As experts predicted back in 2017, the cloud did dominate 2018 and that’s just the beginning. As a matter of fact, it is now the top IT budget priority in 2019 for organizations. There used to be cloud security concerns due to which many organizations were reluctant to shift their workloads off-premises. But today most companies realized that cloud is relatively safe to move data, applications, and infrastructure to.

The surprising fact is that many organizations have started moving to the cloud just for better security. Cloud-based security solutions are widely available now that offer not just enhanced security for employees and staff working remotely but also greater scalability and flexibility. Reduced complexity is an added bonus.

A report from Forcepoint also noted these facts and also pointed out that the overall ease and speed of deployment, lower hardware and support costs, and great technical support keep enticing more organizations to migrate to the cloud offered popular cloud service providers.

Speaking of, the key to leveraging the cloud effectively lies mostly on the cloud service provider. And finding the right one is a challenge in itself. Apart from this, there are several misconceptions that still surround the cloud deterring organizations who are considering the option.

This blog explores a few major cloud security myths which should give your business an idea of how your ideal cloud solution should be.

Security certifications matter only for compliance teams

That’s now how it is. Companies preparing to move to the cloud should ensure that their cloud-based security providers have the requisite certifications before signing the contract. If the cloud provider doesn’t show certificates, you can’t be sure that they are complying with industry and government security standards.

For instance, the cloud provider should have controls implemented for PII data. This is a GDPR compliance requirement. If they don’t have the certifications to assure you, it’s better to seek service from a company with all the required certifications.

Cloud-provider data centers have better security than private data centers

Many cloud-service providers claim to have a more secure infrastructure compared to private data centers. But this isn’t necessarily the case for every cloud-service provider out there. Ultimately it all comes down to their data center security practices. Security managers should have tight security protocols in place including encryption and data loss prevention.

Last year, we saw a number of companies submitting themselves for audit from reputed cyber-security auditors as a means to assure potential customers of their robust security standards and policies.

More data centers = More service performance

On the contrary, the number of data centers doesn’t directly impact the cloud service performance. It is simply seen as a great approach to safeguard data during any kind of failures or outages. Microsoft Azure serves as a great example here. Azure has 30 data centers across the globe. There are smaller cloud services that have even more data centers but still cannot match the performance offered by Azure.

Cloud service security doesn’t impact cyber-insurance

Cyber-insurance is a big deal now as more companies have started investing in it. Forcepoint’s report found that, last year, US insurers earned an estimated $1 billion in cyber premiums. If your cloud service provider can show certifications to assure their robust security standards and data protection policies, you won’t be paying high cyber-insurance premium. This point also emphasizes the value of the cloud in today’s tech market.

You won’t know how your data are being used

This depends on the cloud service provider and their reputation when it comes to upholding data privacy. Your company has no other option but to trust your cloud service provider and the people they have employed to manage your service. It’s not that hard to track what the in-house staff are doing with the data. But you can’t be sure how the service provider is using the data.

Nevertheless, you can still get an idea of how the data are being accessed by asking the provider to furnish audit logs. You will know who accessed your data. Providers can also show you proof that they perform the necessary background checks and have suitable clearance.

The cloud demands too much resources

This myth is what deters startups and SMBs from migrating to the cloud. For such businesses, data management is quite hassle-free from the operational point of view considering the fact that their office management solutions and data are all managed by an on-premises server. However, when it’s time to update the server, the server administrator of the business will have to take the server down, perform the update, edit configurations, and leave room to add more servers as the business grows.

A cloud service virtually eliminates the need for in-house server management and maintenance. This leaves a good chunk of the organization’s resources intact so they can be utilized for other critical tasks. To conclude, cloud services typically require fewer resources. But this also means the in-house IT team will mostly be unaware of how the service is being managed and monitored.

No data breaches if the cloud provider ensures the best security

Cloud service providers will have their own team of security experts who will manage and implement data security controls. But it doesn’t mean your organization shouldn’t invest in a solid security strategy and policy. The cloud service provider is responsible for keeping the cloud infrastructure secure and safe. But it’s your organization’s responsibility to secure the data while they are being transferred to and from the cloud.

