Several recent tech reports are pointing towards one fact that cloud computing is gaining popularity across the globe and every industry is in the process to leverage it. Cloud computing is enjoying popularity in various industry domains for business support functions. That era had gone when cloud computing was limited just to IT functions. Many industries are utilizing the Cloud's power and still figuring out how it could help further with an increasing number of technology options. The combination of the Cloud with several other technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT), Edge Computing, 5G, etc., will empower almost every industry out there!
Many businesses have understood that if they want to succeed in the marketplace with cut-throat competition, then shifting businesses online, i.e., on the Cloud, is the only way!
In this article, we will see how cloud computing is leveraged in different industries. Let us talk about the regulated sectors first. Regulated means the industries which are ruled or governed by the laws of the government.
Cloud Computing in Regulated Industries
As per different research reports, many regulated industries like the insurance and banking sectors were hesitant to expand on the Cloud.
In this sector, private clouds are usually preferred over public clouds for their optimal security. But, slowly and gradually, the trust of the insurance sector is getting healthy on the Cloud's potential.
Security has always been the concern of every industry, especially in the banking sector. But later on, the concept of banking community cloud made the banking industry trust the cloud technology. It was conceptualized so that the operations would run according to only banking specific standards. The banking sector used the Cloud only for administrative transactions like file transfer, notes sharing and sending emails.
The government and the Public Sector Units are also from the categories that demand the highest security level. Although the government projects started coming on the community cloud, higher security standards were still needed.
After the regulated businesses, let's move on to the unregulated ones, leveraging cloud computing technology.
Cloud Computing in Unregulated Industries
Both public and private cloud computing techniques are utilized in businesses that are not regulated or governed by the government. These are service sector industries. So, here are some of the sectors that are harnessing cloud computing power and evolving with technologies.
Generally, this industry has preferred PaaS or IaaS solutions for implementing cloud solutions. Retailers consider several aspects while deciding which operations they want to deploy on the Cloud and which don't. The factors usually include availability, vendor maturity, scalability, and of course, security.
How could this industry not be listed here? It is one of the broadest and general businesses which utilizes cloud computing's power. People have access to every content, be it of any form, in many possible ways. The cloud service providers and developers are on their way to enable and improvise a cloud-based method for getting ahead with multi-screen entertainment.
In this sector, Cloud usage is for sales, logistics, support operations, customer service, human resources, life cycle administration, product development, and at last, some manufacturing functions and processes.
Deduction from the Article
These were a few industries covered here which have adopted cloud computing technology and learning with their experiences. The adoption of cloud computing will vary from one business to another as per their necessities. Certain features are required by one industry that others might not need, while some standard features are a high priority, like security and scalability.
How Cloud has evolved and changed in a short period?
The Cloud has evolved and matured quickly and made itself readily acceptable by the IT sector. Still, a long way to go!
While speaking at the analyst conference in 2008, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison once dissed the 'cloud computing' jargon with a sarcasm-filled riff. He said that the hype about Cloud is insane and full of idiocy.
Right from the inception of cloud services, it has been tried, tested, developed. It has answered the naysayers who once announced business users were losing control, following a fad, or responding to hype called 'cloud'.
Cloud – A Mainstream Churner
Cloud is no longer at an initial stage, nor it is a risky or novel IT model, but it has formed an integral part of enterprise IT infrastructure. The CIOs and CTOs are very peculiar about choosing the right one from their cloud service providers. They evaluate and deploy the models depending on their requirements to meet the organizational end goals.
Cloud Service Models
As discussed many times on the World Wide Web, there is usually three cloud service viz models. IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. When a business procures cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), the cloud service providers offer VMs, firewalls, load balancing and resources like storage space. Cloud PaaS (Platform as a service) is the next level where actual OS, web servers, databases and development tools are offered to the enterprises. Cloud Saas is a service model which frees the organization IT infrastructure from complex hardware and software management. The software is made available to the client via the Internet while managing the access, security, availability and performance are kept with the service provider.
Thus, Cloud offers a wide range of choosable service models that are flexible performing functions to store, access and process data.
Role of Cloud in Application Development
Thanks to the IaaS and PaaS models, which we saw earlier, application development has become a more cooperative process involving two or more parties working together. The critical and mission-specific resources are built and tested in the Cloud before being made available for actual use. With the positive feature of reducing troops of developers, hardware and software, it also helps in decision making as to what remains in the Cloud and what remains on-premise.
New opportunities for IT personnel
According to Forbes, “Rather than being replaced, the roles of IT managers and professionals are being elevated to business consulting and leadership roles.”
Due to the companies deploying Cloud for business workloads, new responsibilities are assigned to the IT leaders to manage vendors' services. A new IT designation of CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) is gaining importance because of this mutual shift. The IT leaders work closely with cloud vendors and users, taking an active part in IT's strategic planning.
Cloud is Personal and is Mobile
With IoT changing the world around us with more connected devices and access to information, the Cloud plays a significant role in solving many humans' problems. It gives them freedom of mobility, and they can switch between devices, i.e. desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone devices, throughout the day without hampering the professional tasks. Personal data like images, to-do list, travel plans or other critical information such as soft copies of Government IDs, payslips, bank statements etc., is stored in the Cloud and can be accessed when needed.
Auto-scaling and Pay-as-you-Go Trends
The leading market players of cloud services have developed an intelligent cloud computing architecture for business enterprises. Auto scalability is a feature where the Cloud supplies RAM, CPU, bandwidth etc., dynamically according to the high needs. The pay-as-you-go-trend is a widely welcomed, cost-effective feature of Cloud. It maintains transparency in billing, and enterprises get billed depending upon the actual usage of resources.
