Interested in cloud integration best practices?
This is a great question which we will answer here.
Before we begin, it is important to note that there is no one size fits all approach to cloud integration that is going to get rid of your headaches.
This guide is intended to be a general overview of the entire process, including the benefits and drawbacks of cloud integration with your existing system. I intend this article to be more of a beginner‘s guide to the entire process rather than a step-by-step guide that you can follow to the letter.
Best Approach for Any Cloud Integration Platforms
These are the main steps I consider vital to ensure the best results when it comes to hybrid cloud integration. The reason I choose to concentrate on hybrid cloud is quite simply this is the most difficult form of cloud integration there is.
1. Determining Your Requirements
Before you even go near a cloud provider, it is important to really understand exactly what you need. A number of factors including your business size and the amount and type of data silos that you plan to interlink will all affect your cloud requirements.
The more data that has to be processed from different programs, for example, the more complicated integration is going to be.
Here are a few helpful questions:
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- What are your end game needs?
- How much capital do you have on hand to do the upgrade? Do you have enough?
- How fast do you plan to move towards full integrations?
- How are your staffing needs going to change?
- How will integration affect your existing system?
- Are there any aspects of your existing system that will need to be upgraded to allow for more seamless integration? For example, If you are using an outdated operating system, do you have the resources to upgrade this?
Another essential part of the IT infrastructure essential to cloud usage is your connectivity speeds. Since the cloud requires constant connectivity in order to operate, ensuring you have a fast and reliable connection is imperative.
Don‘t forget that using the cloud will increase the level of bandwidth required, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that just because your internet speed was fast enough before, it will be up to the task.
You should also make sure that your system is able to handle the mass data access requirements of the various programs that the cloud requires. Slower server systems will cause data clogs that will certainly affect the performance of the system as a whole.
From this, you should now be able to move on to the next step.
2. What Cloud Model is Most Suitable?
You should now have enough information to choose between IaaS, SaaS, or Paas cloud platforms. Also important at this time will be to decide exactly which is the most suitable cloud deployment model for your needs. Here are the 3 possible options:
- Private cloud (This is a secure cloud service that is specifically designed for sensitive data. Cloud data storage, for example, generally falls into this category).
- Public cloud (Includes applications such as Office 365 and is open to any number of people with authorized access. Despite this fact, individual‘s data cannot be accessed by any unauthorized persons).
- Combination of Private and Public
When choosing the appropriate cloud provider it is paramount that you do detailed research into their resources and applications to make sure they are suitable for your needs.
In the case of hybrid cloud, this research becomes critical, as requiring multiple cloud services and platforms to be used alongside each other can create some issues.
Other important considerations are speed, security, flexibility, level of management control, customer service levels, and of course cost. For those people considering a more basic level of cloud integration, and are trying to do it on a small budget, click here to find out the top 10 providers of basic cloud.
3. It‘s Time to Integrate Cloud With Your Existing System
Once you have found a suitable cloud provider, it is now time to begin the difficult process of system integration. I strongly suggest that you begin this process on a Saturday morning, and if possible over a holiday week. This will give you plenty of time to get the systems set up and to test them out fully before they are required for a regular working day.
By this point, you should have done all the research required into how to set up and deal with any general issues such as data transfer, etc.
This research should have led you to develop a clear roadmap of what steps you need to take and when you need to take them. If migrating to Office 365 for example, then you should have a clear idea of how and when to transfer your existing data onto the cloud integration platform.
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You should also spend the time to consider if and when you intend to remove the existing Office program from your system to free up system resources.
Step by Step Guide to Integration
- Begin with the basics. Register and set up your cloud account.
- Set up controlled interfaces that are essential in allowing the cloud API management systems to access existing applications and data.
- Install/Setup and test each application one at a time. This will let you effectively isolate problems as they arise and prevent a sudden overload of issues.
- During the whole process, you will need to establish administration functions and user access levels. This is a vital part of the process as users will require access to certain data but should not be given access to others. Just consider that accounting departments, for example, will require access to sensitive financial information that should not be accessible by others.
- Once you have set up and tested all the applications, it is time to do scaled tests. It is worth testing the system on one or two workers at a time (in the case of larger businesses or complex business processes) in order to iron out any unforeseen problems. Small scale tests allow you to quickly and efficiently fix problems without too much loss of work time and resulting overheads. Scaling these small tests up step-by-step is the best way to ensure seamless integration.
