The ‘born in the cloud’ advantage is real, but not absolute
Now that the cloud is more than ten years old, there are a bunch of companies that know nothing else. How much does that help them, and could it hurt them?
You often see companies, especially new ones, state that they are “born in the cloud.” But what does that mean? It means that the company was founded at a time where all of its IT assets have always been and are currently in the cloud. It has never owned physical servers or understands what a data center is.
Such “born in the cloud” companies were very rare when the cloud was new; it seemed that cloud computing’s real purpose was for startups. But fast-forward a decade to today, these companies are no longer startups, yet they are still using cloud computing for all their IT needs.
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These “born in the cloud” companies have typically been disrupters, innovating in their industries. They used cloud computing as a force multiplier, letting them pivot quickly, fail fast, and expand at the “speed of need.”
But now that the cloud is so established and gaining adoption at legacy companies, is there still an advantage today of being born in the cloud?
Generally speaking, yes. These companies have not gone through the pain of migrating to the cloud but have all the advantages that cloud computing provides. Thus, they can sit back and watch their larger and older competitors struggle with application modernization, data centralization, and security as they move to the cloud and deal with hybrid environments of cloud and on-premises—things a “born in the cloud” company never has to do.
However, there is a downside of “born in the cloud” companies’ cloud provider lockin, perception, and cost. Indeed, many “born in the cloud” companies have migrated off of a particular cloud provider due to perception issues, such as the perception that the risk that the data could be compromised by being in a public cloud provider. Or, for financial issues, such as discovering it’s cheaper to use your own hardware and software in some cases.
There is no guarantee that cloud will be cheaper and better, and many “born in the cloud” companies have discovered that fact, even as “born in the data center” companies are discovering the value of the cloud. Having a single approach is rarely the right strategy.
Still, it’s true that it is better to have been born in the cloud and than to be born in the data center and have to move to the cloud. The “born in the cloud” companies do have an advantage, especially over traditional companies that just can’t get things going around cloud computing fast enough. Even if you weren’t born in the cloud, do your best to act as if you were.