The popularity of the cloud is looming large in the field of business, mainly because it allows access to applications and documents from any location in the world, provided there is access to internet. The efficacy of the cloud is that it frees up on-premise resources for enterprises, so they can exercise focus on innovation and product development.
People started using Dropbox, Google Drive and Flickr without actually realizing the importance it was playing in their lives. Slowly, enterprises began to transfer their documents to the cloud, and it eventually became a reliable partner for small to big size enterprises.
Cloud computing then brought about a huge and massive change in every sphere of business and service. This became inevitable and irreversible. However, interestingly, there is nothing magical about cloud computing. The cloud is not doing what the on-premise solutions cannot do. But they are definitely helping enterprises grow - by freeing up resources, and by enabling enterprises to scale up and down as per demand. It also enables them to open their infrastructure to several people outside the organization - joint venture partners, suppliers, contractors, etc.
As you may have already heard, there are three cloud computing service models to choose from:
- IaaS or Infrastructure as a Service
- PaaS or Platform as a Service
- SaaS or Software as a Service
Depending on what the business requirement is, enterprises can make a choice from among the three. In order to make that decision, it would be advisable to examine why you need to follow the cloud. Here are some reasons that would aid in that.
Some reasons on why you should choose cloud computing:
Cloud collaboration or team collaboration is one of the major advantages of getting your resources saved in the cloud. This way, employees can work together on their documents sitting anywhere, so they don’t have to be physically present at the workplace. They can easily use a cloud-based collaboration platform to work on the documents, share and edit them. In a cloud collaboration project, an employee creates a document and then shares the link with whoever needs to view that document. The other team members can work on the document simultaneously and save the changes.
You might think that this could be replicated by sending the files through email. Unfortunately, it is practically impossible to sent large audio and video files, and even if they do get send, the delay time is inevitable. When the documents are saved in the cloud, you eliminate all these problems. Cloud collaboration also makes brain storming of ideas possible. So even when team members are located halfway across the globe, it is easy to share ideas and have productive conversations.
Data mining is one of the biggest benefits of following the cloud. It is the logical process that helps you to search through the cloud to find a logical pattern from it. Techniques like Clustering, Classification, Association, Regression, Attribute Importance, Anomaly Detection and Further Extraction are used to find data that helps the data mining team understand patterns in consumer behavior. There is a lot of hidden information in the data that comes in huge volumes every day. Through data mining, it is now possible to garner meaningful insights.
It is not easy to find frequent patterns in the databases during data mining. And the space required for data mining is also so limited in in-house infrastructure because for successfully operation, you need proper data mining algorithms and techniques. You can always rent the required space from the cloud provider, and scale this up and down according to demand. This way you can counter the limitations faced with on-premise solutions.
Cloud providers can scale it very high. For example, Google Cloud computing has more than 100 million servers, and other providers like Amazon, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc. have hundreds and thousands of servers already.
Now that the worry of infrastructure is out of the way, enterprises can divert their energies into reinventing their business strategies. CEOs and COOs can focus on achieving:
- Greater business agility
- Apply innovative ways to engage with their customers
- Indulge in operational efficiency
Values like agility, scalability, innovation, business benefits and cost benefits are making it possible for enterprises to make these achievements.
Companies are moving into a cloud-first scenario, where they can look for ways to apply cloud services to meet the different challenges faced by them. For example, a company gets millions of documents to scan and process. Even with proprietary scanning and imaging technology, it is not easy for them to ingest millions of these documents and have them available for users. The team can use an architecture component in the cloud to save these documents with the help of custom applications. With cloud coalitions they can enjoy quicker storage and retrieval down to mere seconds and keep the load of legacy applications.
When they give up the dependency for legacy applications, they are able to save greatly on costs as well. To facilitate a rapid migration to the cloud, companies can keep a goal to move their services to the cloud. The goal can be 3 years or 5 years depending on the size of the enterprise, and slowly, with the services running in the cloud, you can enjoy better uptime, lower mean time of incidents (when they arise) and better performance.
Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be a quick process, you can do it slowly, set goals on how much you are planning to transfer, and start making new investments in the cloud. Slowly, you can shut down the primary data center, or keep it running if you prefer to go the hybrid way.
Enterprises build a microservice based architecture on the cloud in order to leverage an iterative design process. This also helps them to adapt to changing requirements, and at the same time develop and deploy new features and changes, with zero downtime.
Your websites will no longer go dark nor will your customers be greeted by Error 404 when they visit them. When you rely on a truly cloud hosted environment, you can enjoy the separation between processing and storage, leading to websites that remain online even in times of seasonal spikes, and continue generating income. Some of the functionality may get reduced, but the site will continue to up and running.
The underlying pillars for functionality in cloud service are tools for running applications and processing data through compute servers, moving this data through networking and storing of data through data storage components. A common IT problem for website administrators would be website errors where the users are unable to load websites due to a huge site load.
