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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It’s safe to say that the widespread adoption of the cloud is primarily due to the many benefits it grants enterprises. By adopting the cloud, enterprises can achieve collaboration on a greater scale while also driving innovation better than before. In addition, the technology also enables IT departments in organizations to offload hardware, maintenance, and infrastructure costs while benefiting from cutting-edge bespoke as well as proprietary digital solutions.

Might seem too good to be true but there’s a catch…naturally.

Security is pretty much unseen or not thought of when there are a lot of good things to get excited about. Many organizations have the wrong notion that security is entirely the responsibility of the cloud service provider; that is until they experience a serious security breach. It isn’t just one threat cloud users should be prepared for. The cloud has more than one vulnerability, and can be breached by a number of security threats. This is why it’s important for enterprises to devise comprehensive cloud security strategies.

That said, here are a few useful tips to augment cloud security in your organization.

Ensure real-time visibility of the cloud environment

By adopting the cloud, organizations expect faster organic growth. Major cloud services today make it easier for ambitious organizations to acquire and adopt new tools and technologies, and integrate them with legacy systems. When it comes to hybrid cloud, organizations are essentially building relationships with different vendors and IT partners.

Hybrid cloud environments are more preferred nowadays as they allow organizations to distribute their data between on-premises servers and various external cloud services. The complexity of such an environment also makes it difficult to secure as the organization won’t get a big picture view of their cloud ecosystem. It’s vital to ensure that the cloud environment is fully mapped and visible so that it’d be easier to secure.

Ensure that the staff are trained well

A good majority of cloud security breaches are traced back to human errors – it can be a small mistake or a configuration error that ends up in a big data breach. People working on monitoring a cloud environment should be specifically trained in cloud security to increase awareness. The cloud staff are to be well trained in reducing malware risks, preventing unauthorized accesses, and reporting strange behavior.

Staff training alone won’t cut it. The organization will also want to set security policies and cultivate a culture where the staff adheres to best security practices. The objective is not to have the staff successfully prevent all errors because that’s impractical. The objective is to train the staff to diligently respond to events that may result in errors.

Ensure regular testing

Once an organization migrates their data on to the cloud, they tend to leave the rest to the cloud service provider to keep the data secure. While the service provider does share the responsibility of securing the data with the organization, in case a data breach occurs, the organization will still be liable for regulatory fines and other major fallouts. It’d be pointless to play the blame game here.

This is why it’s important to ensure that your cloud partner fully understands what compliance means to your organization. The defenses need to be regularly tested by an organization’s own team instead of trusting the service provider to run the tests. This practice naturally requires the organization to make additional investments to devise and implement a testing program that will encompass every relevant testing method – from penetration testing to mock phishing attacks.

Regular feedback from testing is the best bet for cloud adopters to be aware of potential security vulnerabilities. It helps them not only to ensure that their security systems and measures are up-to-date but also to relay remedial suggestions to the team. The testing activity should obviously be documented for future reference, and the organization should be able to brace for immediate changes to remedy a potential security threat.

Ensure constant vigilance

Just like testing, it’s also important to continuously monitor the cloud network once it’s fully mapped for better visibility. The organization should know where their data are at any given moment. The team monitoring the environment should make sure to flag strange behavior, double check data encryptions, and uncover unauthorized accesses. The system has to be rigged to alert the team should any data modification or deletion occur.

End note

Every organization’s network will be different. So the approach an organization takes to dig deeper into cloud security will also be different. Choosing such an approach is as challenging as enhancing cloud security. This is where some expertise can come in handy.

AOT has that expertise to help your organization pick the best approach to adopting and securing the cloud. Additionally we are also armed to augment your existing cloud ecosystem with bespoke digital solutions. Drop us a message if you have any queries on cloud adoption and cloud security.

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The prospect of avoiding hardware and software maintenance costs and getting great scalability and performance for a reasonable investment is one of the reasons why enterprises today want to migrate to the cloud. A good majority of them already enjoys cloud economy.

