While the decision to invest in mobile apps positively influences the growth of a business, there still seems to be a lot of concern regarding the success rate of mobile apps. There are millions of apps on various app stores and not all of them are created equally. Some apps die out soon after their launch while others stand the test of time with performance and UX upgrades.

Historically, most apps available on the market now are native apps; high performance apps built for specific platforms. And obviously, to use native apps, they have to be manually downloaded to the mobile device. Though this approach to running apps on mobile devices is still welcome, there are now new ways to use a mobile app thanks to the proliferation of the cloud.

Cloud mobile apps are hosted on servers and accessed via web browsers. Surprisingly however, despite the appeal of cloud mobile app development, many businesses are reluctant to invest in it mostly due to the presence of many myths and confusion surrounding the technology.

If you are finding it difficult to choose cloud mobile app development over other methods, here are a few things you should know before making a decision.

Cloud mobile apps can be launched on both iOS and Android simultaneously

While native apps are built for one platform specifically, cloud apps can run on both platforms. For a business, this means that their cloud app can expose their brand to a wider audience. When developing a mobile app, many businesses find it challenging to choose a platform; with Android being the OS that controls the global market share of mobile users and iOS offering premium services and innovative features. This challenge doesn’t present itself when developing a cloud app.

Lower development costs

If you aren’t new to the mobile app development trend, you’d probably know that native mobile app development can be quite costly. So a business planning to build native apps for both iOS and Android will be spending more than double the development cost depending on the nature and scale of the app. Cloud apps are much less costly to build and will run on both platforms making it a great option for startups.

Shorter development time

The time to build an app depends on a number of factors. But native mobile app development is generally is a complicated and lengthy process. Furthermore, if the business wants to add a few more complex features, development may take even longer to finish. So the development of two versions of business apps that can run on both the iOS and Android platforms can take over a year to finish. By that time, the dynamic app market would have changed with even more difficult competition. Cloud apps don’t necessarily have a shorter development time but they can run on multiple platforms without requiring platform-specific development. So for a business about to invest in developing native iOS and Android apps, a more feasible option would be to develop a cloud mobile app. Such businesses can have cloud mobile apps developed in a relatively shorter time compared to developing iOS and Android versions separately.

Provides consistently good UX and performance

Unlike standard mobile apps that need to be downloaded from their platform-specific stores, cloud mobile apps are fully hosted on servers and can be accessed via a web browser. So cloud apps don’t have mobile hardware limitations that standard apps may have. Furthermore, cloud apps are normally hosted on powerful servers to ensure consistently great performance and user experience whenever they are accessed via compatible browsers. The catch is that cloud apps behave more like web apps or come with the traits of both web and mobile apps.

Greater scalability

For a business app to efficiently serve its purpose, it should be constantly updated and improved. Growing businesses would want their app to scale in parallel with their growth. Additionally, businesses may want to implement additional features eventually to improve user experience. Doing all of this on native apps would cost more money right after development. Cloud apps, however, offer greater scalability. Users won’t have to update the app every time a new feature is added.

Conclusion

Cloud app development is a cost-effective approach to develop apps that can perform and scale efficiently. It will also be easier to integrate business databases seamlessly with a cloud app. Data recovery would be easier as well due to the fact that data are stored on the cloud as opposed to a single server with exploitable vulnerabilities.

Interested in building a cloud app for your business? Drop us a message.


With each passing year, cyber-security reaches new levels becoming increasingly sophisticated. But as cyber-security becomes more formidable, cyber-threats and the rate of malicious attacks increase proportionately. This and the many controversial security threats in 2018 subsequently led to wide concerns regarding the volatility in cloud security. Apparently, many organizations still believe cloud security has a lot of exploitable vulnerabilities.

Despite this, cloud spending is at an all-time high according to Gartner. The report from the popular research firm found that public cloud spending in 2018 exceeded $170 billion. A little over $10 billion was spent on cloud security and management. Gartner also predicts that the number will go up by at least 20% this year.

While cloud security professionals are already coming up with great new ways to combat breaches similar to the ones that turned heads in 2018, cloud security still needs more advancements considering that the increasing complexity of cloud environments are bringing forth newer, tougher security challenges.

That said, let’s check out a few such challenges that enterprises may have to beat this year.

Cloud complexity is on a whole another level

The cloud is already a complex technology. With businesses embracing multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments more than before, cloud complexity has reached even greater levels making data storage and transfers much harder.

