GFI Cloud white paper. Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control.

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1 GFI Cloud white paper Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control

2 Contents Introduction 3 Transferring workload into the cloud 4 Managing the cloud 5 Summary 6 About GFI Cloud 6 Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 2

3 The potential benefits of employing cloud-based services, either in place of existing IT resources or alongside them, are undoubtedly significant. This white paper examines some of the benefits for IT administrators when their applications or services are moved to or managed via the cloud. Introduction The last five years in IT have been pivotal in establishing cloud computing as a mainstream and viable alternative to conventional client server computing models. The software-as-a-service market, by far the biggest component of cloud computing, is set to generate $14.5 billion in revenues globally in 2012 according to analyst Gartner Group 1, an 18 percent increase on 2011 that underlines the importance that cloud-based software and services now have within businesses of all sizes. Right now, most organizations are using some form of cloud-based service, whether they specifically intended to follow a cloud strategy or not. It could be a mail server provided by a third party such as an ISP, or a remote backup solution or a mobile device tracking service. Many businesses are also turning to the likes of Amazon Web Services 2 and Microsoft Windows Azure to host certain applications and services that need occasional scale, providing bursts of processing and storage capacity that it simply would not be practical to do in-house. These are all classic examples of cloud services that organizations have adopted in order to reduce complexity, cost and resource burden on the IT department. An evolution of software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud computing encompasses not only the external model of software being delivered as a service by external vendors from a large or municipal data center to paying customers and users (the so-called public cloud), but also the internal model of creating a cloudlike infrastructure in your own data center to better serve the business and deliver services to end users in a more cost-effective and manpower-efficient manner (the private cloud). In both instances, there are numerous clear benefits in terms of cost, hardware utilization and management, but one of the biggest organizational benefits to be derived from the use of cloud-based services, particularly those provided by external bodies, is the reduction in burden on the IT department. Of all the benefits that can be achieved through the use of cloud services, it frees up internal resources and reduces the workload of key IT staff. Automation helps release important internal resources and key staff for other high-priority work that can deliver higher value to the business Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 3

4 Transferring workload into the cloud Whether an organization is starting afresh with a cloud service or transferring existing data and applications to a cloud environment, the operational benefits are numerous:»saving» time: Businesses save time at almost every stage of the cloud service process cloud computing services become functional far faster than other client server systems as so much of the deployment and maintenance process is automated for you. At the same time, recovery from failure and rollback from error can be reduced due to all asset information being server-side and ready to access straight away Automation: Businesses no longer need dedicated hardware, software and personnel resources to manage backups and deploy patches, as this is done for you in the cloud by the service or the cloud provider Provisioning: There is no need for the IT department to undertake physical installation of software on the server, apart from the installation of an agent on each device. Initial provisioning often takes only a few clicks in a web interface Scalability: There is no need to manage and maintain redundant and costly licenses and IT resources as cloud services can be scaled up to meet demand. So, as an organization s IT infrastructure grows, core IT services must quickly scale to monitor and protect the business. Cloud computing reduces cost: Most public cloud services are charged per user, or even per use, ensuring that you only pay for the level of resource your organization actually needs and uses. This means costs are proportional and redundant accounts and licenses are easier to track Lower training needs: Cloud-based services take away configuration and complexity issues for less experienced admins, thus reducing the learning curve and need for training Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 4

5 Accessibility: By placing key services and applications in the cloud, companies can now cater to their remote workers without costly and time-consuming development and implementation of mobile clients, interfaces and APIs 3. The champion of cloud services in the organization is often the CIO (driven by demands for new IT capabilities) or CFO (driven by pressures on budgets and the need for higher returns on investment). However, as the implications and benefits of cloud-based services have such wide-reaching effects across the business, deploying cloud services requires buy-in and support from all aspects of the business, particularly the front-line IT staff. Cloud should not be viewed as a way to strip resources from the IT department, but rather a means to release time and people to work on value-delivering projects that would otherwise have been impossible without additional recruitment or the engagement of external contractors. The transfer to the cloud doesn t stop with applications the movement of data from the client or the on-premise server to remote storage services offers simplification of storage management, as well as a reduction in hardware that has to be managed and replaced as it wears out. Managing the cloud Moving services and data to a cloud environment, or deploying a cloud service from scratch does not mean losing control of application, data and user management. In fact, moving the management process itself to the cloud offers organizations numerous opportunities to reduce software complexity and simplify the process of monitoring the wider IT estate, regardless of whether users and their devices are in the core workplace. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is what most IT professionals think about when they talk about moving IT management and monitoring functions to the cloud. IaaS management solutions offer a number of opportunities for IT departments looking to unencumber themselves, while retaining tight oversight and control over users, applications, services and data: Monitor a mixture of resources: A cloud-based management service can be used to monitor the status of servers, security and activity for both on-premise and cloud-based resources, allowing the IT department to keep a single console/single view approach to management, without having to keep all the resources in one place or the other. Manage virtual and physical servers: Whether on-premise or remote, servers are physical or densely-backed virtual machines (VMs); these can all be managed in the same way, provisioned and redeployed from a single remote console, delivering a global view without costly site-to-site links 3 Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 5