Conclusion

The rapid growth of the cloud over the past couple of years also painted a big crosshair on it for cyber-criminals. The cloud is seen as a challenge by them now which means cloud providers have to double the effort to improve security in the coming times. The cloud does come with a multitude of benefits but your organization is still not completely safe from data breaches. Cloud security is a responsibility that falls on both your organization’s and the cloud provider’s shoulders.

As for cloud solutions that can augment your organization from the inside out, AOT is here to help. Talk to our experts to learn how our cloud expertise can help your organization leverage the cloud for faster growth and better security.

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Due to the dynamic technological advances in today’s digital age, the software development and QA team face continual pressure to deliver top notch quality software in a short delivery time. In such scenarios, the QA team can leverage automation technologies to get things done faster and more effectively. However, test automation itself is fraught with many challenges. And this is where the cloud makes a difference today.

The proliferation of the cloud and the increased adoption of Agile workflows by organizations subsequently increased the demand for solid test automation strategies by QA professionals.

If Forrester’s prediction becomes true, the total global public cloud market will cross $175 billion this year. The cloud testing market on the other hand is project to cross $10 billion alone by 2022 according to the forecast by marketsandmarkets.com

With the cloud offering more flexibility than ever in addition to unique services that in fact accelerate digital transformation in an enterprise, it is no surprise that cloud test automation is gaining momentum each day.

Let’s explore the benefits of cloud test automation in enterprises.

Supports pretty much ‘everything’

This ‘everything’ includes platforms, devices, and even browsers. Essentially, cloud test automation facilitates testing on multiple platforms in parallel unlike traditional testing where they are done one after the other. As a matter of fact, parallel testing is one of the most important features of cloud test automation helping the QA team cover many devices, versions, and platforms at the same time, thus saving a lot of time for the entire testing process.

Additional benefits include quicker turnaround when it comes to deployments, and overall much faster and effective testing ideal for an Agile ecosystem. Many cloud automation providers also offer access to a plethora of virtualized testing resources.

Redefines real-time collaboration

Cloud test automation also facilitates effective real-time collaboration. One great example to this is the popular cloud-based test automation tool, Selenium. In addition to great flexibility, one of the main features of Selenium is that it provides real-time collaboration for enterprises with teams scattered across different parts of the globe.

Most cloud test automation services ensures easier collaboration for the testers while providing greater accessibility to testing tools, reports, and suites. The practice complements the DevOps culture so well that the delivery pipeline would be seamlessly automated leading to increased productivity as well as reusability of test components.

Cost-effective testing

Back in the days, cloud technologies did not have a reasonable price tag for many businesses, and proved affordable only for big companies. This is not the case now, as the comparatively lower cost of cloud is now one of the most compelling factors contributing to its increasing adoption. This also applies to cloud test automation today.

A good portion of defects in testing can be attributed to a poor configuration of test environments. This is not a concern if it’s cloud-based testing, which is why it’s safe to say that cloud testing can indeed reduce operational and capital costs. However, services differ depending on the service providers. It’s obviously a good idea to rely on reputed cloud service providers that can responsibly build, execute, configure, and update the environment as required.

Quicker and more efficient

In addition to the natural benefits of the cloud, cloud-based automation itself considerably improves accuracy and efficiency of the testing process, and ensures great quality and high efficacy of the software application. Cloud test automation further augments itself in an Agile ecosystem by facilitating extensive customization so as to improve user experience.

Even if the components in the cloud are distributed across the globe, they can all be automatically updated. The resulting seamless data access and automated actions significantly improves the test cycle.

Faster deployment

With cloud test automation effectively facilitating real-time collaboration, the cloud’s inherent flexibility, and the transparency with various teams (both QA and development), it becomes easier to fix anomalies. Developers would be able to mitigate tasks efficiently, and fix identified issues right in the early stages within the cloud itself. The QA team would know what’s going on. Cycle time is essentially reduced which translates to faster application deployment.

Conclusion

Cloud-powered testing tools have already gone mainstream, and are now commonly used for performance and load testing. The scaling capacity, pay-as-you-go pricing model, and the overall speed boost granted by the cloud makes it a feasible option for businesses competing to deliver desired results in the shortest time.

