How does the cloud fit in your outsourcing agenda?

Nov 17, 2014 by Alin

"First to mind when asked what 'the cloud' is, a majority respond it's either an actual cloud, the sky, or something related to weather" - Citrix Cloud Survey Guide, August 2012.

Two years have passed since that quote - and cloud computing has become a major market. Many "tech giants", such as Google, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM are "fighting" to become the primary provider in this "Cloud Age". Cloud computing represents centralized data storage, with the data accessible (online) from anywhere: even on business trips or holidays you can still manage your documents and workloads - and make your boss happy :)

Benefits and challenges for software development and outsourcing companies:

  • For software development, one of the cloud's biggest advantages is the storage & price flexibility. Every “cloud provider” has a variety of storage options and benefits, that can scale up to unlimited storage. There is almost no limit to the storage space, as long as you can afford it. Also, customers are able to easily upgrade or downgrade their plan, to fit their software development requirements.
  • The cloud, being an always-online technology, can be accessed at any given time, from any global location. You might think that the issue of internet outages would rather favor in-house solutions; but this is no longer a frequent occurrence nowadays.
  • When you have all your files online – in the cloud – concurrent usage and development is encouraged. Many tools were developed to allow collaborative work - for example: Google Docs, Visual Studio Online and GitHub. This also brings advantages the software outsourcing providers, allowing for a more transparent development process: they are able to build and share documentation and source code easily with their customers.
  • Compared to an in-house server, the cloud doesn’t require additional maintenance costs (there's just the service subscription). When you pay for this kind of service, the provider has to ensure a high uptime and has to upgrade the servers when needed. Lowering costs for infrastructure translates into a higher budget that is made available for the actual software development – and that’s a plus for both companies and the end users.

Along with the numerous advantages, the cloud also brings security issues and even bugs . Data security is a major concern for software development and outsourcing companies and end users. The recent major security issues - Hearthbleed, Shellshock, Poodle - showed that nothing is safe online and forced cloud providers to constantly improve their security. However, solutions such as 2-step authentication , are a good starting point in providing additional security layers.

In those (many) cases when data privacy & safety represents a major constraint, there's a "hybrid" solution that can ensure a very good level of data security: private clouds (more expensive to setup & use, when compared to a public cloud offer - but also with many additional benefits).

Conclusions

Overall, the cloud began a revolution in the software development and outsourcing markets. The trend is to slowly replace the in-house solutions with cloud services, which allow a more centralized, flexible and cost-efficient way of storing and accessing data. Many experts argue over the advantages, disadvantages and the future of cloud computing - but what’s your opinion about this technology?


Tags: Cloud  Future  IT-Trends 


Comments


Razvan commented on 12/13/2014 12:22:26 PM

Where the application resides is immaterial to me as the developer. Data location is client's responsibility and she'll have to deal with privacy laws, etc. As far as cloud services replacing in-house solutions... I just don't see how the cloud's gonna know what the client wants, how it's gonna make a project plan, etc... Essentially, I don't think I will be affected one bit. And the security guys will start making a pretty penny :-)
     

Alin commented on 12/17/2014 11:04:56 AM

Hi Razvan, thank you for your comment. Indeed, developers shouldn't be too concerned about the location of their software application. However, this is an important topic for managers, security department and the staff that is in charge with customer communication. It is the responsibility of the software development company to instruct and guide customers about the advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage.

While in-house solutions will probably never be fully replaced, cloud computing brings many interesting and useful tools that encourage and help software management and development.
     

Pankaj Singh commented on 1/2/2015 6:03:36 PM

Hi Alin , thanks for sharing this information about cloud but recently the cloud of Apple was hacked. Now the question arises about the security , if a brand like Apple failed to maintain its privacy than how smaller organisation can?
     

Alin commented on 1/7/2015 8:52:15 AM

Hi Pankaj Singh, the recent iCloud hack surely damaged the public trust regarding cloud services. It was an unfortunate event and reminded us about the disadvantages of cloud.

As I wrote in the article, there are many online vulnerabilities and the cloud is more exposed to these kinds of attacks, especially being a relatively newer technology.

However, after such an event, every company will pay more attention and will try to improve their security. Also, smaller organizations are less likely to be targeted by such large scale attacks.
     

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