Journey to Cloud

By Sanjeev Jain, CIO, Integreon

Buzz word Cloud Computing has made a remarkable change in Information Technology domain. Today every company is connected with Cloud services whether it is in the form of Email, SharePoint or Software as a service. More and more companies are adopting cloud computing. Cloud Computing is an information technology model that enables global access to shared pools of configurable system resources and higher level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet.

Cloud enables organizations to focus on their core business instead of expending resources on computer hardware infrastructures and maintenance. There are various cloud models available in the market, Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud. Each model has its own benefits and based on business requirements once chose the services.

Private Cloud is cloud infrastructure operated exclusively for the single organization and you have an option to manage the in-house or third party.

Public Cloud when the services are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Technically there is difference between public and private cloud architecture. For example, with private cloud, you will have dedicated server, storage, and other network resources. With Public cloud, the resources are shared openly with public over internet.

Hybrid Cloud is an arrangement of two or more clouds (Private or Public) that remain distinct entities but are intended together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models.

There are many ways where Cloud Computing can be a benefit to solving common business needs. Once we start using it, we will begin to realize that many other valuable benefits that can be easily be accomplished by business users.

With Cloud Computing, we can:

Optimized Operational costs

Adopting cloud computing will reduce the cost of managing and maintaining internal Hardware and Network Infrastructures. Instead of investing in new hardware, one can reduce and optimize cost by using resources (Hardware / Software) on the cloud computing service provider.

Scalability

Cloud gives flexibility for pay per use model, if business scale up or scale down, storage and computer resources can be modified based on needs.

Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery Site

During a natural disaster, power failure or other natural calamities, having data stored in the cloud ensure business continuity with minimum impact on the business. Based on business requirements, one replicates entire data to another geographical location.

Collaboration productivity

Collaboration in a cloud computing provides business the ability to communicate and share data more easily outside of the traditional methods. For example, if we are working on a project across different locations, we could use Cloud to give Employees, third parties access to same files and folders. It also provides Employees to be more flexible in their work practices. They have the ability to access data from home or during holiday and work from home.

Key considerations while finalizing Cloud service providers:

• Service Level Agreements

One has to be very careful while signing a contract with cloud service provider, it is very important in terms of ensuring that response and resolution time defined very clearly along with IT infrastructures uptime.

• Security

Every cloud service provider should implement the best security standards and industry certifications. One of the critical components of security is Log Management Service. One has to ensure that all necessary security and systems logs are captured and it is reviewed periodically. Regular performing third-party vulnerability assessment makes Infrastructures more secured and stable.

Strong authentication of cloud users, for instance, makes it less likely that unauthorized users can access cloud systems, and more likely that cloud users are positively identified.

System and network security monitoring, including intrusion detection and prevention arrangements, are typically employed to detect attacks on cloud systems and the supporting communications infrastructure.

Physical security

Cloud service providers physically secure the IT hardware (servers, storage, routers, cables etc.) against unauthorized access, interference, theft, fires, floods etc. and ensure that essential supplies (such as electricity) are sufficiently robust to minimize the possibility of disruption.

Personnel security

Various information security concerns relating to the IT and other professionals associated with cloud services are typically handled through pre-, para- and post-employment activities such as security screening potential recruits, security awareness, and training programs, proactive.

Privacy

Cloud providers must ensure that all critical data are masked or encrypted and that only authorized users have access to data.

• Contract (Vendor Lock-in)

Every cloud service provider promises that they provide flexible contract terms and it can change based on business requirements. It is very imperative that we define very clearly exit clause which should include financial impact and migration process from one vendor to another.

Since the cloud IT Infrastructures are owned, managed and monitored by the service provider, they provide limited control to the customer. The customer can only control and manage the application and data, not the backend infrastructures.

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