Maximise the Benefits of Cloud for Business Agility
Finworks’ Approach to Migrating Data to the Cloud
In recent years, many businesses have focused on cloud infrastructure and platforms to manage their applications and data. However, while addressing governance and financial issues, organisations have consistently struggled to increase time-to-market, improve agility, and create a positive customer experience.
According to Gartner, more than 85% of organisations will adopt cloud-first strategies by 2025, and businesses will struggle to perform without relying on cloud-native designs and technology. Cloud computing provides a flexible operating model that allows organisations to save time and cost, improve business operations, and encourage innovation.
Table of Contents
- The Pros of Cloud Computing
- The Cons of Cloud Computing
- On-Premises Infrastructure
- Choosing Between Cloud and On-Premises Solutions
- Consideration Stage and Questions to Ask
- Preliminary Stage
- The Design Stage
- Implementation Stage
- Maintenance and Support
Cloud vs. On-Premises Infrastructure: What’s the Difference?
The decision between adopting cloud-based infrastructure or maintaining on-premises hardware and network systems is a crucial one for organisations. There are clear advantages to migrating to the cloud, but it’s essential to understand the upsides and downsides of each before making a choice.
Maintaining your infrastructure on-premises gives you more control over data security, which can be particularly critical for organisations with strict compliance requirements.
On-premises infrastructure can offer high reliability, but this depends on your ability to implement robust disaster recovery and backup solutions.
Complete Data Ownership:
With on-premises solutions, you have complete ownership and control over your data, reducing concerns about data access by third parties.
Over time, on-premises infrastructure can offer cost predictability, as you won’t be subject to the periodic price increases that cloud providers may implement.
Data privacy primarily concerns the protection of individuals' personal information and their right to control how their data is collected, used, and shared. It revolves around respecting the privacy of data subjects.
Rights and Consent:
Data privacy emphasises obtaining consent from individuals before collecting their data. It also allows individuals to access their data, correct inaccuracies, and request its deletion.
Data privacy regulations define specific requirements for handling personal data. Compliance involves respecting these legal frameworks and ensuring that individuals' data rights are upheld.
Data privacy concerns practices like obtaining explicit consent for marketing emails, allowing users to review and delete their online profiles, and providing data collection and usage transparency.
Data security is primarily concerned with protecting data from unauthorised access, breaches, or leaks, regardless of whether the data is personal or not. It encompasses broader aspects of safeguarding data from various threats.
Data security involves implementing various technical and organisational measures that ensure data confidentiality, integrity, and availability. This includes encryption, access controls, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems.
Data security identifies potential vulnerabilities and threats, assesses risks, and implements mitigation strategies to reduce and prevent the impact of security incidents.
Data security practices include securing databases with strong passwords, encrypting sensitive files, conducting regular security audits, and training employees on security best practices.
Choosing Between Cloud and On-Premises Solutions
Organisations must make a comprehensive evaluation of their business and IT requirements, with a focus on future considerations as they decide to choose between cloud-based solutions and on-premises infrastructure. As businesses seek to harness various digital technologies, the demand for increased agility, flexibility, and scalability that comes with cloud storage becomes paramount.
The criteria for determining the best fit between cloud and on-premises infrastructures revolve around five primary areas:
Cloud systems generally offer a high level of performance and availability, incorporating the latest features and application programming interface (API) frameworks for seamless application and process integration. However, there may be specific computing, networking, storage, or software requirements that the cloud cannot meet in certain instances.
Deployment and Management:
Cloud-hosted environments provide a significant advantage in swiftly deploying resources and making dynamic adjustments. Development processes can also accelerate in the cloud, particularly with the availability of low-code or no-code tools. Most organisations can achieve a centralised view of their operations and security controls, simplifying administrative and management tasks.
The primary financial distinction between cloud and on-premises systems revolves around the choice between capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx) models. A CapEx model includes an upfront investment in hardware and software and ongoing expenses for resource maintenance and replacement. On the other hand, an OpEx model operates on a pay-as-you-go framework, with costs incurred only for the actively used resources. While it may result in higher direct costs, this approach can prove cost-effective due to reduced staffing requirements.
In a cloud environment, an organisation surrenders control over hardware and software decisions, as these are determined by the cloud provider. Additionally, data typically resides in the cloud, which means that rare service interruptions can temporarily impede access to the data until normal service is restored.
Cloud-based technology generally provides robust security, often surpassing what companies can achieve internally. Nonetheless, there are situations where data must remain on-premises, for example for some organisations in the healthcare and financial sectors, which are subject to stringent regulations. It is important to note that while cloud providers typically offer state-of-the-art security measures, they do not assume responsibility for any security issues occurring outside the cloud environment, including those triggered by ransomware attacks.
