Accelerated Cloud Technology Shift
The core benefits of moving to the cloud have been known for a while now. Certainly, in recent times with office employees forced to become a remote workforce, businesses that already had their telephony, collaboration and meeting tools in the cloud found it much easier to make the overnight shift. Outlining the key mobility and business agility benefits cloud technology can offer.
Especially now the world of work is changed forever, we’re seeing an accelerated cloud technology shift. Businesses have seen the clear benefits of cloud throughout the course of lockdown. It’s now less a question of ‘if’ we should move it to the cloud and more a question of ‘how’ and ‘when’.
These challenges are further compounded with such an array of cloud offerings and cloud partners on the market. It’s important to remember that, not all clouds are the same. There are several key factors decision makers should consider when evaluating cloud options:
- Is it Genuinely in the Cloud?
- Is it the Right Type of Cloud?
- Is it API-Centric?
- Is the Cloud Model Correct for What you Need?
- Is the Cloud Technology Secure?
Read on as we explore these in more detail below!
1. Is it Genuinely in the Cloud?
With so much cloud technology about, unfortunately some advertised as ‘cloud’ solutions don’t truly reflect the definition.
The National Institution of Standards and Technology (NIST), defines that all true cloud environments have these five characteristics:
- On demand service: available any time you want to use it.
- Broad network access: the cloud service can be accessed via the internet.
- Resource pooling: multi-tenanted capabilities, with physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned or reassigned according to customer demand.
- Rapid elasticity or expansion: the use of the cloud service can easily be scaled. Moving up or down with the customer (or user) demand.
- Measured service: customers pay for the resources they use in each period of time rather than paying for hardware or software upfront. The usage can be easily monitored, controlled and reporting on for transparency between the customer and the cloud provider.
Cloud services are key to digital transformation as explained in our video below.
Genuine cloud services for business should be nearly as easy to manage as your home Netflix account. Therefore, simple to adopt, intuitive to use and easy to leave.
2. Is it the Right Type of Cloud?
There are three key subcategories of cloud technology, depending on the physical location of the applications or services. Picking the right type to deploy depends on your business needs.
In brief, the three general types of cloud are:
- Public cloud is delivered via the internet and shared across organisations.
- Private cloud is dedicated solely to your organisation.
- Hybrid cloud is any environment that uses both public and private cloud.
Public cloud is the most popular type, since it offer vast choices. It’s suitable for core IT needs like communication services, software development and apps and services necessary to perform IT and business operations.
Businesses usually use private cloud for highly sensitive data. It is popular with highly regulated industries like government agencies. Comparable to public, it’s usually a very expensive, with a high total cost of ownership (TCO).
Hybrid can be a very strategic approach to cloud technology. You can continuously trade off between the best cloud service delivery on the market. Therefore, it is great for optimising cloud investments.
With our B•CONNECTED cloud platform, you can choose whether you’d like your solution to be delivered in our private cloud or in a public cloud (Azure, AWS, or Google Cloud).
3. Is it API-Centric?
An API-centric application is a web service that’s built using Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Using API code, you’re able to easily allow two software programs to communicate. This functionality means that you can allow the frontend and backend of your systems to ‘talk to’ one another.
The cloud is required for utilising APIs at scale. Meaning a service using APIs is likely to be a genuine cloud solution.
APIs are also playing a crucial role in digital transformation. Their ability to connect data, systems, processes and people means that they enable companies to derive true value from the technologies they implement. In addition, APIs can be easily understood by all parties within the business. Vital when explaining how key projects will enhance your digital strategy!
You could for example start with one API-centric cloud solution and then quickly and easily plug in another. Or simply just overlay your existing infrastructure without having to rip it all out and start over. Resulting in:
- Non-invasive and rapid deployments
- Improved user and customer experiences
- Increased business agility
- Ability to implement multiple technology principles at once such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation
- Less code maintenance and better code continuity
4. Is the Cloud Model Correct for What you Need?
Which cloud deployment model depends on your business and end-user requirements. It also depends how much you’d like to manage. Just like how you choose to eat a pizza, you’ve got several options.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) are the key deployment models.
Refers to cloud-based infrastructure resources delivered to businesses, to help build and manage servers, networks, operating systems and data storage. IaaS means you can control your own data infrastructure without having to physically manage it on-site (Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services).
A cloud-based platform service that provides developers with a framework to build custom applications (Google App Engine).
Unlike the previous two, SaaS is the whole package. It is cloud software that is hosted online and available for purchase on a subscription basis (INBOX).
SaaS enables easy deployment and is becoming vital for digital transformation. Since it leaves your company in the best position to work on a digital strategy rather than managing and maintaining systems.
5. Is the Cloud Technology Secure?
Often one of the key concerns about moving to the cloud is a question of business security. Of course, it is a vital factor to consider, particularly when you have a remote workforce!
It’s crucial to check whether:
- The cloud solution meets your security requirements and;
- Whether the partner supplying it meets them!
This ensures that the solutions meet your requirements and that the partner is serious about your business security.
Our SaaS applications for example are hosted in Google’s Cloud Platform, to meet data sovereignty and security requirements. The Google Cloud Platform regularly undergoes independent verifications for security, privacy and compliance controls. Meaning they have an extensive collection of certifications! As a partner, we are ISO 9001, ISO 22301, ISO/IEC 27001 and Cyber Essentials accredited.
Optimise Your Cloud Approach
Start with the problem you’re trying to solve rather the cloud technology. This will help to define your requirements and form a cloud strategy that works for what you’re trying to achieve.
Before finalising a solution, consider:
- If it uses APIs to connect your frontend and backend
- If it can be deployed from public, private or hybrid cloud
- How compliant it is for your security and data requirements
- Whether it can overlay your existing infrastructure
- If it aligns with your other cloud strategies
- If it’s simple to adopt, intuitive to use and easy to leave