Now, Larry Elison doesn't make fun of 'Cloud', but quotes 'Oracle's future is in the cloud' but has challenged its rivals with its own Oracle Cloud. It can be concluded that the Cloud has evolved and changed the world around you in a brief span since its introduction. The IT sector is readily accepting the technology and leveraging the Cloud to their benefit. It has a long way to go with the advancements and developments to be worked on.
Is Cloud Migration Going to Grow in the Future?
What is Cloud Migration?
Cloud Migration is the process that refers to moving/migrating the data, resources, and servers from a physical environment to the cloud infrastructure. The migration can also be from one cloud service provider to another, known as cloud-to-cloud migration. Another type of migration is reverse cloud migration or un-clouding or de-clouding, in which applications and data are shifted back in a local data centre. Migrating to the Cloud is not an easy task, and therefore, a correct plan with proper solutions is exceptionally vital. Especially for the SMEs, this migration task is tension-giving because they lack resources and force. Planning of the final goal and can help in deciding the target servers for the migration servers. The migration plan should be such that it delivers optimum agility, efficiency, and cost-saving ability.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Migration?
The Pros –
- Super Scalable
The scalability and flexibility, which the Cloud provides, are beyond comparison. You don't need to fear the upcoming infrastructure. The Cloud can scale the resources as per the exact requirement.
- Lower Costs
Profits are not just determined by how much revenues are generated but also by how much amount money is saved. Migrating to Cloud reduces the costs by lowering the CapEx and OpEx as it utilizes resources as per the requirement, and hence you pay only for what you consume.
- Automation Makes Everything Easy
The IT staff has got better tasks to do than always worrying about taking backups of several applications and websites. The cloud applications update themselves in the backend without interference, thus improving stability.
- Enhanced Storage Space
The vast amount of storage is what every organization needs, which the Cloud provides. The Cloud and increased storage space's security at a very reasonable cost makes this situation a win-win one.
- Increased Flexibility in Operations.
The testing and deploying phase of an application becomes quick and fast due to the increased flexibility. The IT Team doesn't need to install and deploy the applications manually.
- High Mobility
Employees can access the data from anywhere, at any time through any internet-connected device. Security is still maintained in most of the vulnerable conditions.
The Cons –
- The Sensitivity of Data
The data in the Cloud is of the clients and is highly sensitive irrespective of the quantity. While migrating, there is quite a chance of data leakage or data loss. Hence, the process of cloud migration is very time-intensive and requires complete planning, evaluation, and attention.
- Security Issues
Security would be an issue in all the industries of the world. This is because every time we upgrade the solutions, the attackers come up with new threats. But, the answer will always be developing counter-attacks.
The interoperability issues are unavoidable, and hence it is one of the biggest challenges. This happens because every application vendor uses the Cloud in its way. Therefore the communication between the individual applications gets tougher. A single code can't work for all the applications, and therefore if there is a high factor of dependency, then the interoperability issue should be kept in mind.
- The Cost and Time for the Migration
For the migration of a complete enterprise, the time and cost will be involved in a reasonable amount. Both of these things should be considered and evaluated while making the plan. Also, everyone will take time to get the hang of it. Therefore, productivity and costs can get hampered in the initial phases, but they can go smooth later on.
The Process in Brief
The plan of a process depends upon the size of the enterprise, type of migration, and the particular resources to which the business wants to move. The standard components of the cloud migration strategy include evaluating performance and security requirements and selecting a cloud provider. Also, the planning of costs and organizational changes is necessary.
While there are many positives, but while migrating, an organization needs to consider the negatives. The major issues like data integrity, security, application, data portability, disaster recovery, and interoperability can take a toll on the organization. If these things aren't planned, the company can face more losses than ever, instead of the multiple benefits of the Cloud.
The details of migration decide how the enterprise chooses to move the application onto a new hosting environment with no loss. In the case of the lift-and-shift migration, everything shall be transferred without modifications. But considering other issues, making changes to the architecture or code can prove more beneficial before migration.
If the transfer has to be done from the local data centre to a public cloud, some other options need to be considered. Factors like usage of the public Internet, offline transfer mode, and the connection type (private or dedicated) matter a lot. The organization moves its local data to an appliance and manually sends that application to the cloud service provider. Finally, they upload the data to the Cloud. Whether the migration would be online or offline depends on the type and quantity of data, plus the time-based urgency for the migration.
Effective Ways to Alleviate Cloud Migration Challenges and Gain Benefits
People ask questions like, "if there are so many advantages, then why the cloud is not everywhere?' Well, apart from the several reasons stated here, the main reason for the slow adoption of Cloud is the non-surety and non-clarity about the solutions to challenges
Take a look at the solutions to the existing problems.
- Encryption is Must
This is obvious. Encryption keeps security attacks at bay. Therefore, the file format should be encrypted strongly so that even if data theft happens, the files shouldn't get decrypted, as that could lead to dangerous outcomes. Various technologies can help you in protecting your data.
- Schedule Periodic Backups
No one can deny the importance of regular backups. Even if it is expensive, it is nothing to recover the lost data and the tremendous amount of trauma caused at that time.
- Take help from the skilled personnel
You should take the guidance of experts whenever doing such essential and risky actions. By taking the skilled personnel's service, you won't face the troubles you are likely to get from the less qualified and experienced people. You need to choose the cloud service provider who can offer you services as per your need, plans, goals, and company's size
- Analyze the risks
Security was, is, and always be the prime concern when migrating the Cloud data and applications. The Cloud gives accessibility, scalability, and flexibility, but also it shows vulnerability. You need to find a trustworthy cloud service organization that can take responsibility.
- Plan the budget
Even small things require budget planning, and now data migration is a huge task to do, which requires proper planning. Ensure that you and your service provider are transparent about it and the profit percentage is more than the estimated loss percentage (if some things go wrong, there are exceptions always)