Cloud providers have their own method for error code trouble shooting, and they are mostly equipped to handle archiving and can act as backend for primary data storage systems.
Cloud providers like AWS and Azure have incredible bandwidth, and they have a storage system that can scale up to several times with a reliability of 99.999999999%.
Cloud providers lessen deployment time greatly. Traditional providers need 3-4 days to provision a server, and then you have to spend additional time to tweak it and get everything tested. The cloud on the other hand, can have a machine deployed in minutes, and this would be ready to accept connections in a short time. This would be greatly helpful when you are running a promotion or launching a new product. If you expect tons of traffic, then you need the flexibility to handle the demand.
The cloud makes it possible to roll out multiple environments at the simple click of a button, according to demand, and this can be rolled down when the requirement comes down.
Do you have an idea to sell, but no proper platform because you find the provisioning of resources and data management expensive? If that sounds like you, then the cloud is the solution for you. So, here’s what you do when you have a good idea that sells:
- Formulate the idea into a strong business concept.
- Check what stands out from your competition, and how your idea is going to be different.
- What are the different ways of monetizing your solution? If you plan to earn revenue from your app, then you might have to make it a paid version or provide a free basic version, followed by a paid one.
- Once you have the app idea materialized, you’ve got to decide how to deploy it. Hiring software developers, and promoting your concept comes later.
The cloud provider helps you with the different options in deploying your app. Once your applications are in the cloud, they can be updated, tested and released quickly. Deploying the app in the cloud is much more cost effective for you, so if you are on a budget, the cloud is the most feasible option.
Security is one of the strongest points of cloud computing. Companies like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure invest billions of dollars and put in several man hours to develop the most secure cloud solution. They continuously scan for security and vulnerabilities in the cloud provider’s user accounts. Continuous monitoring is crucial and most of the reliable cloud providers offer security of the cloud. Security in the cloud is however, in the hands of the user because it is also possible that some of the hacks can be caused as a result of negligence and oversight.
Apart from security, risk of data loss is also quite insignificant. This is because the data itself is saved in the cloud, and access can be restricted; only those users with certain privileges will access to the data. The CSP goes through a series of steps to ensure cloud security and secure weak points:
o Effective governance, risk and compliance processes
o Check through the operational and business processes
o Enforce protection of data
o Enforce protection of people’s privacy and their identities
o Assess the cloud networks and connections
o Having a well-defined and documented exit process
o Adhering to the security terms and conditions in the cloud service agreement
Security can be further strengthened when the users themselves notify the CSP of any breach of their system; this would help in locating and correcting the security breach as soon as possible.
Enterprises that move their workloads to the cloud enable a global approach to data backup and governance. There is a common, geographically shared platform that helps standardizing the cost and service levels. Through a single point of management of a global management, enterprises can efficiently manage data, predict costs and achieve consistency through all service levels.
The provider should have an appropriate back up plan, redundancy of equipment, and continuity plans in case of equipment failure. When the customers themselves understand their responsibility to protect their data, it leads to robust back-up services and resiliency capability.
CSPs have learnt the lesson of providing reliability in their offerings and redundancy of equipment the hard way. But now since security has beefed up, they have been able to provide what they promise - security, backup and reliability. Outages within the CSP are well known, but remarkable changes have been made ever since, and they have progressed towards admirable reliability records. The security they provide is almost the envy of most on-premise operations.
Enterprises can enjoy 100% security if they have zero computers. If that is not entirely possible and they need to have an on-premise infrastructure, then they can constantly monitor the landscape for any threats, build technologies to protect devices, hire top rated security specialists and keep an eye on the networks and transmissions. This does sound complicated, and even the most security conscious organizations would benefit from relying on the cloud computing resources.
This is because security doesn’t mean just keeping the bad guys away. It also depends on who you give access to, and what they will be able to see over a period of time. For example, employees who work as a team will have access to particular documents and once one of them leaves the company, he/she will be denied further access.
This blog post wouldn’t be enough to list all the strict regulations CSPs have to follow, and a good chunk deals with data access and transport. And when it comes to sharing personal information, the regulations get stricter. For example, the HIPAA Act talks about strict audit requirements while collecting and storing personal health data. And EU does not allow consumers’ data to be shared across countries without their knowledge or consent. Companies like Germany have even more stricter regulations.
There is no doubt that cloud computing has replaced the traditional methods of web hosting and data mining. As the cloud continues to grow and mature, the vendors themselves are innovating continuously to accommodate the needs of their users. In fact, the corporate computing environment is also constantly changing, getting more secure, with transformative results, and to know about this in detail, you’ve got to follow the cloud.
Investing the time and provisioning the resources for a move to the cloud is imperative, and it will definitely be advantageous to your business. Once that decision is made, you can decide on the applications you want to migrate and what kind of migration process to choose.
Want to know what your next steps should be in cloud adoption? Let us help you!
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