The cloud: a major player in modern digital transformation
Cloud computing is a ubiquitous piece of jargon and one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry today. While cloud computing’s on-demand nature has made it the infrastructure of choice for many startups, established brands are struggling to adapt due to their existing infrastructure and a lack of internal expertise.
Recent research says that, by 2022, over 80% of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) deployments would be in the cloud, reflecting a paradigm shift in IT infrastructure deployment strategies.
How does the cloud benefit digital transformation?
The primary goal of a successful digital transformation is to expand business potential through modern, streamlined, digital workflows. Efficiency and agility are the key attributes of a successful company, achieved through the simplification and automation of vital workflows. Key aspects of your business that you should be targeting include:
Administration – A huge amount of time and money is wasted on updates to documentation, databases, websites, inventory counts and more. All these tasks can be automated through the cloud, freeing up valuable employee time.
Expedite development – Instant access to server hardware is one of the most significant benefits of the cloud. This allows development teams to spin pre-compiled instances up and down quickly, rather than going through the setup process every time. You can also achieve reduced downtime by testing in an environment isolated from your “live” server instances. Once you are confident to go live, you can redirect traffic at the click of a button, significantly reducing the risk and complexity of the development process.
Security – You can run regular system backups with seemingly endless processing and storage resources in the cloud. This can be highly beneficial for cloud-native databases, where reverting to previous snapshots can prevent the loss of vital customer data. The burden of maintenance is also with the provider, which typically results in delivering up-to-date software and hardware that is more resilient against cyberattacks.
Automated load balancing – For performance-intensive applications, the cloud is an ideal choice. Traditional in-house server implementations can’t scale, resulting in processing constraints that can be remedied only through hardware upgrades. With the cloud, you can perform 24/7 analysis of system workloads. Automation tools allow you to purchase extra computing power and storage capacity when system utilization is at its peak, enabling you to scale in parallel with business growth.
Auto-scaling - There is no immediate room for growth with on-premise infrastructure. The servers have a limited amount of resources, thus severely limiting the scope of IT operations. The cloud overcomes this problem with auto-scaling. During periods of low demand, you can automatically reduce the number of cloud resources and provision for extra resources during periods of high demand, ensuring a high level of service quality and uptime for end users. This scaling can be applied to vCPUs, RAM and storage, so all your cloud services have ample scope for growth.
Potential cloud Transformation challenges
Though the cloud has ample potential to boost digital transformation initiatives, there are some issues you should be aware of:
Hybrid cloud design and security - With all your servers in the cloud, you benefit from built-in cybersecurity through your hosting provider. However, you do need to connect these remote servers back to your on-premises infrastructure for a hybrid cloud approach. This poses a security risk, as you need to protect in-transit data and configure multiple accounts for employee access. Your chain is only as strong as its weakest link and this extra link gives another point of entry to the attackers.
At Trianz, we place a strong emphasis on security and collaborate with you to deploy virtual private cloud (VPC) infrastructures that route your sensitive network traffic through enterprise-grade VPN solutions. You can also minimize data access by employing the principle of least privilege using identity access management (IAM). While you can always give more access, once your data has been compromised you can’t take it away.
Technology developments continue to accelerate – It is highly likely that your employees’ experience and knowledge is obsolete by the time they have been trained for the cloud. Technology is one of the world’s fastest evolving sectors, making it extremely difficult to keep up with industry best-practices.
Our consulting teams dedicate their time to learn about these new developments before filtering and sharing the vital information with you. This means you can save hundreds of staff-hours in training and thousands in education costs by partnering with an experienced and agile consultancy team.
There has never been a better time for an IT infrastructure upgrade. The benefits are of paramount importance and the outcome is not as far away as you think!
By Ganeshan Venkateshwaran, President, TRIANZ
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.