The innovational technologies industry does not stay the same all the time. Even its name speaks for itself. So, it is highly important for all the companies and individuals, related to this sphere, to keep up with the rest of the world and constantly implement new innovative solutions in software products.
One such technological trend, which appeared recently, is to move to Cloud, or simply Cloud migration. To make it simple, moving to Cloud means transferring some software elements or other app components and processes like data storage into the Web. Yet, it is not the same as creating a new website or domain specifically for these purposes. Instead, it is rather a way of delegating some of the development practices and tasks to third parties, using their software and hardware to achieve your goals and replacing some of the network infrastructure processes with ready-made solutions. As a matter of fact, the users most probably won’t even see the difference, yet it will be oblivious for the development team.
Paraphrasing a famous saying “to Cloud or not to Cloud? That is the question”. In other words, this type of computing has become a real arguable point in modern software engineering, hasn’t it? Actually, the answer may be a surprise. Despite all the cons of a cloud migration strategy, there is a wide range of successful examples of adopting such technology in different spheres, related to software development. There are a few examples of cloud gaming, hundreds of cases when shared documents and other paperwork, possibly thanks to such a migration, or even a built-in feature of some OS, when part of files are transferred to the Cloud, instead of storing them on the device.
As a matter of fact, most common and regularly used software services like Google Docs, Office365, iCloud, and others are already using this technology as a must-have feature. Yet, before actually starting the adoption of Cloud Computing, you should know what you are dealing with, what are the types of cloud computing, and why to choose one. In order to understand whether to cloud or not to cloud, let’s start with the basics.
To cut a long story short, cloud computing is a way to store and transfer your IT resources, required for the correct work of an application, avoiding the need to do it on-premises. Yet, this is the most basic and primitive explanation, which was actually true for the very beginning of cloud technologies. As for today, cloud computing proposes much more scalable and complex solutions. There are 3 main types of cloud computing:
Probably, you have already met at least one of these terms before. In this list, the complexity of these cloud services is increasing from the top, i.e. IaaS is the simplest cloud solution, while SaaS is the most complex and complicated.
Frankly, there is a very easy explanation for cloud computing services. In fact, these are ready-made solutions, which are covering a part of the software development processes and the maintenance of a software product, helping the developers to “outsource” part of their tasks and focus on more important assignments.
Types of cloud computing have a very simple explanation as well. To make it simple, they differ from each other in the scale of proposed services. For instance, IaaS is similar to renting some components, related to the software infrastructure. Mainly, IaaS is about data storage and transfer. So, it is limited to data centers on demand, remote servers, and data storage, as well as network settings and security. Consider it as extra storage, which helps to store part of your belongings away from home.
Platform as a Service includes all the services of IaaS, yet adds some extra features like Operational systems and other development tools, combined with database management and business analysis services and instruments. In other words, PaaS proposes a more complete solution for the development team, which helps to avoid various bureaucratic procedures, tech stack considerations, etc. Instead, a development company can simply buy a whole set of required tools and start using them immediately and in the cloud.
Finally, SaaS, the most superior and complete type of cloud computing is a software as a service, which is basically a ready-to-use software application, developers and companies are using for various purposes. There are two types of such technology: user-oriented and corporate. User-oriented SaaS is actually most of the modern web services like Gmail, Office365, Slack, and others. The corporate cloud computing systems, on the other hand, are mainly process-specific scalable systems, used for the management of different tasks like CRM software for Freight Forwarding or eCommerce apps, Enterprise resource planning software, etc.
So, what are the reasons for using cloud computing services? Frankly speaking, there are dozens of arguments for moving to the cloud. It can significantly speed up the development process, create more user-friendly and easy-reachable applications, make the development process easier and more convenient for dedicated teams, and so on.
Therefore, instead of simply naming all the advantages of Cloud services, let’s consider the main cloud computing misconceptions and try to dispel them.
Actually, it is not. Probably it is impossible to find a single person, who has an access to the Internet and has never faced Cloud-based services. Your emails, most social media networks, messengers, and other types of applications - all of them are somehow related to Cloud Computing. To add some more, such technology appeared way before regular users got used to the Internet. Have you ever seen all those old computers, which were the size of a room and cost as a house? How do you think software engineers were doing their job? Actually, this way was known as time-sharing, allowing different people to work with the same computer in different time periods.