Moving from On-Premises Infrastructure to the Cloud
Migrating from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud is a significant step for any organisation. This transformation offers the promise of scalability, cost-efficiency, and agility, but it requires careful planning and execution. In this detailed guide, we’ll break down the process into five key stages:
1. Consideration Stage and Questions to Ask:
Before a cloud migration journey, it’s crucial to lay a solid foundation. At the consideration stage, organisations should ask these essential questions:
Why are you moving to the cloud?
Determine the driving forces behind the migration. Is it to achieve cost savings, improve scalability, or enhance flexibility? Understanding the “why" is fundamental.
What to consider for investment?
Evaluate the costs associated with the migration, including hardware, software, and ongoing operational expenses. Calculate the return on investment (ROI).
What are the potential risks?
Identifying and assessing potential risks includes evaluating the potential for data security breaches, data loss, or service disruptions during the migration.
What are your cost expectations?
Set realistic expectations for costs. Consider both the initial expenses and the ongoing operational costs of using cloud services.
What are the timelines?
Clients often have different timeframes for migration. The design and planning phase should ideally remain fixed, and project plans can be adjusted to accommodate different migration timelines. However, it’s important to manage client expectations regarding what is feasible within their timeframes.
2. Preliminary Stage:
The preliminary stage involves gathering essential information and assessing your existing infrastructure. This stage lays the groundwork for a successful migration.
Categorise the data you plan to migrate based on sensitivity. Identify confidential, personal, public, or secret data. This classification will guide your security measures. Different types of data may require different security measures.
Many financial organisations have legacy applications that might not easily migrate to the cloud or require adaptation. It’s important to assess the current on-premises applications to determine their compatibility with cloud-native architecture.
Assess Volume of Data:
If the organisation has large databases, it needs to ensure that the chosen cloud platform can support the size of its data. Suppose a cloud provider has limitations on the size of databases they can handle. In that case, the organisation may need to explore other options, such as changing their application or using a different cloud provider.
Dependency of Systems:
Identify system dependencies and integration points. Understanding how different systems interact within your current infrastructure is crucial for a smooth migration.
3. The Design Stage:
The design stage is where you plan the architecture and structure of your cloud environment, ensuring it aligns with your business needs.
During this phase, you must plan your network architecture in the cloud. Consider factors such as virtual private cloud (VPC) design, subnets, and how data will flow between on-premises and cloud environments. This design ensures that your cloud resources are properly connected and can communicate securely.
Governance, Access, and Permissions:
Establish governance policies and access control mechanisms. This includes setting up role-based access control (RBAC), defining user permissions, and ensuring that only authorised personnel can access and modify cloud resources. Compliance with industry regulations should be a part of this governance framework.
Define the structure of your cloud environment, including resource groupings, naming conventions, and the organisation of cloud resources. This helps maintain a clear and organised cloud infrastructure, making it easier to manage and troubleshoot.
Perform a comprehensive risk analysis to identify potential security and operational risks associated with the cloud migration. This includes evaluating the impact of data breaches, service disruptions, compliance violations, and other threats. Develop strategies to mitigate these risks.
Implement a robust set of security measures that align with your risk analysis findings. This involves configuring security groups, firewall rules, data encryption at rest and in transit, and monitoring solutions. Security should be a top priority to protect your data and infrastructure in the cloud.
4. Implementation Stage:
The implementation stage involves putting your migration plan into action. This phase requires careful execution and testing:
This involves setting up the actual cloud infrastructure, including virtual machines, storage, databases, and other resources. You should carefully design and configure the infrastructure to meet your requirements, ensuring that it aligns with your networking design from the previous stage.
Designing deployment pipelines is essential for automating the management and deployment of the cloud. This can include creating Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipelines that allow for the automated deployment of code and applications in the cloud. It also involves setting up version control, integration testing, and other software development best practices.
Comprehensive testing is crucial to ensure the reliability and functionality of the cloud environment. This includes performance testing, security testing, load testing, and compliance testing. It’s important to verify that all systems work as expected and are secure in the cloud environment. A robust testing strategy can help identify and resolve issues before they impact your operations.
5. Maintenance and Support:
This stage involves the ongoing monitoring, upkeep, and support of the solution that was implemented in the earlier phases. It’s essential to ensure that the solution continues to operate effectively and meets the client’s needs.
Ensure that all aspects of the solution are well-documented so that maintenance teams have a clear understanding of the system’s architecture, configurations, and dependencies.
