Rush to Cloud – Considerations
*Drawing by author’s 11 year old daughter
Cloud is the new catchphrase. Almost every product vendor has a cloud offering. Cloud based solutions are great at jump starting a project quickly without being constrained by hardware procurement process and data center resources. Service and availability that can only be afforded by large Fortune 100 companies can now be met by small and medium scale businesses due to the advent of cloud solutions. What are some of the challenges in implementing cloud based solutions and what precautions need to be taken?
Typically cloud solutions are deployed on a shared environment where all customer data is deployed on a shared infrastructure and database. Over use by a single customer could impact other customers if not managed correctly. Several vendors offer dedicated environments and performance SLAs based on specific customer requirements. It is important to understand the various deployment options and SLA commitments. SLA requirements should be based on business impact and arrived at by working closely with the business teams.
Scalability is one of the key drivers of cloud based solutions. Companies can start small and increase capacity as needed. Caution must be taken to ensure the cloud system can support the increased demands of the growing business.
With the advancement in processing speeds, encrypting and decrypting data is easier than ever. Due to the prevailing security environment, most vendors support encryption of some sort.
Specific, Payment Card Industry(PCI) and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) requirements require the encryption of all payment and customer data at Rest and also during Transit. See the section below on data integration for security in transit.
Cloud Single Sign-on
Organizations spent years developing and implementing single sign on solutions for various corporate systems. A single user credential that’s secure and updated periodically is proven to remain secure over multiple credentials. With cloud solutions, single sign on will require more complex Implementation work.
Integration with cloud requires data be extracted from corporate systems and interfaced with cloud based applications. This presents some unique challenges as data that’s considered sensitive should remain encrypted both at rest and in transit. Also, data stored in any intermediary locations should remain encrypted as well. There are specific tools and technologies that can handle the data transfer in both real time and batch fashion ensuring end to end data encryption.
IT Operations & service desk
IT Operations teams will see them supporting systems that provide cloud authentication and integration services. To ensure business user satisfaction, service desks will need to serve an expanded role in coordinating and resolving issues concerning 3rd party vendors and cloud solutions.
About the Author: Siva Ayyadurai is an experienced Enterprise Architect and co-founder of SAVVY Technology Solutions, LLC. Prior to SAVVY Technology Solutions, Siva worked as Enterprise Architect at Laidlaw/First Student and Consulting Manager at PwC (formerly DiamondCluster International). Siva holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from Northern Illinois University and holds multiple certifications, including TOGAF, PMP, CSM and ITIL.
About SAVVY Technology Solutions LLC: SAVVY assists clients with implementing and integrating cloud based solutions with their existing systems and processes. SAVVY is a partner with major enterprise cloud solution providers such as AWS, Oracle and SAP and with Cloud solution integration solution providers. SAVVY is an Illinois State BEP certified firm and can assist businesses meet utilization goals in Federal, State and Local government contracts.