How will Infrastructure as a Service Benefit Your Company?
September 20, 2017
There are more reasons than ever to move to the Cloud: greater flexibility, lower costs and improved control, to name a few. But cloud-gazing alone will only get you so far. Understanding exactly which benefits and challenges apply to your company will help you make the switch.
<<< Start >>>
<<< End >>>
As the digital revolution continues to heat up, companies are scrambling to meet their infrastructure requirements in ways that are scalable, affordable and secure. Access to unprecedented amounts of real-world customer data is driving new business models and value propositions in every industry, from online retail to health insurance. In today’s data-driven market, providing the best possible customer experience has become a matter of crunching increasingly complex numbers.
Of course, dealing with all this data is staggeringly resource-intensive. It requires reliable access to raw processing power in a format that provides both flexibility and stability. Use cases are as varied as they are challenging. Innovators, for example, need to keep initial infrastructure costs low, while preserving the ability to scale up at speed when projects take off. Insurance providers in the Netherlands must be able to seamlessly handle a massive influx of queries and customer data at the end of the year, when consumers have the opportunity to switch plans. Likewise, online retailers must roll with seasonal fluctuations in demand while also running advanced digital analytics to gauge and predict consumer behavior.
In most cases, traditional approaches are simply unable to cope with these variations in demand. Adding new hardware on-premise is a costly affair that can take weeks or even months. What’s more, these types of investments make scaling back nearly impossible. Enter Infrastructure as a Service. If the aim of the game is to increase flexibility while reducing TCO, IaaS provides benefits that are hard to ignore.
Does your company regularly run large numbers of projects? Are you an innovator who constantly hunts for new opportunities, testing novel applications to prove their merits? Is your business subject to seasonal variations in demand? Are you pivoting to a more data-driven market approach, or is your organization growing rapidly?
Each situation presents a valid reason to at least consider the benefits of moving to IaaS. Using on-premise infrastructure to adapt to changing processing requirements is costly and time-consuming. Public cloud infrastructure allows you to side-step these concerns and turn the tables in your favor.
One of the primary benefits of IaaS is cost reduction. When you need a wide range of development and testing environments to support your core business, or generally field a large number of projects, on-premise infrastructure costs can spiral quickly. IaaS greatly simplifies provisioning and IT management, and the costs are lower than investing in physical hardware. These costs may then be included in overall Opex, which can be an advantage in and of itself. And finally, opting for IaaS also allows you to avoid unnecessary on-site maintenance costs and staffing costs.
Expanding on-premise infrastructure is a time-consuming affair. In addition to the time it takes to source and deliver the hardware that your applications require, basic operational steps like installation, testing and network integration will slow your response time. IaaS allows you to skip these steps, dramatically reducing the time required to scale up – and scale back down.
Infrastructure is never just a matter of hardware. To keep everything running smoothly, you also need a team of qualified specialists to handle day-to-day operations. IaaS effectively outsources these concerns. Instead of investing precious time and resources in attracting new talent and keeping that talent abreast of the latest developments, you can defer to the expertise of your cloud provider. They will root out vulnerabilities, manage security and configure the network for you, allowing you to focus on your core business.
For companies who already use Oracle products, the benefits of transitioning to IaaS are increased by utilizing Oracle IaaS solutions. Oracle cloud infrastructure is optimized for use with its applications and databases, ensuring hardware and software integrate quickly and painlessly. This back-and-forth optimization also improves system efficiency, further reducing your total cost of ownership.
Still, your company won’t have to switch to Oracle software to reap the benefits of its IaaS services. As one of the world’s foremost suppliers of IaaS capability, Oracle technology is exhaustively certified, which makes it a viable choice for a wide range of applications and requirements. The cloud platform has excellent interoperability with other architectures and technologies, allowing it to adapt easily to your specific requirements. Interestingly, tests have proven Oracle solutions to be both faster and cheaper than other leading IaaS providers.
Despite having many valid reasons to switch to IaaS, companies are often reluctant to take the final step. This is quite understandable: Infrastructure as a Service brings unique challenges and risks. Still, the rewards are too great to let yourself get bogged down in the marsh of uncertainty. Instead, it is far better to meet these challenges head on and take a measured, pragmatic approach.
When you store and process sensitive materials like customer data or proprietary information, security immediately becomes a top priority. The benefits of switching to IaaS can easily be overshadowed by these concerns. Will your provider be as committed to security as you are? How do they screen their employees? Do they adhere to the same standards as you do? Who has access to their data centers, and why? Do they keep records of every interaction?
<<< Start >>>
Cybercrime is on the rise. Our increasingly data-driven global economy presents golden opportunities to hackers. To stem the tide of leaks, breaches and attacks, large organizations are increasingly looking to the cloud for data security. And with good reason.
<<< End >>>
It’s always best to meet these concerns head-on. You should select an IaaS supplier that is transparent about their protocols, can prove they meet the latest security standards, shows you exactly how they screen their employees, allows you to perform your own assessments and has rock-solid SLA’s. Every component in their infrastructure must meet your requirements, and you should expect them to be open and up-front about this.
With a supplier like Oracle, you can be certain their commitment to security is on par with your own. After all, they have a vested interest in hiring the best specialists and meeting the strictest security requirements. Recently, Oracle bolstered its clouds security with machine learning and AI, adding to their security capabilities.
Compliance is the second major hurdle that organizations must overcome when transitioning to IaaS. In many cases, there are specific requirements that determine how companies or governments must handle their data. Businesses operating in the European Union, for example, must adhere to EU data privacy laws. Consequently, they must be able to prove that the services they provide are verified by risk and compliance officers to meet certain standards.
The big question with regards to IaaS, of course, is how your provider handles these issues. And again, it is wise to meet this issue head-on. Does your company process credit card data? If so, your IaaS solution will need to meet the same requirements you do. You will always need to perform your own testing and QA, but your cloud provider should be able to provide the necessary certification. The same applies to data privacy. If you handle European consumer data, you must comply with EU data law. This means your provider will need to provide clear assurances that the data is stored in the European Union, or otherwise ensure that data handling meets the compliance guidelines.
Naturally, working with a cloud provider that has the required certifications will make your life a lot easier. Oracle is such a provider, having secured compliance certifications for a wide range of highly regulated industries.
Switching to IaaS will provide your company with tangible benefits. By setting up an efficient, flexible environment, you will be able to adapt to changing customer needs while simultaneously reducing your total cost of ownership. However, you must take great care to ensure that the process is handled correctly.
For many organizations, such a transition will be the first and only time they deal with IaaS providers. Accenture, however, has years of experience in guiding and facilitating these transitions. Our involvement in the Accenture Oracle Business Group enables us to bring in the latest assets and fast-track the contract process for provisioning and management. In addition, our Cyber Security Center has the expertise necessary to ensure full compliance between your IaaS solutions and the latest security standards. We can assist you in every aspect of the transition, from platform evaluations to compatibility analyses to the migration of your workloads to the cloud, effectively guaranteeing a seamless and efficient integration between your systems and the cloud.
By embracing the cloud and incorporating it into your strategy, you will be able to increase your flexibility, speed, and innovative capacity, allowing you to react quickly to new opportunities and the changes in your business environment. And at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather be the disruptor than the disruptee?