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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Top 3 Benefits of Moving to the Cloud!

A great thing about working for a digital agency with over 20 years of experience is that I get to work with some great minds who are experienced leaders in the technology industry. One of those leaders is Warren Gordon, a Maryland Native who has worked in IT for 20 years. Warren graduated from the University of Maryland and later joined the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), where he worked his way to becoming the youngest GS15 in the organization. Warren specializes in managed services, where he has helped the BBG and other organizations move their infrastructures to the cloud. He has been working in cloud infrastructure and managed services since 1998 and has global experience in building data centers in 5 countries.

Warren joined Fig Leaf last year and has been a valuable addition to the team. Warren and his team just migrated forty (40) Intranet sites for a major university to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, so I thought I would sit down with him to learn more about his experience and perspective on the cloud.

Specifically, I wanted to understand what are the driving factors that organizations should consider when moving to the cloud platform. The following are the main points I took away from our conversations as to why every organization should consider cloud and managed services.

Total Cost of Ownership

Owning your own infrastructure can be very expensive, especially when it comes to acquisition costs. Buying services that cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars is a significant capital expenditure. Not only is the cost of initial capital expenses burdensome, but the servers lose value every year through depreciation. Over time, as the infrastructure depreciates, organizations will need to spend more money to refresh the hardware. The cloud option reduces start up costs because all of the hardware will be immediately available with a regular scheduled payment, typically monthly.

With the in-house option, and organization would have to hire or employ technical employees to managed the infrastructure on a daily basis. By moving to the cloud, organization can reduce the need to hire expensive technical employee costs by passing a portion of the costs to a cloud service provider. The cloud option allows organizations to pass on routine hardware and software maintenance and upgrade costs to the cloud service provider and in return the cloud hosting company ensures the up-to-date software and hardware.

A big cost benefit with the cloud that many people overlook, is that many of the cloud hosting options allow organizations to provision for on-demand resource capacity. This means that organizations pay only for the cloud storage they need and have the ability to get more when high demand is needed. Lower demand means lower costs.

Ease of Management

Moving to the cloud makes your technology needs a lot simpler because service providers such as AWS will allow an organization to choose the operating system setup. This reduces the need to spend time dealing with multiple vendors for various technologies. As an Amazon AWS partner, Fig Leaf Software works with organizations to reduce the need to multiple vendors by providing a full suite of cloud and web-related services on the AWS platform.

When your infrastructure is in the cloud you can manage it from anywhere. For Amazon, there is a management portal and console that is available 24x7 and can be accessed from anywhere with online access. This means that organizations can deal with any infrastructure issues at home, without having to ruin a Sunday by traveling to a data center.

Fig Leaf Software supports a wide variety of financial, education and government institutions, so security is a top priority for our clients. It can make some IT people uncomfortable knowing that their infrastructure is in the cloud, but the cloud actually offers benefits to make an organization’s infrastructure more secure.

Most cloud hosting service providers have an experienced security team that is solely focused on their cloud security being up to date, and preventing any potential vulnerabilities. For example, Amazon goes through the process of keeping each of their data centers security certified, so customers can feel comfortable housing sensitive infrastructure on AWS. Many Government organizations are starting to adopt the Amazon cloud model, and the growth within Government has been exponential over the past few years. Amazon has an enhanced security offering that is tailored to Government clients, GovCloud. One important feature of GovCloud is Authorization to Operate (ATO), which allows agencies to easily designate which employees have access to the cloud account.
[Written by: Arya Heidari]

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