Cloud Services: What Business Leaders Need to Know
Business leaders who don’t understand technology face challenges as much as managed IT service providers who don’t understand business. The good news? Merit Technologies understands both. Here are seven things business leaders need to know about cloud services.
1. Cloud Services Are Here to Stay
The upward trend of cloud adoption justifies the rising popularity of cloud-based solutions as opposed to their on-premise counterparts. The widespread adoption of the cloud can be attributed to the pay-per-usage model, which converts capital expenditures to operating expenditures.
While legacy applications don’t offer much scope for scaling and expansion, the cloud provides solutions to these problems.
Some of the top reasons for cloud adoption are:
Minimal associated capital expenditures (low hardware costs).
Maximizing scalability potential.
Decreased deployment lead time.
Reduced errors and improved quality.
Simplified maintenance processes.
Increased adaptability to changing market conditions.
A few years back, cloud technology was regarded as yet another fad, but today it has been widely acknowledged by experts and is on its way to transforming the IT landscape.
2. The Cloud Is Linked to the Nexus of Forces
The “Nexus of Forces” describes technology’s current and future state, and how they drive business processes forward. Social, mobile, analytics and cloud forces (or SMAC) are currently disruptively transforming the business canvas.
Industries such as retail, healthcare and media and entertainment have shown greater willingness and readiness: They need to adopt the SMAC forces in order to deliver an omnichannel experience.
3. The Cloud Enables Collaboration
One of the big pluses of cloud adoption is its ability to provide collaboration between multiple parties. With businesses expanding geographically and terabytes of information waiting to be shared, seamless, efficient and fast collaboration is a necessary requirement.
While e-mail has normally been considered the most convenient and widely used method of collaboration, other methodologies like document sharing and voice interactions have also gained equal popularity.
Cloud collaboration is low risk and high ROI, utilizing services such as web conferencing, video and voice conferencing, meeting tools, etc. Cloud collaboration enables you to get easy access to automatically updated software. Powerful software tools like SharePoint have enabled better workflows and distance is no longer a drawback to facilitating seamless integration.
4. You Are Already Using the Public Cloud
Have you sent or received mail via Gmail, used a Facebook or LinkedIn account, or used Dropbox for file-sharing purposes?
If you have, then you are a public cloud user already. The cloud has made its way to every sphere of today’s operations.
Globalization has also been made possible because of cloud services. You can easily conduct video conferences with someone sitting across different continents via Google Meet, Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
5. Cloud Security Concerns Are Genuine
There are two major security concerns with the cloud, one associated with the cloud service provider and the other associated with the customer or the cloud user. Gone are the days when passwords would enable secure protection.
When a business chooses to store confidential and important data in a public vault, it runs the potential risk of an insider attack due to loss of physical control.
The following checks must be performed by the cloud service provider:
An authentication system must be put in place for in-office and remote employees.
Regular monitoring of your data.
Development of a strong and secure identity management system with MFA.
Encryption techniques to mask confidential data.
Here’s how to protect your business when using outside cloud service vendors:
Demand user access when required.
Ensure the cloud service provider has completed all audits and holds the required certifications.
Ask for evidence of encryption deployment.
Check for readiness to deal with failure and ability to recover data if necessary.
6. Cloud Essentials for Your Business
Here’s a short list of the people and processes you should have when shifting to the cloud:
A CISO. The chief information security officer should be involved in the decision-making process to ensure effective strategic thinking occurs.
A master data-management strategy. The higher the number of data sources, the greater the probability of inconsistency. Design a master data-management strategy at the beginning, keeping in mind effective resource allocation (human and financial) coupled with good governance practices.
Software architecture. Software architecture is designed to support a large degree of multi-tenancy and scalability.
BYOD capability. “Bring your own device” is the smartest way to enter the cloud. Cloud services are at the core of current smartphone technology, and since smartphone users change their devices within a couple of years of use, relying on a storage card and device memory may not be a wise option.
7. The Cloud Isn’t Just About Expenses
As mentioned earlier, one of the major reasons for cloud adoption is the small capital expenditure. But the expenses aren’t the only thing at hand.
Business agility and the rapid go-to-market capability that the cloud offers make it a win-win for users. Even though cloud giants like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google continue to cut prices, analysts say that price is second to agility and speed.