Move to the cloud or stay on the ground? A case for cloud computing.

Posted 26 January By PlugAdminIndustry NewsNo Comments

This blog post will provide a take on cloud technology through the prism of the banking industry by outlining pros and cons of the move, suggesting helpful tips in the migration process, and briefly listing top players in the industry.


Cloud computing, for those of you who don’t know, is an internet-based delivery of on-demand hosted services that typically range from storage to management to data processing. The term “cloud” refers to the network of remote servers that do the computing, as opposed to a traditional local server or a personal computer.

Let’s take the case of banks, many of which are starting to, if they haven’t already, the move to cloud computing. Capital one, one of the nation’s largest banks, is the first bank to move its services completely to the cloud. It started exploring this technology as early as 2013 and by 2016, it was already using Amazon Web Services for small projects. So why is this projected to be THE trend of 2017 and why do companies like GE, Airbnb, and BMW do it?

Drawbacks and Benefits of Cloud Computing

The decision to go through with the migration to a cloud-based system is not easy. Here are some of the things to look out for:

  • Security & Privacy
    While maintaining a high security level for a cloud based program is fairly easy with the right approach, it still remains one of the main concerns of stakeholders and end users. This common misconception would require efforts on the company’s part to educate employees and users in building confidence in the service.
  • Time
    It’s important to understand that the migration process will require significant amount of time and effort. Hiring the right IT professionals to lead the process is a crucial decision that can make or break the whole process. These leaders will be the ones to set realistic expectations/deadlines and clearly communicate to employees and stakeholders.
  • Downtime
    This is one the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing. Service outages and slowdowns can happen unexpectedly and frequently, depending on the internet connection. To make matters worse, when the internet is down, all applications drop offline immediately.

However, your company could greatly benefit from the migration as well. Here are some of the advantages of using cloud based technology.

  • Cost Efficiency
    Once up and running, cloud computing can cut great costs (i.e. hardware). When the World Bank migrated from Lotus Notes to Microsoft 365, it underwent a cost reduction of $7 to 8 million, as claimed by Stephanie von Friedeburg, CIO and VP.
  • Good Publicity
    A company’s reputation plays just as important of a role as the operations of that company. A cloud-based operation signals of innovation, value, speed, accessibility, and most importantly, efforts for constant improvement. This keeps customers engaged and therefore satisfied. It allows you to gain a competitive advantage as well as remain environmentally friendly!
  • Employee Accessibility and Collaboration
    Employee productivity increases as cloud applications are accessible from any location; this ensures constant connection, access and thus, increase in collaboration and flexibility.

Tips on Achieving a Successful Migration

Below are 5 helpful tips in the migration process to cloud computing, as taken from the banking industry.

  1. Have multiple vendors.
    Working with several providers will greatly minimize the risk and allow you to leverage various services from each cloud provider depending on their strengths. Use Thread Stack’s Cloud Security Platform to keep track of all the vendors and gain visibility across all cloud vendors and hybrid environments in a single dashboard.
  2. Have a detailed plan.
    Make sure there is a detailed plan with steps outlining a smooth and gradual transition. Determine which teams will be the pioneers and assess any security implications. This will keep the whole process organized and on-point with strategic goals.
  3. Understand the cloud.
    Take a crash course on cloud computing. It is crucial to be able to understand the way data is stored in the cloud and any other basic rules of this technology.
  4. Keep in mind the “shared responsibility model.”
    The shared responsibility model states that the security of the cloud lies on the vendor while the security in the cloud lies on you. This means that it is up to the vendor to protect the infrastructure of the cloud and up to you to protect the data in the cloud. Many businesses do this via additional security tools that give you visibility across environments, users, and data sets such as cloud-agnostic continuous monitoring platform.

Top Players in the Industry

Choosing one cloud provider over another can be tricky; while there are three clear leaders in this service, not each one might be the right fit for you. Here is a list of the top three players and their descriptions.

  • Amazon’s AWS
    This service has been around for nearly 10 years, which does give it a certain level of credibility. It offers Compute, Storage and Content Delivery, Database, and Networking. You can also track your infrastructure resources usage, user activity, inventory, and changes. Amazon offers Storage Geteway and DynamoDB Local; however, its’s hybrid environment is considered inferior to Microsoft’s.
  • Microsoft’s Azure
    This platform also offers Computing, Data Management and Performance, and Networking as well as a number of services and integrations for in-depth monitoring and alerting on infrastructure performance metrics and logs. Azure has an advantage in the hybrid cloud environment – you can run cloud applications and deploy infrastructure assets and applications using a cloud model, but you can choose to use your on-premises compute resources when appropriate and with a seamless transition.
  • Google’s Compute Engine
    This service has a lot of enhancements like load balancing, extended support for Operating Systems, live migration of VMs, faster persistent disks, and instances with more cores. GCE’s pricing, however, is much simpler and more flexible. Its sustained-use pricing will discount the on-demand baseline hourly rate automatically as a particular instance is used for a larger percentage of the month.

Articles used in support of this post:

How Banks Can Move to the Cloud Securely: http://blog.threatstack.com/how-banks-can-move-to-the-cloud-securely?utm_campaign=Blog&utm_content=45393419&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Capital One Rides the Cloud to Tech Company Transformation:  http://www.computerworld.com/article/3145622/cloud-computing/capital-one-rides-the-cloud-to-tech-company-transformation.html

Three Companies That Transformed Their Business Using Cloud Computing:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/ibm/2014/11/03/three-companies-that-transformed-their-businesses-using-cloud-computing/#60cbf3b2326d

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing: http://cloudacademy.com/blog/disadvantages-of-cloud-computing/

10 Benefits of Cloud Computing: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2015/11/why-move-to-the-cloud-10-benefits-of-cloud-computing.html

Azure vs AWS Cloud Comparison: http://www.tomsitpro.com/articles/azure-vs-aws-cloud-comparison,2-870.html

Public Cloud War: AWS vs Azure vs Google: http://cloudacademy.com/blog/public-cloud-war-aws-vs-azure-vs-google/

Written by: Aliya Serikpayeva

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