Implement proactive monitoring to detect issues before they impact the system’s performance. This helps in identifying and addressing problems early.
Regular Updates and Patching:
Keep the software and infrastructure up-to-date with regular updates and security patches to prevent vulnerabilities.
Maintain open lines of communication with the customer to address their evolving needs and preferences. This will help in avoiding mid-project changes that can disrupt the implementation.
Develop a robust change management process to handle any alterations to the solution, ensuring that changes are thoroughly reviewed and documented before implementation.
Training and Support:
Provide ongoing training and support to the client’s team to ensure they can effectively use and maintain the solution.
Continuously assess and optimise the system’s performance to meet changing requirements.
Data Management in Cloud Computing: Simplifying Operations and Driving Business Success
In today’s dynamic business landscape, effective data management in the cloud is crucial for organisations to streamline operations. Finworks offers comprehensive solutions to address the evolving needs of businesses in the realm of cloud computing. Here’s how Finworks can assist your organisation:
Data Management Expertise:
We can provide businesses with the expertise needed to efficiently manage their data in the cloud. They can offer solutions to ensure that data is stored, secured, and organised effectively in a cloud environment.
Finworks can offer automation solutions that streamline data management processes, reducing the need for manual intervention. This can include automated backups, data archiving, and data migration, ensuring data is always available and up-to-date.
We help organisations shift from a technical-centric approach to a business-centric one when it comes to data management in the cloud. This means aligning data management strategies with business goals and outcomes rather than getting bogged down in technical details.
By offering cost-effective cloud data management solutions, Finworks can help companies optimise their IT budgets. With cloud services, organisations can pay for what they use, making it more cost-efficient compared to maintaining on-premises data centres.
Finworks can assist companies in transitioning to cloud-based data management, ensuring a smooth and secure migration of data and applications to the cloud. We can provide the necessary expertise to manage data, tailoring solutions to the specific needs of the business.
Data Security and Compliance:
Ensuring data security and compliance with relevant regulations is crucial. Finworks can offer robust security measures, data encryption, and compliance solutions to protect sensitive information and meet industry-specific requirements.
What are Data Security Technologies and Practices to Protect Your Data
Data security technologies and practices are essential for safeguarding your data from unauthorised access, breaches, and data loss. Protecting your data is crucial to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Here are some key data security technologies and practices to consider:
Use encryption algorithms to secure data at rest (on storage devices) and in transit (during communication). Implement technologies like SSL/TLS for secure data transfer and full-disk encryption for data storage.
Implement robust access controls to limit who can access your data. Use role-based access control (RBAC) and strong authentication methods like multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure only authorised users can access sensitive information.
Deploy network firewalls to monitor and filter incoming and outgoing traffic. Application layer firewalls can protect against specific threats targeting applications and services.
Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)
Employ IDPS solutions to detect and respond to suspicious activities or attacks in real-time. These systems can help prevent security breaches by alerting administrators to potential threats.
Data Loss Prevention (DLP)
Use DLP tools to monitor and control the movement of sensitive data within and outside your organisation. DLP solutions can prevent data leaks and unauthorised data transfers.
Regular Patch Management
Keep your software and systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Attackers can take advantage of vulnerabilities in out-of-date software.
Security Awareness Training
Educate and train employees about data security best practices, including safe handling of data, recognising phishing attempts, and creating strong passwords.
Secure Backup and Recovery
Regularly back up your data and store backups securely, both on-site and off-site. Implement a disaster recovery plan to ensure data availability in case of a breach or system failure.
Security Audits and Monitoring
Continuously monitor systems and networks for suspicious activities and perform security audits to identify vulnerabilities.
Incident Response Plan
Develop an incident response plan that outlines the steps to take in case of a security breach. Make sure everyone in the organisation is aware of their roles and responsibilities in such situations.
Classify data based on its sensitivity level and implement appropriate security controls accordingly. Not all data requires the same level of protection.
Vendor Risk Management
Assess the security practices of third-party vendors and partners who have access to your data. Ensure they meet your security standards.
Compliance with Data Protection Regulations
Stay compliant with relevant data protection regulations, such as GDPR in the UK and EU, by implementing necessary controls and reporting mechanisms.
Simplify Data Management In the Cloud
Finworks simplifies cloud data management and approaches the cloud migration in a holistic way to drive business success. By automating processes, customising solutions, ensuring data security, and planning for the future, Finworks empowers organisations to fully leverage the potential of the cloud while focusing on their core competencies.
Take the next step towards simplifying your data management in the cloud and driving success. Contact us today to explore our cloud solutions and discover how we can help your organisation thrive while transforming operations.