The benefits of a multi-cloud architecture are enticing more businesses to come forward and adopt it, though only a few of the adopters are thoughtful enough to invest in a multi-cloud management strategy. Even with a strategy in place, a multi-cloud ecosystem presents a lot of data security and data management challenges.

So essentially, businesses will be operating on a highly volatile multi-cloud environment spanning on and off-premises systems, and more than one platform. The challenge is to develop advanced solutions and devise efficient implementation strategies to not only retain some amount of control but also to stabilize the environment.

Data breaches will cost a lot

As more businesses adopt the cloud, it’s safe to assume that more critical and sensitive data will be shifted to the cloud. Hence, any potential breach would be ridiculously expensive.

According to a Cost of Data Breach study by IMB and Ponemon in 2018, the global average cost of data breach went up as high as $3.86 million. This was a 6.4% increase compared to the data breach cost in 2017.

In 2019, the stakes are higher which means the data breach cost figure is likely to go even higher. Adding to the challenge is the rising complexity of how data breach attacks are carried out. It’s not at all easy even to detect a breach.

Threats are smarter now

Modern businesses are smarter thanks to powerful technologies like AI and big data. But they seem to have neglected the fact that technology is a double-edged sword. Thanks to technology, cyber-criminals are now capable of executing smarter attacks as well; even capable of using virtual assistants and chatbots for attacks.

Cyber-criminals can now develop chatbots that can superimpose themselves on websites and bait visitors into clicking malicious links, reveal sensitive information, or download malware-attached files.

Evolving mobility & BYOD

Back in the day, enterprises stored their sensitive data in the company premises on a tightly-guarded internal server. Data management was not that hard. But such a system may sound like a thing of the past now. This is the age of BYOD.

BYOD or Bring Your Own Devices is the norm now, as employees of an organization are no longer confined like enterprise data on on-premise servers. Authorized employees can now access official company data on their personal mobile devices, and from anywhere in the world. This means the likelihood of employees accessing sensitive data over public Wi-Fi or shared networks cannot be neglected.

This in turn means that the cyber-security department of the enterprise must be capable of protecting the data that’s probably getting transferred from one continent to another.

Employees will also be utilizing convenient data transfer techniques like for instance, over Slack or Google Drive or by sharing via DropBox. An enterprise won’t be having control over such platforms, making it difficult for them to remain GDPR and HIPPA-compliant. Making the matter more complex is the looming threat of data breaches.

One approach that’s widely considered to counter such scenarios is to invest in active directories or single sign-on (SSO) identity so that all devices can be brought under one network, enabling companies to instantly shut down all devices if a threat is suspected or identified.

Things to take into account

Smarter tech apparently invites smarter hackers. And while 2019 is widely considered as the year when smarter technologies become more accessible, technology professionals have their work cut out for them. This is of paramount importance to companies that have invested in cloud computing technologies as they will soon be forced to face and overcome a number of difficult security challenges this year.

Well thought out cloud security strategies and practices, data safety planning, and diligence are probably the most important things that can save enterprises from losing millions in a data breach. Professionals using the cloud will need to exercise caution during exchanges of sensitive data. They will need to figure out stricter password policies and learn about potential phishing techniques.

Conclusion

Data breach is an avoidable scenario of course. But avoiding data breach and overcoming security challenges today will require on-cloud enterprises to invest more money and time into securing their data just in case. They will have to make sure that their employees are aware of what’s at stake with regular security awareness workshops.

Ultimately, they have to realize that ensuring cloud security is not the responsibility of one particular department in an organization. It’s a shared responsibility that demands knowledge, diligence, and dedication. If your organization has already moved to the cloud and is willing to invest in augmenting cloud security, AOT’s cloud expertise could be what you are looking for. We can ensure that your organization gets the best out of its cloud in terms of benefits and security. Get in touch with us.

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If you are reading this, chances are that your business has finally decided to shift to the cloud. We won’t say you are late because there are so many businesses out there still reluctant to migrate to possibly the only technology that can assuredly secure their future – the cloud.

Stats show that organizations that have already invested in the cloud is likely to increase their use of it in the next few years.

Last year, Forbes forecasted that 80% of all IT budget would be spent on cloud solutions by the summer of 2018.

Though the present stats aren’t out yet, we suppose it’s safe to assume that Forbes was right for such is the momentum of the cloud today.

Though companies have generally seen a lot of blog posts and articles about the benefits of the cloud, they still might find it challenging to determine what cloud service they should use in their organization. For many organizations, this choice comes down to three of the biggest cloud platforms in the world – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and the Google Cloud Platform.

