This post was originally published here by gregg rodriguez.
Long before cloud computing, traditional IT infrastructure was great for enterprises that needed to run many different types of applications, because it gave them full control of their applications and data on their local servers. It also made security less complex.
Back then you only had data centers to worry about, and the way that enterprises deployed applications was through someone serving as the application owner. That application owner would be responsible for the cost of “hardware,” which once purchased would then be completely dedicated to a specific application. Simple. Better still, the network that the application operated on could also be dedicated to that one application, and this made it very easy to create segmentation between different applications.
Prior to cloud computing, that traditional IT model was great from a security perspective. Since application owners paid for or directed the spending on infrastructure, they knew what they needed to define security measures, as well as how and where they were deployed. In a nutshell, they were able to control their computing environment the way they wanted to.
The downside to that model, from a general economics perspective, is that the environment’s total hardware capacity might only be utilized up to 40 percent of the time. If application A needed more resources, it couldn’t just tap into the unused resources of application B, so those unused resources were wasted capacity, creating an economic problem for the organization.
Enter the Power of the Cloud Computing
While the new approach to setting up a modern application environment using the power of IaaS brings numerous opportunities for optimization, it also presents new challenges from a security and compliance perspective.
Part of the challenge is that cloud computing is more abstract–all the servers, software and networks are hosted in the cloud, off premise, rather than being accessible via physical hardware.
Despite its abstract “nature” the benefits of cloud computing still far outweigh the challenges. Even from a security perspective, because rather than having to make a major capital investment to purchase physical servers in-house, you can get access to computing resources from cloud computing providers on demand and on a pay-per-use basis.
Paying for only what you use eliminates the need to pay for unutilized IT resources, which is a lot more cost effective and extremely appealing from a deployment perspective, as you can whip up a new and improved environment in a matter of minutes.
Top 5 Benefits of Cloud Computing
Agility: Today, your business needs to enable innovation and drive productivity to stay competitive. To continuously evolve and improve your processes, tools, technologies, and policies, you need agility.
Being agile enables you to make quicker and better decisions, and to take the necessary actions that can ensure customer satisfaction. With public cloud, businesses experience simplified internal operations, better delivery, better collaboration, and faster deployments. It also enables improved data gathering and improved analysis.
Using IaaS means you can always count on top-of-the-line IT resources without having to invest your own money in buying them.
Pay-as-you-Grow/Flexible Pricing: Public cloud hosting, offering extremely flexible, pay-as-you-grow models, is the ideal option for many companies as it does not require a long-term commitment or major capital investment.
Like other tech leaders, you are likely looking for flexible contracts to drive cost-effectiveness. Organizations of all sizes try to avoid long-term contracts and commitments to specific storage or bandwidth capacity as they often are challenged to predict their future requirements.
Most public cloud providers will now give you the flexibility to even pay by the hour. That helps businesses, especially the small and medium size, to better control their costs by paying for the infrastructure based on their needs.
Unlimited Space to Grow, Burst and Scale: A public cloud offers unlimited space, without requiring data centers or similar infrastructure on your part. This makes it easy for you to scale up, or down, as your business grows and transitions. If you should need additional storage or processing capacity, all you have to do is request it from your provider. This allows you to rapidly expand your IT capabilities whenever you need to.
Better still, having the ability to scale down if you need to is extremely beneficial from a cost perspective. If you are restructuring your organization or paying for more IaaS capacity than you need, you can simply renegotiate and adjust your contract accordingly. This allows you to save money, and makes your business more responsive and agile.
Faster and Easier Set-Up and Maintenance: Unlike traditional IT infrastructure, you can set up your public cloud within a matter of a few hours, by easily purchasing it on the Internet. Then your IT team can easily configure and manage the set up remotely on the provider website as well, potentially shortening the process from weeks or months to a fraction of the time.
The cloud provider is responsible for the maintenance of the hardware, software, and networks in the cloud, which means you won’t ever have to worry about keeping the infrastructure up-to-date or worry about upgrades.
Economies of Scale/Optimization: The public cloud offers massive economies of scale, something extremely difficult to match with private data centers. You can ensure that the infrastructure is optimally used by seamlessly making adjustments to the inevitable peaks, or spikes, and drops in your workloads.
Additionally, since the infrastructure costs are shared across multiple users, the cloud providers typically optimize the hardware needs of their data centers and can offer you services at lower costs.
Securing Your IaaS
Cloud computing will continue to drive a beneficial shift for enterprises from expensive physical IT resources to much more agile and highly controllable online resources enabling optimization across multiple areas of computing infrastructure. With cloud providers covering all the infrastructure elements, that gives you more time to focus on innovation, deployment and security.
Keep in mind that cloud security is based on a Shared Responsibility Model, so choosing the right cloud security solution to protect what’s “in the cloud” is still up to you. As the number of cloud assets you’ll have to monitor and secure will inevitably increase, you’ll need a solution that uses automation to deliver the scale and speed required to secure every endpoint of the evolving cloud attack surface.
See for yourself how Halo Cloud Secure can give you comprehensive security and compliance visibility of your IaaS environment. Sign up for a free 15-day trial of Halo Cloud Secure today.