6 Minimal client installation: In order to manage devices, particularly on-premise clients and servers, in general a small agent needs to be installed. This is usually a one-time install and takes seconds. Other solutions do not require an agent, meaning only a handful of on-premise servers need software installation intervention in order to monitor the entire client estate via the cloud. Taking an agent-based approach can be beneficial because no sensitive data leaves the network. Remote storage: Transferring data to the cloud can drastically reduce on-site storage hardware infrastructure, and improve storage utilization by removing localized data silos. Data from chip maker AMD 4 revealed that 63 percent of organizations using a cloud infrastructure estimate they store more than $250,000 worth of data in the cloud. Not only does that reduce the physical requirement that needs to be managed, replaced and serviced, but also transfers backup and space management requirements out-of-house. Summary The potential benefits of employing cloud-based services, either in place of existing IT resources or alongside them, are undoubtedly significant. Whether working with a public cloud provider serving a multitude of different customers or a hybrid cloud option that bridges both the external cloud supplier and on-premise technology, organizations can unlock access to benefits including lower running costs, reduced hands-on administration and access to economies of scale normally only available to the largest of companies with their own substantial data center resources. However, it is important to remember that a well-planned and executed cloud computing strategy is not a replacement for a good IT department, but rather something that can benefit and make more productive both the IT department and the company as a whole, by simplifying application management, maintenance and deployment, introducing rapid and reactionary scalability and consolidating management of multiple resources in multiple locations via a central cloud-based point of presence. About GFI Cloud GFI Cloud is the web-based IT management solution that gives you control of your IT environment in 10 minutes or less. Whether you have 5 or 500 employees, its simple-to-use dashboard enables you to easily manage essential GFI software services on all your workstations and servers. GFI Cloud offers an expanding range of award-winning software services, providing businesses with a single integrated solution to streamline their IT management. The first services available on this platform are GFI Network Server Monitor Online and GFI VIPRE Business Online ; together they offer integrated antivirus, asset tracking and network management. One provider one platform for your IT management needs. For hands-on experience with GFI Cloud, you can register for a free 30-day trial of Network Server Monitor Online or VIPRE Business Online from Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 6

7 USA, CANADA AND CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICA Weston Parkway, Suite 104, Cary, NC 27513, USA Telephone: +1 (888) Fax: +1 (919) North Garden Ave, Suite 1200, Clearwater, FL 33755, USA Telephone: +1 (888) Fax: +1 (919) UK AND REPUBLIC OF IRELAND Magna House, London Road, Staines-upon-Thames, Middlesex, TW18 4BP, UK Telephone: +44 (0) Fax: +44 (0) EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA GFI House, San Andrea Street, San Gwann, SGN 1612, Malta Telephone: Fax: AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND 83 King William Road, Unley 5061, South Australia Telephone: Fax: For a full list of GFI offices/contact details worldwide, please visit Disclaimer GFI Software. All rights reserved. All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. The information and content in this document is provided for informational purposes only and is provided as is with no warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. GFI Software is not liable for any damages, including any consequential damages, of any kind that may result from the use of this document. The information is obtained from publicly available sources. Though reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the data provided, GFI makes no claim, promise or guarantee about the completeness, accuracy, recency or adequacy of information and is not responsible for misprints, out-of-date information, or errors. GFI makes no warranty, express or implied, and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in this document. If you believe there are any factual errors in this document, please contact us and we will review your concerns as soon as practical. Cloud-based services: Easing the IT burden while taking control 7

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