Comparing the three to find the best of the bunch is rather pointless. All three are popular and widely adopted for more than one reason. They all have their fair share of pros and cons. The truth is that it’s the organization that needs to choose the right kind of cloud service that matches their business strategy and goals.

To make it easier for you, this blog will explore the characteristics of these 3 cloud platforms.

But before we begin, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The cloud provider should understand your business and its objectives – The cloud service provider that’s right for you should understand your business, its objectives, and what it aims to achieve with the cloud.

Your current architecture – Your business architecture should be compatible with your cloud provider’s. Their architecture needs to be integrated into your workflows. So compatibility should be given top priority. For instance, if your business already uses Microsoft tools, Microsoft Azure is the way to go. At the end of the day, you want seamless, hassle-free integration.

Data center locations – This factor is important if the app your business is going to host on the cloud is sensitive when it comes to data centers and their locations. For a great user experience, the geographical location of the data center hosting the app is pivotal especially if the business has branches across the globe. Your service provider should have data centers in various locations that are far from each other ideally.

With that, let’s get down to the main topic at hand starting with…

Compute services

Microsoft Azure – Azure is widely preferred for its ‘Virtual Machines’ service. Its key offers include excellent security, an array of hybrid cloud capabilities, and support for Windows Server, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Linux, and SQL Server. Azure also features instances optimized for AI & ML.

AWS – AWS’ main service is the Elastic Compute Cloud with a plethora of options including auto-scaling, Windows & Linux support, high-performance computing, bare metal instances etc. AWS’s container services support Docker and Kubernetes as well as the Fargate service.

Google Cloud – Though Google Cloud’s compute services don’t come close to its two biggest competitors, its Compute Engine is still turning heads with its support for Windows and Linux, pre-defined/custom machine types, and per-second billing. Google’s role in the Kubernetes project and considering the fact that Kubernetes adoption is increasing rapidly gives the Google Cloud an edge over others when it comes to container deployment.

Cloud tools

Microsoft Azure – Microsoft’s heavy investment in AI reflects on Azure as the platform provides impressive machine learning and bot services. Other major Azure cognitive services include Text Analytics API, Computer vision API, Face API, Custom vision API etc. Azure also offers various analytics and management services for IoT.

AWS – AWS competes with acclaimed services like the Lex conversational interface for Alexa, Greengrass IoT messaging service, SageMaker service for ML, Lambda serverless computing service etc. Amazon also unveiled AI-related services like DeepLens and Gluon.

Google Cloud – The services and tools for Google Cloud seem to mainly focus on AI and ML. We can also assume that since Google developed TensorFlow – a huge open source library to develop ML apps, the Google Cloud has a slight edge over its rivals when it comes to AI and ML. Other great features include natural-language APIs, translation APIs, speech APIs, IoT services etc.

Making the choice

Though all three are dominant in the cloud services industry, Google Cloud still seems to be trailing behind the other two. But the tech giant’s partnership with Cisco, the company’s hefty investment in cloud-computing services, and focus on machine learning may give the Google Cloud more traction very soon.

Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, initially lagged behind AWS but is now considered the most dominant cloud service provider in the world. If your business relies on Microsoft platforms and tools, it’s going to pair well with Azure. But Azure’s focus on Microsoft’s own Windows puts Linux on the backseat despite Azure’s compatibility with the open source OS. So if your business is associated with Linux, DevOps, or bare metal, Azure may not be a safe bet.

This leaves us with AWS. With its massive scale and a broad array of services and tools, AWS can easily give Azure a run for their money. Though Microsoft’s efforts are starting to pay off catapulting Azure to new heights, AWS is consistently growing every year. However, if your business is looking for a personal relationship with your cloud provider and expecting an attentive service, you may find AWS disappointing. Amazon’s massive size itself makes offering such a service practically impossible.

Conclusion

These providers can help your business with pretty much every type of digital service it needs to stay ahead of the curve in today’s dynamic market conditions. If you think these providers don’t match your business objectives, you can still seek assistance from smaller boutique cloud providers. The bottom-line is that modern businesses are going to need the cloud backing them to efficiently adapt to a technologically advanced future.  If you require assistance regarding cloud adoption and migration, the experts here at AOT can help make it easier for you. Give us a ring to learn more.

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In order to ascend in today’s world where technologies are capable of making and breaking businesses, organizations are required to migrate their enterprise applications to the cloud. This amplifies the usefulness of enterprise applications manyfold. For example, an enterprise app that supports 100 internal users may support 100x more users on the cloud. Such features are a standard nowadays for enterprise-grade apps that are accessible to a wider value chain-facing user base.