There are many more reasons for enterprises to move to the cloud today. Here are a few reasons that actually makes sense why cloud migration is an ideal strategy in today’s dynamic business world.

Provides a more collaborative business ecosystem

Almost every blog that explains cloud migration in detail mentions collaboration as one of the major reasons for migrating to the cloud. Exchanging documents and data, and getting people to work together haven’t been easy for enterprises till the cloud started changing things.

The cloud facilitates real-time collaboration and editing without hassle and without everyone being present in the same room. It encourages a higher level of employee participation. The highlight is that cloud-based collaboration doesn’t require the enterprise to invest a lot.

Data migration is more secure and safe

The cloud offers much more secure storage options than traditional hard drive storage. A hard drive can be damaged or stolen, and the files can be accessed using different hardware. On the other hand, the cloud can store confidential data safely online, and is periodically backed up. Regardless of hardware failure in the cloud network, the data can still be accessed by the cloud user.

Because the cloud’s widely adopted today, most cloud service providers adhere to best cybersecurity practices and standards, and encourage the same from their clients. Ultimately, the users themselves play a key role when it comes to securing their data in the cloud, by controlling the accessibility and authorization.

Better data accessibility

As mentioned above, the cloud stores data online which means they are accessible at all times to the cloud user, provided there is an internet connection. Cloud services also syncs the data across all devices authorized by the user, so the user can access the data from any of those devices.

Service integration

In addition to the great scalability cloud provides to enterprises, it is also popular for its adaptability, and the ability to make enterprises adaptable as well. At first, cloud integration was a tad too sophisticated for many enterprises taking their first steps in the cloud. Many advancements later, the cloud can now integrate fairly well with the cloud’s users’ existing services and systems. However, the use of legacy systems are not advisable now, for the cloud to be of maximum benefit.

Present day cloud services allow enterprises to mix-and-match their cloud services i.e. they can leverage multiple cloud platforms and services. They can begin by experimenting with various cloud services till they figure out the cloud combination that does them justice. The cloud’s integration capabilities allow effective coexistence of services from different cloud providers without hiccups.

Conclusion

Cloud migration is not a new trend at all, and many enterprises already realized it way back when the trend caused a buzz. The run would eventually blow out those enterprises that are hesitant to migrate to the cloud, while their competition welcomes the technology. To remain competent and adaptive to dynamic business requirements, the cloud is necessary today.

AoT can help you get started with the cloud and leverage the technology the right way by providing everything you need – from powerful custom software solutions to expert technology advisory services. Give us a call today for an easy cloud migration.

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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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A company designed to be scalable to grow without geographical constraints.

This is what a startup is in a nutshell, and this is why it’s fundamentally different from small businesses. Back in the days, a business owner had to set up a team, formulate a development plan, develop applications, and then implement them. Now, it’s all about failing more and failing fast, Agile, and swift iterations.

This ‘haste’ that startups are capable of, can be attributed to the remarkable technologies they use. This practice transforms their business, and significantly influences others. So essentially, the technologies they use play a key role in the success of a startup.

Let’s take a look at a few technologies that startups can benefit from.

Progressive web apps (PWA)

Apps that incorporate the best from web and mobile worlds, PWA is essentially a website that functions similar to an application in terms of performance, design, and user experience.

According to Statista, the number of app downloads will cross 350 billion by 2021.

Smartphone users spend more time on mobile apps than on mobile websites. However, app installation is a multi-step process, where the user begins by finding the right app, downloading it, accepting user agreements, giving the app permissions etc. before actually using the app. Many studies show that about 20% of users decide not to use the app at each step of installation.

Meanwhile, a PWA doesn’t have to be installed. They are reliable, secure, immersive, and responsive. All of its benefits make it a great tool for startups. A testament to this is Housing’s (India’s top real estate startup) decision to create a PWA which ended up increasing their conversions by almost 40%.