I cannot emphasize more the need for adequate training for all members of staff who will be using the new system. Depending on the number of programs they will be required to use, and the complexity of those tasks, you should allow the appropriate time and resources for training.
Anyone who spends all this time setting up an integrated cloud system and doesn‘t allow for adequate staff training is quite possibly a dangerous individual.
5. Develop detailed user policies for both staff and applicable customers
When you think about it, every war in history has been fought over boundaries, no matter how abstract they might be. You should consider your cloud access in such terms if you wish to protect all your data and customers. You might think that this is an exaggeration but trust me your job might just depend on it.
Why You Need Clearly Defined Policies.
- Gives clear and precise boundaries regarding appropriate use of new systems
- Formulating these guidelines will allow you to access the framework for security gaps and issues
- Allow you to create the appropriate training programs to ensure workers are fully able to complete their roles
- Guidelines will enable workers to confidently give feedback, raise issues, and understand when they have experienced security flaws in the new framework
6. Ensure That Security in Place is Sufficient
Though the security systems of all the main cloud providers are extensive, cloud systems still have a weakness. Since they allow remote access to private systems that they don‘t have any control over, they become vulnerable.
Password protection, malware and anti-virus programs, and secure connection are just three of the areas that need to be addressed by the individual or business. Prior to the integration process, you should run a full system security diagnostic, including an assessment of any Wi-Fi routers to check for weaknesses.
When integrating the cloud, you should make sure that you set up each application on the platform to make sure that the security settings are set to the appropriate levels for your needs. This will involve restricting access to certain data, and establishing individual passwords and domain access, depending on the person‘s job role.
7. Establish a Clear Data Recovery Plan
The final part of cloud integration is making sure that you have an adequate data backup system in place. So far as the cloud-based applications are concerned, short of an asteroid strike that wipes out humanity, your data will be secure.
You will need to review your data backup options with your cloud applications to make sure that your data is being handled in a way that best suits your requirements. Many of the basic cloud packages only offer once-daily data backup plans, for example, something which may not be adequate for everyone.
The real challenge of data backup when it comes to hybrid systems is how to secure the data of the private system. Most users opt for cloud integration solutions that involve regular backup of their data onto the cloud. Keep in mind that the more frequent and the greater the quantity of this data the higher the cost.
My Final Thoughts on Cloud Integration
As I said in my introduction, successful and reliable cloud integration is the foremost challenge when it comes to integrating cloud-based platforms into established private computer systems. I would argue that this aspect of the cloud is the biggest restricting factor to its inevitable dominance of both our personal and business computer worlds.
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The replacement of outdated and labor-intensive modes of data integration with more automated semantic mediation techniques is an example of how rapidly cloud platforms are overcoming the problem of system and data integration.
In the future, powerful APIs will effortlessly solve all our current integration problems and manage cloud data integration in real-time thereby removing the biggest restriction to complete system integration.
Read more on the benefits of cloud integration in our article here.
For now, we remain at a point in cloud development where we just have to suck up any problems we might encounter and try to find the most cost-effective and reliable solutions to overcome them. Time, money, and a little added patience usually fix most problems, so there is certainly hope for all of us.
One of the points of view that I 100% agree with is that by supporting the development of cloud platforms, both through using them and of course paying for them, we are effectively investing in making our own futures brighter and hopefully one day making integration with cloud environment as simple as clicking a button.
Only time will tell how fast this happens, but in the meantime, good luck with your cloud integration.
If you, as a business CEO or CTO, are accessing that your cloud integration team lacks the necessary knowledge and skills of cloud integration tools, we will advise you to partner with a reputed software development company with cloud-computing developers experienced in cloud integration of a business process or on-premises applications.
DevTeam.Space can help you here. Get in touch via this quick form, stating your cloud integration requirements and one of our technical managers will get back to you to discuss further details on your cloud integration solution.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cloud Integration
It is the practice of integrating cloud-based systems into conventional on-premises systems and processes. One example is the use of cloud storage solutions to backup data for security purposes.
APIs allow for cross-application integration. So, for example, data can be shared from one platform to another in order to improve efficiency. API integration is simply the process of integrating APIs in order to make this possible.
This is any API that allows interaction with cloud-based services or applications.