Providing a Healthy Balance

Providing a Healthy Balance

Performance and security can stand toe-to-toe in cloud applications

Healthy BalanceDatacenter traffic is predicted to triple by 2017 with the cloud as the biggest traffic source, according to a recent Cisco Global Cloud Index study. Cloud traffic grew from 46 percent of total datacenter traffic in 2012 and will continue until it reaches 69 percent by 2017, accounting for more than two-thirds of all datacenter traffic.

As cloud computing technologies turn mainstream, businesses of all sizes are undergoing a migration process. When choosing a cloud model, small- and medium-sized businesses tend to prefer a public cloud where resources are shared for a lower total cost of ownership; however, businesses that deal with critical information cannot compromise on data integrity and security. Additionally, there are certain applications that need more control over the data being processed.

It is an undisputable fact that the public cloud offers highlyscalable, IT solutions that bring agility to business processes at reduced costs, even though multi-tenancy, RDP vulnerabilities, BYOD, data encryption, data retention and compliancy issues are major considerations that make CIOs hesitate before committing to the public cloud.

This is where the private cloud comes into play.

Shifting to Private Cloud Computing

While private cloud design varies from company to company, one common point is the advantage of resource availability for increased performance while maintaining the security of the networks.

Consider these key drivers behind the shift to private cloud computing:

Enhanced data integrity and security. In a private cloud, there is greater control over the data management system, while data managed through processes is securely stored behind a firewall in a company’s datacenter. Private cloud networks come with enhanced security solutions that are augmented by network security.

Data is securely encrypted and transmitted through a VPN tunnel so that unauthorized people cannot access it. Moreover, data retention issues are prevented as the use of high-standard data sanitization methods completely erases data when it’s no longer needed.

Greater process visibility and control. Cloud computing technology offers highend virtualization tools to optimally use resources. With private cloud computing technology, there is a greater level of transparency when it comes to networking solutions.

Customizing the functionality of the virtualization server enforces security at network level or virtual machine level, and customizes virtual machines and application delivery systems to meet business requirements. Furthermore, the hypervisor interface can be used to make changes to virtual server settings, while in a public cloud, options are much more limited. Compliancy factors. As the data processed within the networks is stored in the datacenter, compliancy issues are resolved. The private cloud overcomes any hurdles relative to the various regulations on the storage of data in different locations. Moreover, the datacenter gains additional control over the data being processed.

Private Cloud Challenges

While companies initially started with public clouds, they are rapidly moving toward the private cloud due to its personalized optimization of resources and security. However, there are certain challenges associated with the private cloud.

Private cloud implementation requires a larger investment. Though the cloud provider offers the infrastructure, new software and hardware needs to be purchased.

Additionally, traditional business processes might not suit the private cloud setup, so new processes need to be established and that requires expertise and knowledge of the technology. Likewise, understanding how the new platform is created and what security measures are enforced is key. And, the infrastructure will still need to be managed to some extent, requiring more human resources, as well.

Using the Private Cloud for Virtualization

While private cloud computing provides efficient, scalable and reliable systems, its full potential lies in the virtualization of applications, desktops, files and folders that can be delivered to various devices.

The goal of the private cloud model is to allow an administrator to manage their technology infrastructure from a single point and assign resources as needed. Owning and managing a private infrastructure may be less cost-effective for a business, but it increases the organization’s ability to manage and protect data. This is especially important for businesses that have strict compliance regulations.

The 12-Step Private Cloud Computing comparison chart above clearly shows the advantages of private cloud computing over both public cloud and local computing.

Hybrid Cloud Computing

In practice, most businesses are using a hybrid cloud solution. The reason is obvious. In the initial days of cloud computing technology, enterprises used public clouds extensively for VDI, RDP and BYOD requirements; however, over the last few years, security issues, operational challenges and data compliancy issues have become a growing concern. This is why businesses started shifting to the private cloud. While the private cloud offered more control and visibility over business processes, huge investments and infrastructure management still remained a concern.

With shrinking IT budgets and rising business demands, companies are looking for an intermediate model of cloud computing technology. The hybrid cloud computing solution rightly fits into this space.

Certain applications require more control over data management solutions, while other applications do not demand such a high level of protection. By integrating the public cloud with the private cloud, businesses get the flexibility to isolate sensitive data while still benefitting from the many advantages offered by the cloud.

Hybrid cloud technologies are still developing at a rapid pace, but one of the biggest challenges posed is the dependency on IT infrastructure. With complex networking solutions running in an environment, both private and public clouds need to be efficiently managed. Choosing the right provider for cloud computing solutions can prevent outages and improve redundancy issues, while offering the highest performance.

The growth in cloud traffic is accelerating, and CIOs need to have a clear strategy to optimize business advantage. Be it a public, private or hybrid cloud, choosing the right model depends on the nature of the business environment.

This article originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Security Today.

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