Achieve the Five Holy Grails of Business with the Cloud

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1 Achieve the Five Holy Grails of Business with the oip technology represents a radical shift in the traditional IT model, but like most game-changing developments, it s a simple idea that makes so much sense the business community will soon wonder how it managed without it.

2 Achieve the Five Holy Grails of technology represents a radical shift in the traditional IT model, but like most game-changing developments, it s a simple idea that makes so much sense the business community will soon wonder how it managed without it. Public and private organisations across all sectors have never needed to cut costs and maximise efficiency more than they do now. In an increasingly tough market, with more competition and greater external pressures than ever, businesses are finding that they have to work harder and think smarter just to keep pace. Fortunately, the development of cloud-based IT is helping organisations of all sizes achieve value, scalability, flexibility, resilience and responsiveness the five holy grails of business. 2

3 What is the? has been defined as scalable computing resources provided as an external service via the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis. In other words, resources, software and information can be provided to users as a utility, in the same way as electricity or water. For this reason, it is also sometimes known as utility computing or IT on demand. As the possibilities of have become more evident, adoption of the technology has become more widespread. Financial services organisations are leading the way in adoption but 78 per cent of UK organisations are utilising in one form or another. Industry Forum. As consumers, 95 per cent of us are benefiting from services whether it s online banking, apps stores or social media. is big business. IDC forecasts that spending on the in the public sector will more than double over the next five years to $127.5 billion. Enterprise Tech The is not a place. It s a way of doing things. 3

4 The Benefits of the The model offers numerous advantages over the traditional IT distribution model. services are much faster, cheaper and easier to access, because there s very little capital investment or set-up involved. The cloud model means that organisations can try out new applications, systems or resources quickly and on a small scale to start with, rather than committing to months of implementation, training and rollout that may or may not pay off. services are also associated with the following business benefits: Reduced Cost Lower costs are arguably the most obvious benefit and the key driver for most organisations. services are an operational, rather than capital expenditure, so they re easier to budget for. Businesses don t need to invest in expensive hardware, software or infrastructure because all of this is paid for and managed by the provider offsite. You will only ever pay for what you use and usually at a vastly reduced cost because you can take advantage of the economies of scale your provider is able to command. You might also find that with useful additional services from a cloud provider, you get better value from your existing hardware and software investments. Agility The offers a set of flexible and scalable resources. The elastic nature of services means users can scale up and down, often instantaneously, to match changing demand over time. This scalable, on-demand nature of services provides significant improvements in business agility. Being able to scale provision up and down instantly, and on-board new services rapidly, delivers a degree of responsiveness that is unobtainable with an on-premise IT estate. The ability to react quickly to changes in demand for IT resources enables businesses to exploit emerging markets and technologies whilst not leaving them exposed to over-provisioning when demand reduces. Increased Productivity resources are accessed via a web browser from any device with an internet connection, making collaboration and remote working much more straightforward. With it, employees can use the information and applications they have at work when they re at home or on the move, meaning they re able to get more out of the working day. There s also less chance of time being wasted as a result of technical glitches, because a good provider will ensure systems are 4

5 The Benefits of the properly maintained and updates applied as soon as they become available. If your internet access goes down, secure backup and disaster recovery will allow you to pick up where you left off. And because your provider deals with all problems, your internal IT staff are freed-up to spend time on value-adding work. Less Hassle Another major benefit is how fast and easy it is to implement new software and systems. With the infrastructure already in place, getting your new service set up takes minutes, not weeks. And once they re up and running you don t need to worry about servicing or maintenance, because all that is taken care of for you In fact, an experienced provider will offer 24/7 support, complete accountability and exceptional customer service delivered to pre-agreed SLAs. They ll make proactive suggestions to help you get the best value from your subscriptions, and tailor your solution to suit your particular circumstances. Better Security Large, established providers that operate off-site servers have extremely robust security measures in place far more robust, in fact, than the security measures most individual organisations are able to afford. Good cloud solutions should include disaster recovery and back-up, where your files are stored multiple times at remote locations so there s always an up-to-date copy available. Reputable providers will also take additional security measures such as data encryption to ensure the complete safety of your data. is consumed as a utility. Services are effectively metered and can be monitored, controlled and reported on to provide transparency for consumer and provider alike. Flexibility One of the most significant shifts in business operations over the past decade has been the rise in workforce mobility. Changing shift patterns, the global marketplace and the advent of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) has made the old model of one worker, one workstation, redundant. Users require ubiquitous access to business critical data and applications anytime, anywhere and on any device. Utilising services enables users to benefit from standard office applications and the latest collaboration technologies alike, delivering improvements in workforce productivity. 5