Experienced cloud platform managers can help integrate cloud test automation to your business environment effectively. It’s safe to say that cloud testing is in fact the testing approach of the future for enterprises.

If you want to leverage cloud automation capabilities with solutions personalized for your business, AoT technologies is the right place to be. We have the team, resources, and raw potential to digitally mold the cloud to fit right in with your business driven by innovative AI-powered digital solutions. Feel free to contact us to understand how we can change your business.

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The cloud kept evolving over the years, and ‘Multi Cloud’ is widely anticipated to be its next evolution. Public and hybrid clouds have become much more important in modern IT infrastructure owing to the rising prominence of Software-as-a-service (SaaS). Multi cloud is expected to fill more gaps in the coming years.

Multi cloud

It’s not to be confused with hybrid cloud, and is basically a combination of a number of cloud technologies from multiple public clouds to meet the changing needs of businesses in the modern age. Multi cloud typically is not specific to a single vendor. Hybrid cloud, on the other hand, is a cloud architecture that blends public and private clouds.

The rise of multi cloud began when enterprises tried to avoid dependence on a single public cloud provider, and instead choosing specific services from each public cloud provider.

Last year IDC predicted that over 85% of IT organizations will adopt multi-cloud architectures by 2018.

One of the biggest benefits of adopting a multi cloud approach is that it boosts innovation. The right combination of cloud technologies enable different departments in an IT organization to adopt cutting-edge applications both to balance workloads and to accelerate digital transformation. The cloud is known for the flexibility it grants an enterprise. When multiple cloud technologies are combined, the same flexibility would be present while offering optimal conditions for the best performance.

If it’s an eCommerce business, there can be a highly scalable cloud platform and a different cloud technology to balance as well as meet the large storage demands of a data-intensive workload.

Behind the multi cloud trend

Cloud computing, with each evolution, became more sophisticated as well. Back when it began, the vision for the technology was to place workloads on a single cloud be it private or public. Times have changed. Today, hybrid cloud architecture grants more flexibility and benefits to businesses in addition to many choices that augment how the business digitally operates in more ways than one.

There are many viable public cloud options now including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Tech corporates like Google and Oracle have joined the fray, presenting enterprises with many options. With so many options available, many enterprises started experimenting by combining various cloud technologies either through architectural processes or through ‘shadow IT’ where groups in an enterprise used public cloud services without explicit organizational approval. Regardless of the method adopted, many organizations today use multi cloud infrastructures.

However, managing multi cloud environments presents a lot of challenges and complexity that many organizations may struggle to tackle. With help from cloud service brokers or using cloud management tools, they can somewhat reduce the complexity though they will only be able to use a subset of features from each cloud instead.

Multi cloud management and deployment

Though multi cloud provides more flexibility, control, and security, the downside is that there would more to manage as well. The cloud may have grown out of its infancy, but multi-cloud is still relatively new. There’s so much more to explore which makes the management and deployment of multi-cloud environments a hassle despite its benefits.

Here are a few expert tips to keep in mind when adopting a multi cloud strategy for your enterprise.

  • Map the network to see where the multi cloud can fit – Different lines of businesses are best served by different cloud vendors. So it’s important to have a clear picture of your overall system and its management to figure out where the cloud can fit in and make things better.
  • Devise a flexible purchase process – To avoid cost impediments to using different cloud services from different vendors, it’s wise to come up with a purchase process that’s flexible as the cloud services that would be used. It’s also important to analyze whether each service is delivering value that’s worth its cost.
  • Use cloud management tools to keep track of costs – Cost optimization should have top priority when leveraging multi cloud for the enterprise. There are tools available that can perform accurate cost analysis of workloads when placed in different clouds.
  • Automate policy across your multi cloud ecosystem – When using multiple cloud services, especially from different vendors, an efficient approach is to have a single standard of policies. They should be applied automatically to each environment covering various areas including virtual servers, workloads, data storage, traffic etc. Such a configuration also makes it easier to apply updates so that they propagate seamlessly across the environments.

