As one of the most ubiquitous terms used in IT and beyond, the term Cloud or Cloud computing may seem like a vague concept, referred to often but never fully explained or understood. This leaves many asking – what is the cloud?
In the simplest sense, the cloud or cloud computing represents public or private on-demand computing that can be accessed from anywhere over the internet. Instead of this data being stored on your computer it is stored in the cloud, making accessibility easy and convenient.
Why Move To The Cloud?
Whether you are Private Equity, Mid-Market or a fortune 100 organization the need for innovation, industry transformation, and data modernization is driving business to the cloud. Moving to the cloud provides access to enterprise-class technology allowing organizations to act faster than larger more established competitors. This in turn minimizes the need for capital expenditures, and provides a low-cost geographical expansion and disaster recovery option. COVID-19 has really created an urgency for organizations to move to the cloud because it has allowed organizations the flexibility of access control while working to drive down capital resource allocations.
Why Is Cloud Computing Important?
In lieu of creating or building out further computing infrastructure, organizations can leverage the cloud for storage, applications, networking, processing power and much more. Almost anything that doesn’t require direct contact with computing hardware can be provided via the cloud. In addition, with the recent pandemic accessibility for employees has been critical thus speeding up the movement of organizations to cloud environments.
What Is A Cloud Migration?
A cloud migration is the process of moving an organizations data, processes, IT application and information to a cloud environment which can be accessed from anywhere using the internet. Commonly, these assets are migrated from an on-premises data center or legacy system to the cloud, with varying workflows and data structures. This is a complex endeavor that requires considerable effort & resources.
Cloud migration services can provide organizations an agile, scalable, and technologically adaptable solution while mitigating cost overruns, lack of administrative controls, and security infrastructure issues can prevent long-term business-critical problems.
What Are Some Benefits To Cloud Computing?
The blatant benefit of the cloud is cost efficiency, providing a large variety of computing services without having to invest in computing infrastructure. Meaning, you will only allocate costs to the cloud services you use, helping lower operating costs and run more effectively.
Using various cloud resources including public cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud environments, organizations can achieve much greater agility and scalability without putting significant stresses on internal IT teams or existing resources.
Why is cloud security important?
A common question is what is cloud security and is it important? To be clear, cloud security refers to the technologies, policies, protocols, and services that protect a clouds infrastructure from external threats. Keeping cloud infrastructure safe is a crucial piece of maintaining business operations and its safety relies upon not just the cloud provider, but also the client. Our security services focus on a 4-step methodology when securing your cloud environment:
- Identify: Perform a cloud security health check assessing posture and vulnerabilities.
- Protect: Develop a cloud security blueprint for security controls
- Respond: 24x7x365 cloud security monitoring; responding to security incidents
- Assurance: Perform regular audits of access permissions & compliance with regulations, mandates & best practices.
Cloud computing risks: more cloud, more hacks
Cloud computing may seem to be a bulletproof choice for IT transformation, but there are some security risks that organizations need be aware of as they consider moving to the cloud. Over the past several years these security risks have increased significantly as hackers have become increasingly savvy knowing data centers now have increased workloads. This opens the door to a number of vulnerabilities that hackers are exploiting through:
- Cloud misconfiguration or incorrect setup
- Unauthorized access points
- Insecure interfaces or APIs
Firms are realizing the hard way that cloud security is different than traditional IT security and that new skills, technology and understanding is needed to identify and evaluate cloud related security risks. This why organizations should assess the security posture of their cloud environments to ensure they are aligned to Gold Standard policies, identify critical security control misconfigurations, and remediate potential attack and insider threat vectors.
Learn more about the top 5 cloud security risks organizations are facing and how hackers are using these vulnerabilities to their advantage.
What are the different types of cloud computing?
Private, public and hybrid clouds are the different types of cloud computing models that organizations use for their cloud environments.
- Public Cloud: widely used and well-known multi-tenant cloud computing model. A third party provider such as Microsoft Azure is responsible for all then infrastructure needed including servers, help desk, security, networking, and software.
- Private Cloud: a dedicated IT infrastructure used by a single organization. This is often housed at an in-house data center, and not shared with anyone else; often providing the most secure option.
- Hybrid Cloud: combination of public & private cloud environments requiring high levels of resource and integration allocation.
Each cloud environment has its appropriate use case, and depends on total resources available for allocation.
What are three cloud computing service delivery models?
There are three cloud computing service models, each aligned with specific business needs. The three models are: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).
- IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service: provides a standardized method of employing computing capabilities on demand over the internet. IaaS offers a basic cloud IT structure, usually giving users access to networking features, machines (virtual or physical), and data storage. This service model can be beneficial because it provides the greatest flexibility and management control of the three models, offering the most similar structure to an existing IT resources that many organizations and IT teams use today.
- PaaS – Platform as a Service: provides organizations a relief from managing the fundamental infrastructure (i.e. operating systems), providing the room for departments and teams to focus on deployment, distribution, and management of organizational applications. This allows for increased efficiency as there is no need to allocate time for capacity planning, updates/patching, software maintenance, resource procurement, or any other infrastructurally-based management tasks involved in running an organization’s application(s).
- SaaS – Software as a Service: is typically an end-user application or product that is fully run and managed by the chosen service provider. With SaaS, organizations are removed from managing the cloud service or concern themselves about underlying infrastructure management, only focusing on how they will apply the software. A common example of a SaaS product would be an internet-based email application, where the organization does not need to manage features, updates, servers, or operating systems that the program runs on.
Learn more about the three different cloud service models and how each is leveraged.
Difference between cloud computing and remote desktop virtualization?
As more organizations look for ways to transform their IT, business operations, and remote presence, they are confronted with choice of remote desktop vs. cloud computing.
In truth, these systems are not always at odds. Remote desktop software and cloud computing can both be used as a standalone solutions, but they can also be used in conjunction. Each have their pros and cons, mostly surrounding how information is accessed and how it is stored, along with security and capacity implications. You can learn more about these two technologies where we breakdown the differences between Remote Desktop Virtualization and Cloud Computing.
If you are looking to migrate to the cloud, needing an assessment of current infrastructure, or management of your cloud environment – RKON offers complete cloud coverage as part of our commitment to delivering Quiet IT.
As a leading IT advisory practice, our team has deep consulting and execution expertise in digital transformation, security, cloud management, and more. Our industry experience is rooted in our passion, integrity, and commitment to finding the best-possible IT solutions for our clients. Contact Us today with any questions.