Ensuring Your Cloud Hosting Solution is Future-Proof 20-Nov-2014
/// Future-proofing’ has long been a low priority on the scale of mission critical objectives for an IT organization. However, with an increasing reliance on technology to remain competitive, fast-moving advancements and obsolescence of outdated technologies, future-proofing has emerged as a very real issue for business scalability.
Ensuring your businesses infrastructure is future-proof should be a key consideration in your IT strategy. Loss of vital data, failure of business-critical applications or website downtime could be damaging and costly. Shifting to the cloud solutions offers ideal opportunities to remain relevant or even ahead of the curve.
Cloud computing is becoming the infrastructure solution of choice for businesses worldwide. It’s a convenient, reliable and flexible option with a plethora of benefits. Of course it has particular appeal for multi-national organizations conducting business around the world. But at the other end of the scale it also reduces some of the initial IT costs for start-ups. The sheer volume of businesses using the cloud means it’s already a big money industry, which ensures there will be constant innovation and advancement in order to capitalize on its popularity. Keeping abreast of these advancements will be vital to business success.
One of the major hurdles the cloud hosting industry has had to navigate is security. For any organization with key intellectual properties and customer information, deploying all data and applications to a third party is a scary notion. Cyber-criminality is constantly evolving with new ways to hack systems literally flooding the Internet on a daily basis. As a result, security is a major area where quick advancements will be made to enforce resilient system design, architecture and management. While data encryption will be fundamental, the physical security of data centers is also critical. World-class tier 4 data centers now frequently require biometric scans in addition to electronic passes to permit physical access to facilities.
Hybrid cloud computing is something many businesses are already excited about. By enhancing internal infrastructure and applications, it’s expected to help businesses become more efficient by optimizing business process performance. Cloud hosts are also offering single-pane-of-glass portal access for better engagement and real-time insights. And mobile access is becoming more and more commonplace, as trust in mobile devices and their security increases.
The ‘real-time’ aspect of data analysis is also a key benefit of cloud computing, allowing companies to store more information than ever before, and providing fast and easy access and insights. As organizations tap into Big Data and leverage it across multiple silos of workflow, they achieve previously impossible levels of collaboration. The evolution of business applications will change this even further, enabling companies to capture and run predictive analytics on huge quantities of data in real-time, cost-effectively and without fear of such processes negatively impacting the rest of the business.
Low-power processors will make data centers much more affordable in future, allowing cloud service providers to deploy multiple facilities around the world in different time zones. This will have a significant impact on uptime, with some estimating they will be able to offer a 99.999% uptime guarantee – virtually eliminating concern about downtime.
Another development we will see more of is predictive technology and software, which is expected to all but abolish responsive monitoring. The concept is that if you can foresee disaster and avert it, you can mitigate any damage to systems or the business overall. This is another feature that will appreciably reduce the likelihood of downtime.
All of these advancements will have a positive impact on business, provided we establish the right IT infrastructure. If you’re relying on third party hosting or a cloud service provider, it’s easy to get complacent and assume your hosting partner is taking care of everything for you. But you can’t count on that.
Be sure to keep abreast of the latest advancements. There are hundreds of blogs and magazines online talking about the next best developments in cloud computing. Set up Google Alerts or an RSS feed and put some time aside each week to make sure you’re up to speed.
It’s important to keep in regular contact with your cloud host, too. They should do this as part of their customer care package, but if you want to initiate a conversation, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Ask them what they’re doing to ensure their services are future-proof and if there are any services they offer that you’re not currently taking advantage of. And periodically, it’s best practice to go out and see what other providers are offering. You don’t have to make a move, but it’s good to know what’s out there and how it stacks up to your current partner.