Because traditional enterprise applications and their data are open to a larger audience now, they are expected to deliver the best user experience which is where technologies like AI and Machine Learning come in. Modern enterprise applications are expected to deliver smart, contextual experiences to customers and stakeholders. The cloud serves as the best platform for cutting-edge technologies like AI to augment a traditional enterprise application without hassle.

As a matter of fact, once on the cloud, the apps get even more benefits in the form of an improved cost structure, great scalability and flexibility, and the ability to quickly adapt to changing business needs. But all of these achievements that organizations expect can only be obtained after successful migration to the cloud. It’s seen by many organizations as a particularly complicated procedure.

But cloud migration doesn’t have to be that complicated and difficult. With the right kind of planning and good execution, cloud migration can be successful.

That said, here are the steps every enterprise should take before proceeding with executing their cloud migration strategy.

Application Inventory Assessment

Before migration begins, it’s a good approach to have an application portfolio inventory. The inventory will have the enterprise’s applications categorized. It’s important to assess this inventory and the applications’ dependencies including their physical and virtual server configurations, network topology, compliance requirements, security mechanisms, data dependencies etc.

Such an assessment would enable enterprises to determine an approach to get the best results from the migration. For instance, the ‘Modern Apps’ category in the portfolio inventory might already be on the cloud platform or can be easily migrated there. The ‘Legacy Apps’ category in the portfolio could present a big challenge when it comes to cloud migration. The risks may be too big. Then there are other enterprise-grade applications like web applications and Java applications. The enterprise would know which category they should begin with for the best results.

Complementing this approach, modern IT services also grant enterprises with the option of choosing the degree of cloud services for each of their applications while assessing the benefits of migration and estimating the cost of it. This doesn’t apply to legacy apps however. But cloud service providers can still provision servers and storage for such applications to run like they used to, without compromising the reliability users expect from them.

The most valuable opportunity, on the other hand, is associated with the migration of the ‘other’ kind of apps in the enterprise – the third category which includes enterprise-grade Java apps, web applications, and the likes. Migrating such apps to the right kind of public or private cloud results in a lot of cost savings.

Creating a Plan

Migrating and modernizing that third category of apps mentioned above requires careful planning so as not to add complexity, challenges or costs. The plan should take into account a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • The architecture of the application to be migrated and its dependency on its infrastructure.
  • The application’s security policies and tools involved that enforce these policies.
  • The tools that manage the accessibility to the systems on which the application runs.
  • Tools used by the team to deploy, manage, and troubleshoot the application
  • Application’s unique performance characteristics
  • Application’s awareness when it comes to the underlying network & hardware topology

Provided that the cloud service provider is experienced, the aforementioned factors can help your enterprise execute a migration strategy that appropriately prioritizes app migrations.

Applications that are already on the cloud with no dependencies apart from the immediate application stack can be managed with a managed public cloud service. Other enterprise apps that have multiple dependencies and relationships in the data center ecosystem should be quickly migrated to a managed private cloud.

Quick Migration for Cost Savings

Many enterprises prefer migrating with the help of their in-house team and choose a conservative approach to migration to cut costs. However, this approach too often ends up increasing costs in the long run; one major reason for this being the fact that the enterprise is essentially running two infrastructures during the migration incurring costs on both.

The best approach to mitigate risks while realizing cost savings is a quick migration. It’s possible to do this without assistance provided the enterprise invests a lot in rigorous planning. However, a more feasible and risk-free way is to enlist a cloud partner with expertise in public, private, and hybrid cloud.

The right cloud service expert can, within the budget, recommend the necessary services needed for successful migration based on the application portfolio inventory and the enterprise’s specific preferences. With their help, enterprises can get applications shifted to the cloud quickly and economically without being concerned about risks.

Conclusion

Moving applications to a managed public and private cloud properly ensures significant operational cost savings (of up to 60%) owing to the cloud’s optimized hardware utilization and the availability of efficient administration tools. But the pivotal component that influences the success of a cloud migration procedure is the expertise and experience of the party performing the migration.

If you are looking for a partner with the required expertise to make the migration happen without issues, you are at the right place. AOT Technologies, over the years, have been building our reputation as a reliable IT service provider specializing in software solutions and cloud computing technologies.

We have a team of qualified cloud experts who know their way around the most widely used cloud services and widely adopted cloud migration strategies. AOT is also fully capable of devising a migration strategy to deliver the outcome and benefits you desire cost effectively. Get in touch with us today.

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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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