Another example of cloud computing misconceptions is that lots of people believe, that clouds are unsafe. Frankly, there are some arguments for these beliefs, for instance, Celebgate, when various private photos of different celebrities were stolen from iCloud and published online. This is not the only such example, yet mostly these leaks were possible not because of pure security measures of Cloud services, but the hacks of related accounts. In this particular case, this leak was possible thanks to a phishing attack on the emails of various users, not the iCloud itself.
As a matter of fact, obviously, such file storage and other cloud-based applications will be a high priority for hackers and other ill-wishers. Thus, to avoid potential risks, such cloud projects as Google Cloud Platform or AWS are investing a lot in their cloud cybersecurity policies. Besides, they are implementing cloud cybersecurity policies not only on their side but making your contractor update their own security measures is a common procedure among such cloud service providers, as the AWS security best practices show. Actually, it would be fair to assume that the future of network security is in the cloud, regardless of all misconceptions and beliefs.
Once again, it is not actually correct. Yes, cloud services are slower than having your own on-site data storage, servers, etc. However, the difference is so small, the regular user won’t even notice. Yet, in case, milliseconds matter - then yes, probably cloud computing is not the best choice for you. Nevertheless, judging from our experience, the number of cases, when it is a real deal-breaker, is very small. Mainly, they are limited to some very specific and incredibly important industries, where each moment is highly important.
So, alternatively, if you don’t want or can’t actually adopt Cloud computing in your software project, then you will have to improve and increase the physical servers and data storage. Additionally, you will definitely need a specified software development team, which will be dealing with your data, performing data management, and monitoring business operations.
Eventually, apart from your industry specifics or possible regulations like GDPR, which creates some limitations on data sharing and requires additional legal documents like a DPA agreement, there are also a few other scenarios, when it is better to avoid adopting such technology.
Probably the most obvious, yet crucial aspect, which will define the potential possibilities of your app to move to the Cloud is the stability of the Internet connection. Of course, for most of us, it is almost impossible to imagine scenarios, when you have a poor internet connection. Yet, practice shows that even today, there are lots of cases, when you or your users will lack an Internet connection. Additionally, don’t forget about the offline-first applications, which are proposing the offline mode feature. In such cases, cloud computing is mostly not the best idea due to the fact, that cloud-based apps depend a lot on the network connection. Actually, most of their features won’t simply work, because as we said before, serverless computing is a way to store and transfer IT resources, required for work.
So, if you are developing an offline-first app or your target audience may struggle with an internet connection, it is preferred to avoid cloud implementation.
Yes, previously we said that the future of network security is in the cloud. Clearly, modern cloud cybersecurity is surprisingly good and overcomes some of the more traditional development approaches, when it comes to security policies. Nevertheless, if you are going to work with highly vulnerable and important data, it is probably better to invest in your own cybersecurity measures and keep such data on-site.
We are not telling, that the Cloud is unreliable or may be not safe enough. Instead, we are proposing you avoid risks in some cases and take measures on your own. Clearly, if you have a highly important task, you probably won’t delegate it to third parties, no matter how famous or responsible they are. This is common sense. So why should you actually trust important data to Cloud security instead of investing in your own security?
Still, we want to mention once again, that in this scenario, we are talking about very important and highly vulnerable data, which should not fall into the wrong hands. You are the one to decide which data can be shared in the cloud and which not. Yet, don’t forget about common sense and don’t automatically consider email addresses or user names as nuclear rockets launch codes.
Eventually, it is time to make your own decision on whether it is worth moving to the cloud, or not. All we can do is give final advice, judging from our own experience.
In most cases we have worked with or are aware of, Cloud Computing is rather a great opportunity to increase enterprise productivity and efficiency by delegating part of the responsibilities to third parties. Consider it a long-term outsourcing, when part of the task on your project is taken care of by third-party software developers. Yet, in the case of cloud computing, no matter which level you have chosen, you are primarily renting a required service. Will you limit yourself to the basic yet expensive hardware like servers, or going to avoid multiple development steps and buy a full pack of cloud-based solutions like CRM for your eCommerce platform? You are the one to decide, which is the best for you.
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There are several reasons to use cloud computing for your software, including Scalability, Cost-effectiveness, Accessibility, Reliability, and Security.
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