Node.js

Built on top of Chrome’s JavaScript Runtime engine, V8, Node is a lightweight, event-driven platform ideal for applications across distributed services. Node.js makes it easier for developers to add immersive features and other impressive stuff in an application that happens in real time, ensuring a wonderful user experience.

One of the worst kind of challenges an application developer may face involves real time data processing and display. AJAX requests can be considered a solution albeit an expensive one that drains server power. With Node, they can come up with an efficient cross-browser solution that can do the job.

Other great advantages of using Node.js for startups include:

  • Improved performance for I/O bound apps
  • Main Node.js framework will have the same language on front and backend
  • Supports Microservices architecture
  • Effortless deployment leading to faster time to market
  • Readiness for scalability

Its many benefits encouraged not just startups but also big players like Uber and Paypal to adopt Node.js.

Paypal’s stats show that Node.js helped reduce response time by at least 50% while doubling the number of requests with negligibly low calamities.

Cloud

The single, most important technology today, Cloud is one of the main reasons why tech companies grow faster than ever. Many big companies like Instagram, Pinterest, Dropbox etc. leveraged the cloud to reach out to millions of users and grow seamlessly.

For startups, cloud computing options generally tend to be either AWS or Azure. AWS, according to Gartner research, reigns over the cloud space with the right tools and better execution that can benefit startups, SMBs and large businesses alike. The same research states that Azure and Google Cloud follow AWS.

In short, AWS offers multiple functionalities, is more mature, and offers enterprise-friendly features. It generated over $12 billion in revenue last year.

Microsoft’s Azure holds the second market position in the Cloud IaaS sector, and is the ideal choice for hybrid approach which is preferable for startups. Though Microsoft’s only recently moved to IaaS, Morgan Stanley’s survey of 100 CIOs predicted that Azure would lead as the largest IaaS vendor by 2019.

Many startups adopted Azure last year, which seems to have influenced Microsoft’s market share growth as a cloud-service provider.

According to Q4 2017 Earnings Report, Microsoft’s revenue from Azure grew at more than 97% compared to Q4 2016.

However, Azure still holds only 10% of the market. Microsoft’s openness to open source platforms like the Linux operating system has contributed heavily to this growth. Considering the fact that startups prefer open source technologies to grow their business, Azure seems to be a more practical option for them.

Microservices

Best defined as a style of software architecture that allows you to build components as self-confined, small (‘micro’) services, before stacking them to deliver functionalities comparable to a customary monolithic application.

A few years back, startups had to rely on monolith architecture when they started. But today, considering the advancements in cloud infrastructure services and the accessibility to a matured and advanced support of distributed applications, startups can adopt microservices from the get go.

Lightbend’s survey of 2151 respondents working on Java Virtual Machine (JVM) last year found that about 30% of the respondents already run microservices in production, and another 20% of the respondents are considering the trend for production deployment.

Scalability and agility are vital for disruptive startups. And this is the reason why microservices are rising in popularity these days. The rise of Netflix and Uber and their adoption of microservice architecture to adapt to their growth emphasizes the significance of microservices as an emerging trend.

API Gateway

API Gateways are particularly useful for startups running microservices. API gateway can orchestrate how the microservice architecture processes requests, and considerably simplifies Client implementations.

Startups with microservices-oriented architecture generally use API gateways to abstract complexities while creating end-points that can be used by the Client. The gateway is also responsible for but not limited to load balancing, security, batching, authorization, authentication, caching, logging, and monitoring.

Zion Market Research’s research on API Management Market showed that the global market accounted for close to USD 610 million in 2016.

If anything, this indicates that API gateway and other API solutions are becoming more important for businesses, including startups.

Conclusion

Though there are still many more technologies worth mentioning, we hand-picked the most popular ones from our list. We have seen how each aforementioned technology can benefit startups. Considering that, it’s safe to assume that emerging technologies may give even more and much better opportunities for startups to grow in innovative ways.

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