Conclusion

Public, private, hybrid, multi, pragmatic hybrid: the cloud comes in many forms today. And it’s not their names you should be focused on. The key is to understand what each offers, and learn how each benefits your enterprise. If you require help implementing the right kind of cloud strategy to your business, AoT offers our vast expertise. We can help your business get the best out of cloud computing with innovative, custom cloud solutions. Want to learn more? Give us a call.

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Organizations have already started migrating from their legacy infrastructure to the cloud on a grand scale to reduce TCO (total cost of ownership) and various other benefits. Gartner predicted that the global market for public cloud services would add up to over $245 billion by the end of 2017.

Though there is widescale adoption of the cloud, the journey is still not feasible for many organizations. Most of them rely on assistance from Cloud Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to build and manage cloud services that support their businesses while closing the service gaps.

MSPs have expertise in cloud computing, cloud storage and security, IT health monitoring, application stacks, testing, infrastructure migration, backup, recovery, and network operations. There are even ones that can develop software that significantly augments enterprise cloud services. Essentially, they ensure continuous delivery pipeline while eliminating risk factors that can delay the growth of the enterprise.

Choosing the right MSP would be the most challenging considering the fact that the task requires deep understanding of the cloud environment and the plethora of cloud optimization tools available today.

For starters, it’s wise to assess the following before on-boarding a cloud MSPs.

  • End-to-end cloud capabilities including migration, maintenance, and optimization
  • Industry-specific expertise
  • Cloud service providers in the MSP’s support ecosystem
  • Their tools and best practices

Nevertheless, on-boarding a cloud MSP to manage an enterprise cloud environment certainly provides many benefits that would nourish the organization in the long run.

Here are 5 ways how they can help an organization.

Performance Monitoring

Preventive maintenance initiatives can make all the difference in a cloud environment. For such initiatives to bear fruit, effective performance monitoring is vital. The technology may have advanced. But the cost of downtime only increased over the years. Even the advanced cloud of this age is not immune to outages. Corporate behemoths like Facebook and Amazon had experienced downtime due to various factors.

The bottomline is that effective performance monitoring can reduce such risks to a great extent. Experienced MSPs can implement proactive performance monitoring strategies which can not only reduce downtimes but also optimizes performance.

Enhanced Security

Security breaches not only cost a lot of money but also customers, not to mention defaming the brand and ruining its hard-earned reputation. With a broad, well-prepared cloud security management strategy, the organization can tackle risks and threats including outages, breaches, and data loss effectively. And doing that in-house requires hefty investments in time, money, and talents.

The smarter approach is to on-board an experienced MSP with a successful track record in developing, deploying, and managing cloud security controls. In addition, because they will be monitoring the environment, they would also be able to take the right preemptive countermeasures before the identified vulnerabilities become threats.

Disaster Management/Recovery

Even if preventing outage was a failure, the organization should have measures in place to ensure that the outage doesn’t impact business continuity. There are cloud MSPs that specialize in this particular sector. They can start by designing data centers as well as networks to be more resilient during disasters. This means minimal downtime, unruffled business continuity, and secure data.

Data Replication Management

One of the most commonly implemented cloud strategies is data replication. Data replication across multiple sites in the cloud results in optimal performance when it comes to load balancing and response time. The proactive approach also optimizes bandwidth consumption among other benefits.

However data replication is quite sophisticated. There’s a maintenance overhead involved making one more reason why executing replication management in-house is a bad idea. Outsourcing it to a capable cloud MSP can make sure data consistency is maintained during the replication process, while balancing workload and reducing latency.

Compliance

Many IT organizations are required to follow industry-specific rules and regulations for data privacy, information security and reporting. The Banking industry in particular is full of organizations riddled with a long, complex compliance checklist.

Experienced managed service providers have been in the field for a while, which makes them knowledgeable when it comes to industry-specific regulations. This means the in-house team of an organization won’t be burdened with handling compliance checks.

Conclusion

Most cloud managed services companies now provide round-the-clock reactive and proactive management services with 24/7 technical support when it comes to handling adverse circumstances. Enterprises get to choose any combination of the managed services or go for end-to-end services without taking on the liability and burden of managing cloud deployment, security or maintenance for that matter.

