Cloud computing is a popular topic of discussion in the current digital landscape. When the COVID-19 pandemic first landed, organizations in all verticals – from small businesses to Higher Education and Fortune 500 companies – were struck hard and fast with a new requirement: a remote and/or mobile workforce.
Where most decision-makers were previously able to brush off the looming giant of Cloud computing, events have conspired to bring the topic back to the forefront of everyone’s mind. As a result, I receive a significant number of questions surrounding whether migrating to the cloud is worthwhile, and what benefits Identity as a Service can afford to those who take the leap.
“Is the Cloud right for my organization?”
“In most cases, the answer is quite simple: Yes!”
If you are reading this from our Newsletter, you already know my position, but I will summarize here for those who may be curious as to why I hold this position.
Every organization is unique – what serves as the perfect logistical reasoning for one set of circumstances will seem little more than a trivial pat on the back for another. While the benefits of migrating to the cloud are many, the final decision will be determined based on what best suits your team and your organization at large.
The Benefits of The Cloud
The “cloud” covers an entire ecosystem of topics in and of itself and navigating those waters can be tiring. It is easy to sink under the water if you coast along far enough. In light of that, I’ll boil down the typical benefits of cloud computing to three primary topics:
Providing technology that can scale with fluctuating demand is crucial, regardless of your business vertical. Migrating to the cloud offers a streamlined approach to scaling out technological resources without needing to account for potential needs from the initial implementation. Furthermore, cloud implementations offer a straightforward approach to high availability and redundancy to ensure resources are available when they are needed, regardless of the workload.
One thing that COVID-19 taught everyone (one of the many things, at any rate) is that every organization is dependent on the availability of quick and streamlined access to necessary resources. Whether you are a student attempting to register for classes remotely or a financial advisor accessing investment and earnings information – lack of access can kill productivity and even result in the loss of income.
Migrating those resources to the cloud ensures that necessary items and services remain available even if a sudden change requires remote work for an unknown period of time.
(3) Return on Investment (ROI)
Don’t go falling asleep on me! Now that I’ve captured your attention – stick around for a smidge longer. ROI can often seem overly complex to discuss, especially when applying it to a long-term investment such as a technological implementation. However, the broader scope applies here and can be discussed quickly and efficiently.
Simply put, migrating to the cloud offers a unique way to ensure the investment an organization makes in a specific technology remains above board. Cloud platforms offer a host of options and even default configurations for cybersecurity as well as the obvious reduction of reliance on internal resources. A properly structured cloud migration can reduce costs for compliance adherence, and even reduce tangential costs associated with upgrading and maintaining local resources.
You don’t have to be an economical genius to home in on the simple result: less spending on upkeep = more savings overall.
The Challenges of On-Premises Deployments
In the current global and digital landscape, maintaining a significant on-premises presence comes with a number of seemingly innocuous challenges.
As if a pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with over the last year, many organizations have suffered from an increase in trouble wrought by external forces. The most common perpetrators are attackers and natural disasters.
In both cases, a force outside of any immediate control wreaks havoc on internal systems, subsequently rendering them inaccessible. In such circumstances, organizations may be at a loss for immediate remediation, and users pay the price. In the case of natural disasters – there are relatively few preventative measures that can assist when a fire or flood consumes an entire server room hosting virtual machines – even backups take time to restore and route.
While services remain on-premises, such scenarios are a constant potential threat leading to an even larger cost footprint when the problem eventually rears its ugly head.
>> Interesting Counterpoint
I often have customers point out that if internet access is cut off, users lose access to cloud resources. That is true – absolutely and without question. However, internet access has always been a requirement of cloud technology – if such a limitation is of primary concern, cloud hosting likely is not the best route to consider.
In the case of Single Sign-On, however, consider this: if your Identity Provider (IdP) is located on-premises, your users lose access to all Service Providers (SP) until the IdP is restored. If the IdP is hosted on the cloud, users retain access to resources that are not directly affected by the on-premises disaster/interruption.
Need I say more? Maintaining local servers and disparate software is the bane of many support engineers’ existence. Regardless of the specific field of expertise, just about everyone in the tech field will agree that finding the time and resources to keep everything ‘up-to-date’ while ensuring existing integrations don’t break – well, it’s a nightmare, honestly.
Cloud options ensure software stability and interoperability without requiring manual upkeep from your team. Tell a support engineer that they no longer have to upgrade crucial software and I all but guarantee you’ll see their eyes brighten at the prospect.
(3) Network Security
With IAM, network security is a crucial piece of the puzzle. On-premises environments require significant investment in ensuring that access to both local and remote resources is handled and maintained in a secure fashion. One wrong step and your organization could be heading towards a significant outage – not to mention individual repercussions!
Where You Stand
Understanding where you stand is crucial to making the decision. Whether or not the benefits outweigh the initial costs is a unique decision that cannot be taken lightly. However, there is one thing to keep in mind: you do not stand alone.
The digital landscape is shifting – new normals are being established at every turn and service providers are here to ensure you find the best fit for your needs. If you don’t believe me, just ask – it’s what I do!
To learn more about the benefits of migrating to a cloud-based IAM solution, download the PortalGuard IDaaS vs On-Premises datasheet here.