Cloud integration, Strategy and Compliance
Every business needs to have a digital presence across every platform to succeed. Cloud computing has made it possible for businesses of all types and sizes to have a digital presence. Cloud computing or cloud integration for businesses has eliminated the manual input previously needed at every stage of its operations, be it in sales or customer support. Hence time and resources are better utilized elsewhere to improve the products and or services of that business.
Some cloud services are provided for free with a data cap. Free cloud services like Google Drive, Microsoft Azure or iCloud are mostly for cross-platform data storage and come under public cloud. Private clouds are utilized by businesses based on their service needs. Businesses have the option to combine the models of public and private cloud and deploy hybrid models. But this hybrid approach can have restrictions for the end users who include both members of the enterprise or their customer base. To mitigate any of these data access restrictions, cloud services can be deployed and data integrated to make it seamlessly available to these end users. The pay as you go model is the key advantage of the cloud by adopting and maximizing the reach of an enterprises operations with cost effectiveness.
Cloud integration can be done at various levels including data and application integrations. Servers, storage, applications, and services are accessed through a common network that are shared between organizations and can be accessed by users and applications. The users generally are members on/off-premise of the enterprise or their customers. Cloud computing has features like on-demand services, resource pooling, elasticity, service oriented architecture and anytime network access. These features make it desirable for any enterprise with small or no IT infrastructure.
Based on an enterprises specific needs and data integration strategy, there are three different types of cloud services which can be considered. Popularly, SaaS (Software as a Service) is the most used cloud based service. This is for those with minimal cloud needs. There are two more services – PaaS – (Platform as a Service) and iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service). Enterprises with more complex requirements typically choose PaaS and iPaaS. SaaS is the end user service which most people have experienced via e-commerce sites or social networking sites. PaaS is more popular with the application developers. iPaaS is yet to be fully utilized and is preferred by System Admins as this cloud service is utilized for operating system levels.
The strategy for cloud integration entirely depends on the extent of the services a business or an enterprise requires. They can then opt for SaaS, PaaS or iPaaS. It all depends on the enterprises needs in order to carry out business processes, such as payroll, CRM, billing, HR, order taking, information delivery, sales, marketing, customer support or developing and launching applications. Oracle, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, etc are the cloud giants today which provide varied services as per an enterprises demand. Hence, an enterprises cloud strategy is the most important aspect in cloud integration for any business. It enables organizations to create and use IT and business services on-demand from optimal sources to maximize utilization and cost-effectiveness. Cloud computing enables businesses to act out of the traditional framework of the company through exchange of services. Due to the growing competition between cloud service providers, number of IT services like cloud integration are at an immediate disposal at a lower cost which has today reduced the need to have a dedicated IT infrastructure.
Risk Assessment and compliance go hand in hand when adopting cloud integration services. There are several risk assessments which must be considered when adopting cloud computing at different levels. Especially when selecting the service providers, proper security policies must be evaluated. The following are major risks areas which must be evaluated:
Security and Privacy
Legitimacy and credibility of the cloud service provider- to avoid unavailability of data, providers capability to provide back-up and recovery services, maturity of services provided and implementation of cloud solutions as and when required by the enterprise
Transferability of data to and from cloud to enterprise or one cloud service provider to another
Restrictions or privilege of accessing of sensitive data
Considerations of regulatory compliance, proper segregation of data and service management