Cloud Computing Services can Expand Enterprise Business Solutions

cloud providersCloud computing if used appropriately can clearly define objectives, efficiently implement business strategies and effectively address challenges. All these can be acquired without having to worry too much on cost because cloud computing in its diversity has fair value for what it’s worth.

In addition to these features, cloud computing can increase a company’s agility without having the need to build a new infrastructure. The best way though to move towards the cloud, according to IT experts and analysts is to know the applications that will maximize the company’s benefits. Ways to do this include identifying the company’s application needs, recognizing if these applications will run with the existing IT infrastructure and generating IT solutions for possible challenges. Some analysts call this the three-step process.

This could be the most logical thing to do because cloud computing is definitely here to stay for the long haul. A study conducted last year by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated that 41% of the IT respondents said their companies have already migrated to the cloud through SaaS.

In doing the three-step process, one has to know the right areas to look into. In assessment, it is a must to ask the question, “Why is there a need to move to the cloud?” The answer to this will give a clear picture about the company’s needs. The next thing to consider is the company’s budget for a possible change of platform. Many companies have similar opinions in terms of the budget cost compared with the benefits they get from cloud solutions.

CIO for Hogan Lovells law firm, Mike Lucas said, “Probably the biggest challenge for CIOs is the facilities side of our business, all the switches and servers and routers and storage for the data centers; the thickness of all that within our own facilities, and the cascading costs that go along. There are opportunities to do this differently and benefit, especially now that we have greater market penetration by cloud providers and the economies of scale start taking effect.”

Another online enterprise store, the Betty Mills Company decided to migrate to the cloud to cut the cost for their data storage upgrade. Their transition will be slow but sure though, because their current in-house Linux-run applications would need gradual configuration and code re-writing.

Another online enterprise store, the Betty Mills Company decided to migrate to the cloud to cut the cost for their data storage upgrade. Their transition will be gradual though, because their current in-house Linux-run applications would need gradual configuration and code re-writing.

“We’re not in a hurry because everything is working well today, and we’re well ahead of the curve. We expect to have some cloud apps operational in the next three to four months, and we’ll run those side-by-side with our in-house apps, and move our users over a few at a time,” Vlad Shalit, IT director said.

The pay-per-service scheme of cloud applications look very cost-effective for any business; the areas that need close monitoring are the usage and billing process. Otherwise, if these are addressed efficiently the business will run smoothly, will perform with more agility, will deliver customers needs on real—time and will have room for more innovations and improvements in the future.

The promising advantages of cloud computing solutions are not without risks, in fact, this is one area that will post the greatest challenge for any enterprise. The key is to have risk management practices that are reliable and affordable.

“Managed security services providers can analyze your security logs, and prevent inappropriate penetration or data leakage. Those are valuable services that a company might not be able to do internally. At Hogan Lovells we have managed services for security in the cloud. For example, we filter all our email in the cloud, we don’t have appliances on-site to do that, so we have spam filtering and virus filtering done by a provider globally for us,” Lucas said.

To create best cloud solutions for a company, the IT experts need to set a standard application strategy and service model on whether the company has a need for IaaS, SaaS or PaaS. They have to seriously consider the company’s budget and the existing on-site infrastructure.  In terms of service model, it has to be determined whether the company privacy policies meet the compliance requirements and whether they will utilize the public, private or hybrid clouds.

For startup companies, SMBs and those that do not have enough funds to support a full cloud platform, the best way to go is through SaaS. There are various commodity applications to choose from that are not very costly; it includes document, file and email management.

Vice president and principal analyst for Forrester Research, James Staten said, “With SaaS, the entire cloud stack is all bundled into one: infrastructure, management, installation, and the product usage. And SaaS offers variety. It mirrors just about everything you can find in the application world today.”

For large companies that need more agility to run their strategic apps and run on bandwidth-intensive apps the ERP or CRM model is a good way to go. These companies can also opt to use Saas that could run on a PaaS or IaaS platform.

For companies that want to design their own cloud platform, PaaS and Iaas offer various resources that will run like an in-house server that will allow them to freely move within their cloud environment. This is especially helpful for companies that require elasticity with cloud apps that can run and integrate using their on-site infrastructure.

Lastly, IT experts need to have an upper hand in identifying possible challenges with cloud migration. These may include obstacles with workflow, business processes and data integration. The degree of difficulty lies on the number and types of applications that will be used for the cloud solutions.

As cloud solutions become the standard of practice for businesses the processes and challenges become more complex. This is not a cause for worry though, because the IT industry never stops with their design and development of newer and better solutions.

“We feel more confident doing it now than we did three years ago. Right now, everybody’s talking about the cloud, and for a reason. I would compare it to something basic, like TVs. Three years ago a plasma TV cost $2,000. Now it’s dropped in price and it works three times better. That’s technology – keeps getting better and more affordable at the same time,” Betty Mills’ IT director, Shalit said.

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