6 The Benefits of the resources are available on-demand on a self-service basis; they are location independent. Users are free to provision a range of services, as and when they need them, with little or no intervention from their service provider. Time to Market IT has not always been the most responsive of services. The time taken to commission, configure and roll out new services or upgrades/patches would usually be measured in weeks. The impact on IT department productivity was substantial, leaving IT mired in administrative tasks rather than focussing on strategic technology decision making. With a model, patches and upgrades become automated and the cost of maintaining the latest versions of software is significantly reduced. Compatibility issues are eliminated with all users running identical versions of software. Provisioning new hardware becomes a near-instant process as virtual servers or storage can be added as and when needed. 6

7 The Case Against Whilst the adoption statistics indicate a wealth of support for the, business owners haven t always been enthusiastic. Historically, there have been some fundamental concerns over and not everyone is a fan. The assessment of risk associated with Public adoption has been an inhibiting factor for some organisations. The very features of that promise wide-reaching business benefits are the source of concern. Public is a multi-tenancy technology. This means that a number of disparate users share access to the same computing resource: if one tenant is compromised, potentially all tenants could be. There has also been concern in the past of data leaking between tenants. As a resource available over the web, user authentication and authorisation has implications for data security. Public and Private providers will come under scrutiny when it comes to robust access control policies. As the tenant doesn t own the infrastructure, administrative access is beyond their control. Authentication of users outside of the tenant s organisation is an area of concern. When dealing with a Public provider, the underlying infrastructure is often an unknown quantity. Without understanding what resilience is built in to the system, how can a tenant be assured of resource availability? There have been a number of high-profile service disruptions for major vendors recently; most notably in the summer of 2012 the Amazon servers went down as a result of electrical storms, taking Instagram, Pinterest and Netflix down with them. An extension of the resilience argument is concern over disaster recovery and data retrieval. Although uncommon, there have been instances where customer data has been irretrievably lost. One of the other major concerns is around intellectual property. Who actually owns your data if it s stored on a third party s servers? Service providers like to own the data they store as it limits their liability and provides opportunities for commercial exploitation. The Industry Forum surveyed 250 UK IT decision makers from across the private and public sectors; it was no surprise that data security was the number one concern 90 per cent of public sector and 78 per cent of private sector respondents admitted it was their primary concern. Other factors included the fear of losing control of the IT function, being locked-in to a specific provider, data sovereignty and the cost of migration. In a similar piece of research, the Security Alliance established that data security and location were behind the majority of barriers to adoption Information Security, Data Sovereignty, Information Assurance and Contractual and Regulatory Compliance. 7

8 The Way Forward The concept of cloud IT is now mature enough to be completely safe and readily available. The rapid adoption of cloud-based IT in the UK and around the world, as well as its assistance helping organisations achieve value, scalability, flexibility, resilience and responsiveness, has quelled most doubts about the resource. It s an increasingly liquid world, it s tumultuous. We see restructuring of traditional players and established players are being moved aside People are increasingly relying on software at the application layer and they increasingly need a software-defined infrastructure to enable the level of speed, agility and flexibility to respond to that. Pat Gelsinger, CEO VMware 8

9 About IP Solutions IP Solutions, one of the UK s leading independent communication services providers, has over 10 years of experience providing communication solutions for businesses of all types. Using their extensive market knowledge and analytical tools, they provide costeffective solutions for businesses that are looking to maximise the benefits of Unified Communications. For more information and advice about the latest cloud solutions visit 9

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