Senior Project Manager at Capgemini Poland
Customers’ expectations towards digital transformation are now multifaceted. In addition to data security, reliability, process efficiency, and cost optimization, vendors are focusing on implementing practices related to operational excellence. This translates into real benefits that cloud users appreciate. In the following article, I will introduce the current trends that dominate the world of transforming operational environments to cloud environments and the long-term benefits that migration can bring to organizations, regardless of their size or use in their business operations. Read in PL >>>
What are the key cloud principles and best practices?
Effective implementation of transformation to the cloud to get the benefits are linked to several fundamental practices. To make sure you get the best results from the use of modern technologies and that the money you invested in the cloud implementation will boost the maximization of your profits. These principles are summarized in best practices that have been shaped by years of experience of operational and implementation teams. Following these practices will allow you to implement a cloud that delivers business value and benefits to an organization ready for digital transformation.
Always automate processes
One of the first is a process automation. This is an important principle that allows you to eliminate human error in the process of creating new cloud resources by implementing scripts that allow you to replicate common business processes in an automated form. An example could be the creation of new network resources or the implementation of access rights for users, through the efficient use of functions available in the cloud. This process can be automated eliminating potential errors.
- Design cloud components appropriately
Another best practice is implementing configuration changes by properly designing cloud components. We can update components incrementally. Any of these changes can be rolled back in a very short time giving us the ability to revert to the previous configuration if needed. One commonly used tool may be AWS Cloudformation, which allows changes to the environment in a phased manner and a fully secure and controlled manner.
Protect yourself and prepare a contingency plan
An important principle which determines the construction of a cloud environment is the assumption that a potential failure of a complex IT system can happen. As a result, the design implies contingency plans that allow a failed component or even a data center to be bypassed unnoticed by system users. A good example of this practice is the use, by cloud providers, of regions and availability centers that, in a simplified explanation, take over the tasks of a non-functioning data center in the event of its failure.
Learn from mistakes and improve operational procedures
One of the next important principles that shape the operational activities of cloud environment providers is the effective and realistic implementation of the principle of continuous improvement of operational procedures and learning from previous experiences. This allows the environment to adaptively evolve to and improve upon the ever-changing IT environment. An excellent example here may be the adaptive approach of a provider, e.g. AWS, to the demand for data storage and creation of dedicated services (AWS Glue, Athena, or Quicksight) for the needs of customers who use this data passively or actively.
What are the best benefits of implementing a cloud environment?
Visibility and full control
The primary benefits for an organization that implements cloud environments are full visibility and control over the environment and services it uses and creates. In the era of global digitization, business units from different countries are able, through an appropriate tagging policy, to unify cost reporting for individual operational activities that generate corresponding infrastructure costs. Control over appropriate access to data is also possible here. The goal of being able to control and have visibility over basic aspects, such as full visibility and accessibility of data only by authorized persons, is flawlessly implemented here.
An agile approach to implementing new services and solutions
Another important factor that allows organizations to succeed in today’s fast-paced business is an agile approach to implementing new solutions and services. A great advantage and a response to dynamically changing demands of service consumers is the possibility of conducting tests confirming the assumed operation of IT systems in an extremely fast way (PoC). This is important because it gives organizations the possibility to decide whether a given solution fully meets the needs and project assumptions. The ability to assess this early on helps avoid the continuation of projects that may not deliver the business value that was intended. Cloud environments, through built-in scalability and a wide range of services based on computational functions and data analysis, allow you to perform a quick and easy PoC of your solution
Cost reduction in the IT environment
An extremely important aspect that needs to be mentioned is the possibility of converting CAPEX costs into OPEX costs. By transforming to the cloud, an organization does not need to invest heavily in setting up its own IT environment. Some organizations, due to security aspects or contract clauses, may still decide to set up their private clouds. Concerning the benefits that transformation and the use of public clouds can bring, there is a measurable benefit in the form of cost reductions associated with the implementation of an in-house IT environment, which entails large capital expenditure (CAPEX). These costs are spread over variable and lower operating costs (OPEX). An additional advantage is that these costs reflect the actual demand for the organization’s IT needs. In the case of capital expenditure for the creation of an in-house IT environment, the forecasts may prove to be wrong, leaving the organization with its infrastructure that is too large or too small for its real needs over time.
Much better data security
The last very important aspect I would like to cover is data security in the cloud. One of the basic principles of a public cloud provider is the security of customer data. Since the public cloud provider is responsible for the physical security of the data center and the infrastructure that provides cloud solutions, customers of these services can focus on what brings value to their organization and brings them profits and benefits. Data security is also guaranteed through a highly available, scalable, and event-proof infrastructure. A good example of this is the availability centers I have already mentioned, which protect data from data failure in a single location through a data center network distributed across different areas/regions. Data traffic between centers, as well as from the data center to the user, is adequately protected against unauthorized access. Another interesting aspect is that public cloud providers offer virtual private cloud services in case of sensitive data or special requirements regarding private data.
To sum up the above article, public clouds offer a wide range of benefits focusing on innovation, customization, speed of implementation, and, last but not least, economic efficiency that allows organizations to focus on delivering their services/products in a modern and efficient way.