AoT has the technical expertise to help enterprises leverage the vast potential of the cloud, and manage the services to ensure continuous delivery pipeline and subsequently consistent growth. Drop us a message if you want to learn more about the cloud services that can augment your business.

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IT systems of the future would be all about data – processing and analyzing the huge amount of data generated to uncover insights that can make major differences in the likelihood of an enterprise’s growth and success. Present day systems are increasingly focusing on how data is generated, processed, delivered, and collected. The challenge is to find the optimal and efficient way to do all this while leveraging the hottest tech trends.

Two of the most important trends in this age are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). While IoT is about, in a nutshell, a number of devices exchanging data via a number of data points which is later collected in many ways across multiple platforms, AI is about manipulating this data to make real-time, critical decisions.

So from an enterprise’s perspective, IoT should enable data generation and quick analysis of this data before further processing, and AI should efficiently uncover insights from the data to benefit the business one way or the other.

This means, a union between the two technologies is vital in today’s digital age. This can only be possible by leveraging the potential of the cloud. A hybrid, multicloud platform will have all the required elements including a hybrid cloud infrastructure which can sustain and empower both AI and IoT so as to spark business benefits and innovation.

Let’s explore this technological disruption in detail.

IoT & the Edge

Pretty much every device around us is a source of data that conceals many insights. Many devices collect, distribute, and process this data forming the foundation for the growth of modern day enterprises and how they meet the needs of consumers. The recent rapid technological advancements now demand all this data to be collected, stored, and analyzed quickly in a space without central control.

For this, enterprises have been trying to figure out efficient ways to distribute and store this data closest to their sources. This is where edge computing comes into play – analyzing data at points closest to their source. The IoT edge thus serves as a pivotal point for many trends that can be leveraged to complement the whole process, including automation.

To trigger further innovations both in the computing architecture while considering the ever increasing numbers of intelligent devices, the edge of IoT should be capable of instantaneous transactions without central controls. Basically, the mechanism should estimate how far the data can possibly move through the network before latency starts to become an issue.

AI has the answer to that particular challenge.

Propagation of AI

AI is not exactly a self-aware, super intelligent program that would eventually wipe out humans for being an anomaly in a weird equation, as seen in Hollywood films. The AI today are designed to recognize patterns, learn from them, and adapt accordingly mimicking human intelligence to a limited extent. They can make intelligent split-second decisions.

For AI to complement the IoT edge as mentioned above, it requires a great amount of computing power and data. If it lacks the speed and performance it requires, it won’t serve its purpose the way enterprises want it to. Every decision it makes should also be conveyed quickly to the IoT devices. For instance, when devices detect a credit card fraud, the information should reach the authorities as quickly as possible.

The technology manipulates data to make appropriate decisions, and this requires serious hardware power for speed, and huge amounts of data for analysis. An AI with enough firepower can provide enterprises with many benefits including but not limited to:

  • Reducing human errors
  • Managing large amounts of data
  • Accelerating digital transformation of the organization
  • Delivering a seamless experience to customers
  • Improving workforce productivity and streamlining business operations

With the help of an AI expert, AI-powered software tailored to fit an enterprise’s business environment can be built or have AI capabilities added to existing tools.

Disruption with hybrid cloud

The successful union of AI and IoT requires a platform and architecture. Hybrid multicloud is the answer – a disruptive technology offering many benefits and presenting many business opportunities.

According to the research firm MarketsandMarkets, the expected hybrid cloud market in 2021 is expected to cross a whopping $90 billion.

Among its many advantages, the ones that can make a difference in IoT – AI environments are:

  • Multiple storage options from real-time to archival and distributed storage
  • Rapid processing of data
  • Customized application security

To conclude, almost every application in the world today leverages cloud in some form. With information systems of the future expected to focus on real-time experiences and interaction, a union of AI, IoT and hybrid cloud can work wonders for businesses. With these three in the picture, the future of IT looks promising as ever.

If you are thinking about bringing these three technologies into your business ecosystem, AoT can address your concerns and help you craft a digital solution that harnesses the potential of the trinity. Contact us today to start preparing for the promised future.

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