With customer expectations constantly evolving today’s organisations need to innovate rapidly to remain competitive. At the same time business demands can require employees to work from multiple locations in the space of a week. For IT professionals, this requires a more responsive approach, developing systems and creating new services that can scale to meet fluctuating or growing demand.

Why are UK businesses adopting cloud-based services?

With 85% of organisations predicted to be using cloud services within 2 years according to the Cloud Industry Forum there has to be a compelling reason.

In fact, there are several:

Scalability – Cloud-based services mean that organisations can now rapidly scale infrastructure up or down to meet demand.

National Rail As a result of introducing a scalable solution, National Rail Enquiries were able to successfully go live at a time of peak activity (due to adverse weather conditions), with 60% more platform traffic than their previous busy day.

 

Cost – Many organisations are now able to move their IT investments from capital expenditure to operational expenditure, as well as benefit from utility pay per need/per user pricing models.  

Innovation – On-demand access to almost unlimited storage and compute capacity supports a more agile approach to IT innovation. Organisations can now make use of big data tools and techniques to deliver new customer insights or inform strategy and direction.

VitalityHealthVitalityHealth mined unstructured text data to uncover new business insights and open up new commercial opportunities.

 

Productivity – Workforce mobility, increased collaboration and flexible working are improving productivity as users enjoy easier access to key business applications, communications tools and data wherever they happen to be located.

Are security concerns valid?

While attitudes are changing, there are lingering concerns about whether the cloud is secure. On the face of it, this is understandable as organisations consider migrating previously on-premise applications and associated data into cloud environments. However recent research conducted by the Cloud Industry Forum found that 98% of all respondents had never experienced a breach of security when using a cloud service.

The move to cloud-based infrastructure and applications means organisations need to consider a number of different security dimensions. For example while SaaS applications require user-based security, IaaS/PaaS requires that the applications and data themselves are secure. “Organisations need to understand each of these dimensions as considering both will result in the most effective security posture" according to Alert Logic.

While public cloud providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure continue to invest heavily in security, it is important for companies migrating to the cloud to understand the lines of demarcation between their own security responsibilities and those of the cloud provider.

However, according to Experian:

Employees and negligence will continue to be the leading cause of security incidents in the next year”.

With the cloud, data is kept one step removed from the device. A lost or stolen laptop, for example, will only provide an unauthorised user with a link to the service itself. With robust identity and verification processes in place, cloud-based services need not be a point of weakness.

Successfully planning your cloud migration

When you decide to migrate to cloud-based services, there are a number of considerations to take into account, including:

How prepared is your organisation? Our online Cloud Checkpoint review is a quick and easy way to establish your current level of cloud maturity by assessing eight key areas, ranging from strategy and architecture to security and governance.

Migrating existing applications: If you’re looking to migrate an existing application to a cloud environment, a “lift and shift” approach may not always be the best option. Often some changes to application code are required to ensure a smooth migration and take advantage of the additional capabilities offered by the cloud provider.

Operating a hybrid cloud environment: Leveraging public clouds to access compute and storage capacity, or host some applications, whilst at the same time maintaining other systems in house or in private cloud environments, will require investments in cloud management and orchestration tools.

Cloud portability: The ability to move from one cloud provider to another is often cited as a consideration when planning a cloud migration. As a result some organisations may decide to avoid taking advantage of PaaS features and options offered by public cloud providers to avoid becoming too “tied in”. However, by doing this they risk losing out as major cloud providers such as AWS continually invest in developing their services opening up new ways for their customers to innovate in their clouds.

There’s no denying the considerable business benefits of the cloud, however whether your looking to migrate and cloud optimise your existing applications or design and build new cloud native applications a successful cloud strategy requires careful planning.

Key takeaways:

78% of businesses have adopted at least two cloud-based services Organisations migrating applications or services to the cloud benefit from increased flexibility and scalability as well as cost efficiencies associated with “pay for use” financial models By taking into account the lines of demarcation between themselves and cloud providers organisations can ensure their security is as robust as possible

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Cloud, Security, Strategic IT, Innovation