The cloud in a nutshell
Think of cloud computing as a new age technological project that is still being understood with advancements being made to its technology as we speak. The idea of elasticised IT resources being made available – on demand – across designated users within an organisation is very attractive, and is something that all businesses should be thinking about.
Cloud Computing typically means:
- Access to large and managed data storage facilities
- Elastic compute power on-demand
- Service Oriented Architecture
- Centrally configurable program applications accessible only to authorised personnel.
Attractiveness of the Cloud
Due to advantages such as: reduced overall IT expenditures across an organisation; remote accessibility; immediate upwards or downwards scalability in compute power available to users; and more secure central control over data; the concept of the ‘cloud’ as a solution to an organisation’s IT needs is increasingly being recognised as the next stage in managing information, communications, technology and processes within an organisation.
Bridging the Gap
The Cloud, however, is not yet available in plug-and-play versions for organisations. Nearly each and every organisation is unique in its model of growth. Organisations evolve overtime and their data and processes evolve too.
As a result, businesses and organisations have varying degrees of needs for the cloud in various lines of operations such as Marketing, Human Resource Management & Payroll, Accounting & Finance, Legal, Sales & After Sales and so on.
Comprehensively integrated systems ensure that the various lines of operations are connected, and combine to make a whole system. And this makes it all the more easier for management needs such as periodical reporting, performance comparisons and ad hoc queries.
Understanding Cloud Migration and Integration
To successfully migrate business or organisational processes to a compute cloud requires not only the transference of previously stored data and files, but also systems and processes to ensure staff are able to seamlessly continue with everyday operations.
Some organisations will need to completely rebuild their systems and processes citing obsoleteness and process redundancies. Other organisations may simply need to build certain sections of their operations to keep up with the advantages of the cloud. Organisations will also require integrated systems that allow data from stand-alone lines of operations to be shared with other lines of operations, leading to richer reporting formats and a 360 degree view of operations.
Benefits of Integrated Cloud Systems
Integrated cloud systems have a number of different benefits for businesses which include:
- Single sign on
- Central configuration
- Elasticised resources
- Open to collaboration across teams
- All of your data is stored in one secure location
- Lowered risk of unidentified security breach
- Improved reporting and systems monitoring
- Future compatible
- Scalability as required.
Traditional Integration vs Cloud Integration
In the past, systems Integration meant connecting an organisations subsystems together, in a manner that allowed each system to communicate, in order to achieve process efficiencies and streamline workflows.
Usually these systems were located on-premise, which meant that the systems could only be accessed (in most cases) from designated locations.
Today, with the widespread availability of the Cloud, Integration is no longer limited to connectivity or communications between subsystems alone. Cloud integration also allows for scalable compute power, provisions for future compatibilities, stricter security measures and better managed data storage.
This means organisational systems that are cloud integrated, are able to achieve – everything that integrated systems deliver – plus the benefits of the cloud, which happen to be elasticity of resources, unmatched reliability and improved collaboration to mention a few.
Preparing for the Internet of Things
Cloud integrated systems enable connected devices to share data and communicate with each other to achieve near-autonomous levels of operations.
With nearly 21 Billion devices estimated (according to Gartner) to be connected to the Internet of Things by the year 2020, businesses and organisations should start thinking about transforming processes and operations to digital mediums.
Sensors from connected devices constantly stream new data to the organisation’s cloud, and integrated business systems are able to process information in real-time, thereby quickening management decision making processes, and bringing to attention whole fields of new data.
Explaining Integration – The Mitra way
At Mitra Innovation, we take the task of Cloud Systems Integrations for our clients very seriously. Migrating to the cloud is not simply a task, it is a business process enhancer that is catalytic to the short and long term goals of a business. However, when integrating systems to the cloud, a number of concerns are raised by clients, that Mitra Innovation manages through robust processes. These are listed below:
- Security – When we talk to clients about the Cloud, they raise concerns about unauthorised persons or applications attempting to gain access to their data centres. While strong security measures are a top priority, other critical points for concern such as Disaster Recovery, Incident Response, Notification and Remediation, Application Security, Encryption and Key Management, Identity and Access Management, and Virtualisation are also thoroughly addressed by the Mitra Innovation engineers.
- Flexibility and Scalability – Clients often become concerned about the ability for a Cloud Integrated system to seamlessly scale as the organisation achieves expected growth and beyond. Mitra Innovation ensures that the Integration platform is designed to achieve flexibility to accommodate future requests the organisation may have.
- Monitoring and Management – Systems that are integrated into the Cloud are often required to include rich monitoring capabilities to provide visibility and control over information flows and other performance attributes. Mitra innovation builds this into the Cloud process when working on Cloud migration and integration projects.
- Open Platform – We understand that it is important for organisations to be able to easily migrate on or off an Integrated cloud platform and also, be able to flawlessly integrate new applications and data if and when required. Building this capability is an important part of any cloud project.
- New Hardware/Software requirements – It is important to fully analyse new hardware and/or software requirements that the client organisation will require after successfully integrating to the cloud.
- Functionality – The cloud integrated system has to be able to function just as well, if not better, than when the system was run on-premise. We require all functions of the system to undergo rigorous testing against desired outcomes, during and after the integration process.
- Reliability and Integrity – Cloud Integrated Systems should be available and accessible whenever, and wherever. Successful cloud integrations ensure that the system is always available and data is consistent throughout.
- Return on Investment – A deciding factor for clients, when thinking about switching to a Cloud Integrated System, is the foreseen savings on IT expenditure when an organisation switches to a ‘Cloud-Based’ operations model. We believe that a Cloud Integration project should clearly indicate the estimated cost-savings over a determined time period associated with integrating to the cloud.
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