Why you shouldn’t be afraid of the Cloud?
If you google “afraid of the cloud”, you will get more than 5M of results. This article will not add +1 to those 5M. We love the cloud. Find out about the reasons why it's beneficial to move your business to the cloud and what needs to be taken care of in order to do it properly.
We've spent years developing software, creating from-the-shelf solutions and assisting clients to implement and manage local installations in their closed environments. To move our business practices forward, we took advantage of the fact that certain legislative obstacles have been removed in Europe allowing us to follow the new technology trends and entrepreneurship models. This resulted in a decision to move our products to the cloud in form of SaaS (Software as a Service).
Technology changes, that involve service migration to the cloud, are usually linked to terms as doubts and fear mainly in the area of financial services products. If you google “afraid of the cloud”, you will get more than 5M of results. This article will not add +1 to those 5M. We are not afraid to use the cloud. But in order to do so properly, we take measures to be compliant from the legal point of view, apply the best practices and industry standards and implement the right level of automation.
We are not afraid, although we do not longer have hands-on-hardware. Well, we learned to live with it! Change of the mindset and the way you are used to do things is a characteristic attribute of a modern and dynamic company. We boldly shake off the administrative overhead, such as license management, hardware contract management, keeping tracks of warranties and vendor support and rather spend the capacity to make our cloud-hosted applications and services more secure and reliable.
We do not fear the financial impact and threat of hidden and unpredictable cost due to unplanned hardware or application downtime(s) when transitioning to cloud. We put big emphasis to due diligence while transitioning our clients’ environments to the cloud, to identification of use cases, service level requirements, security, availability and autoscaling. These are the factors that allow us to build cloud environments tailored to customers’ needs and avoid the unplanned costs.
Our experience with the cloud allows us to ask our customers the right questions. This results in them choosing the reliable cloud provider and minimizing the concerns related to the single point of failure. Still not feeling comfortable? A multi-provider solution or a local backup is a go! Sky is the limit!
Feedback from our customers as well as internal financial results and monitoring statistics show that the main benefits of using cloud based services result in:
- Flawless capacity and availability management
These service-design-based processes are fully automated using the autoscaling cloud features and automated availability monitoring and reporting. Autoscaling gives us the same level of flexibility as running on own infrastructure can provide.
- Cost reduction
If the service usage peak times, service level, availability and security needs are defined and identified correctly, running a service in cloud hosted environment is delightful also from the cost perspective. Switching off the test/development/user acceptance machines outside the regular business hours, downscaling the production to minimal hardware configuration during the off-peak times, using of cloud provider pre-defined OS & Application templates or selecting own cloud zone/region/continent datacenter based on legislative and data security requirements are only a few of the factors that open the door to an effective cost management.
- Flexible service
It is all about simplicity: creating, upgrading, destroying machines in minutes, no commitments, transparent pricing, predicting and forecasting, simple contract management, no warranty claims and vendor issue solving.
- No impact in case of HW failure
Running clustered / high-availability setup across zones and regions make the services fully resilient and failure resistant. Business continuity planning and disaster recovery process have a new meaning. The disaster recovery tests are executed, literally, out of the cloud technician’s living room.
Cloud gives plenty of benefits but it is not only about the fun with it. There are 'the must haves' that need to be implemented in order to make this strategy bear fruit for the company:
- Pair up with the best technology partner
The right way how to prove that you are a professional company for your customers is to pair up with the best cloud provider partner, in our case it was Amazon Web Services – that’s the stuff!
- Design the proper setup
Choosing the optimal HW configuration, cloud hosting model and the provider is only one part of the success. You wouldn’t be able to become a reliable service supplier without an advanced virtual infrastructure engineering and security expertise. Translating customer needs and requirements into reality is the foundation of a trustworthy, long-term and successful cooperation. Using the appropriate data/traffic encryption, defining access policies, usage of multitenant vs. private cloud setup, creation of access rights management model, setting up of data backup and applying the appropriate data retention needs are only the very essential architecture-based attributes that are taken into account along every cloud environment creation.
- Don’t take it easy
The support and development of clients’ production cloud environment(s) is only entrusted to the hands of AWS certified technicians, engineers and architects.
There is no other way around.
- Educate, train and share knowledge
Continuous education and training of the IT staff has become a common cliché. But c’mon, technology is evolving, new players come in, products get obsolete, capacity requirements are increasing, hardware performance rises, … A successful IT provider needs to adjust and adapt, otherwise it’s a road to damnation. To be aware of this fact is nice, but to do something about it is the only way forward.
- Apply the right operations framework
Effective DevOps mixed with the core of ITIL v3 operational principles, usage of a streamlined, cloud-based :) toolset enables effective knowledge sharing, on the job training and documentation across the whole organization.
- Handle the security
Be sensitive with regards to the nature of data handled by your services. This is even more true in case your customers are big players in the banking and financial sector. Any potential misfortunate security issue or data leak may, and most probably will be a business-ending event for your company.
Adhering to these principles, remaining continuously surveillant, evaluating risks, being agile and providing improvements in an accelerated but thoroughly tested way will make you very confident in front of our customers. And moving services to cloud computing will not be difficult anymore.