and bespoke components. This leads to a slew of mid-market companies paying far more than is necessary to achieve their goals, with IT leaders and decision-makers feeling cornered into expanding their budgets to adopt the necessary technology.

There is no correct answer to the question of how your off-the-shelf vs bespoke solutions split should fall. Depending on your industry and focus, you may have a need for custom coding and a unique toolset. Equally, being tangled up in a self-fulfilling cycle of paying for broad technology you don’t use but retain ‘just in case’ can see your organisation trapped in an IT spend paradox.

It’s more common than you might think: in Advania’s survey, when organisations were asked to define the difference in how they would like to spend their IT budgets versus how they actually spend it, there was almost no difference – this despite a clear understanding of where they are currently overspending.

Applying the right technology for your organisation and deploying it correctly can have a vast and immediate impact on your financial outlay. Understanding that bundling various solutions together – rather than paying for entirely separate, individual components – can be a more financially-savvy decision is part of developing a holistic view of your ongoing investment. The key is finding the right components and building a bundle optimised to your needs, which is where a trusted technology partner like Mirus can help.

Cloud computing challenges: complexity

Despite the huge developments in cloud computing in recent years and the widespread adoption of cloud technology, there are still misconceptions around how to optimise cloud solutions and how to adopt best practice. With often already-stretched internal IT teams, senior IT leadership at many organisations are unable to resolve known tech issues. When faced with the need to diversify their tech budget allocations, they opt for the same decisions as before.

This generic, one-size-fits-all approach to IT, falling back on old decisions that may be familiar but certainly aren’t productive or future-proof, is a sign that many IT decision-makers view the way forward as being entirely out of reach. However, the constant cycle of ‘discover an error-spend money on a solution-discover another error’ sees organisations spend far more money over a longer period of time than if they proactively updated to secure, scalable cloud solutions. More than half of mid-market organisations do not regularly review and replace legacy systems, with a shocking 25% admitting to an approach that sees them simply wait for bugs and glitches to appear before acting.

By taking the difficult decisions that underpin all organisations, including when to throw off the shackles of dated legacy tools and invest in future-proof and powerful new technologies, you can begin to demystify the platforms and systems you rely on, and provide a more transparent and efficient workspace for your people.

An intelligent approach to AI

The lack of proper budgeting to improve your tech stack bleeds into all aspects of an organisation’s future plans for sustainability and efficiency. Organisations that can embrace the latest technological developments are better placed to adopt cutting-edge solutions when they become available and are more likely to correctly deploy them with ongoing optimisation.

Conversely, those who do not – or are unable to – adopt new technologies are left trailing in the wake of those who do, unaware even of the possibilities and opportunities that new technology can offer them.

To many mid-market organisations, the idea of engaging with AI and making it a part of their everyday processes is unthinkable, for a variety of reasons. Significantly more than three quarters of our respondents – 81% – didn’t recognise AI as a tool to help productivity, with 12% worrying that AI will put their intellectual property at risk. A further third of organisations say that their tech stack is not futureproof, specifically because they have a huge AI knowledge gap.

These numbers almost certainly prove at least one thing – mid-market organisations see AI as having a profound impact on their industry in the near future, but have no strategy around how to harness it and no knowledge of the opportunities it can afford them.

Tying together the importance of being budget-conscious with the need to consider your technology future, AI and its vast possibilities must be considered a priority when determining your next technology investment and strategy. Understanding the nature of AI – how it can boost your performance and decrease your expenses, the near-endless possibilities it opens up and becoming familiar with a tool that will shape the future of work – is crucial to staying competitive in the market and attractive to new and current employees who want the best tools available to them.

Address your cloud computing challenges with a proactive technology strategy

Rather than waiting for a problem to be diagnosed and throwing money at an emergency solution, you need to be one, two or even three steps ahead of today’s immediate needs when it comes to your technology investments.

Instead of constantly firefighting against security concerns, budgetary requirements and platform over-complexity, your strategy should focus on onboarding the latest powerful solutions that speak to your organisation’s specific needs.

Where cost can be cut, where complexity can be decreased and where security can be improved may not be questions that you have direct answers for, but our experts are ready to partner with you and begin planning your technology future. By adopting a mindset that prioritises continuous technological evolution and embraces the power and possibility of new solutions, you can begin answering your most pressing cloud computing challenges.

If the challenges detailed in this blog are familiar to you, or you have questions about how future-proof your technology stack really is, you can read the full research report that answers many more questions and provides you with top tips to scale your operations securely. If you’re ready to take the next step to an intelligent, cloud-focused future, why not let us know how we can begin to help you make that change.