Software Development

5 Steps to Stress-Free Cloud Maintenance

Making the switch to cloud computing can cause a range of headaches for the IT department. From worrying about security breaches to making sure applications are available when they need to be, maintaining a cloud system can be complex. However, by taking the following five steps maintenance doesn’t have to be stressful.

1. Choose the Right Type of Cloud

Every cloud provider has a slightly different infrastructure and various services and guarantees, such as how often the cloud guarantees availability or if the provider handles maintenance for you. A public cloud is hosted by a third-party provider that manages the infrastructures of multiple customers. A private cloud is dedicated to a single enterprise, and may be hosted by a third-party provider or built inside a company’s own data center. A hybrid cloud combines public and private elements under a single management system. If cloud maintenance will be too much for your IT team to handle, using a third-party service that provides maintenance will probably be the best option. At the same time, if you want to maintain control of a portion of your data, a hybrid cloud options will probably be better.

2. Create a Security Strategy

Data breaches, lost passwords and system failures all create extra maintenance costs and are some of the most stressful situations to deal with. Creating a security strategy specific to the vulnerabilities created by using cloud computing is the best way to reduce this type of maintenance problem. Companies that lack the expertise to create their own security plan would be wise to consult an outside expert. Start by looking into the basic security solutions that are built into the clouds architecture, such as firewalls, data recovery and encryption of data being transferred to the cloud. If your data is particularly sensitive, you will want to look into a provider with customizable security measures on top of the basic solutions.

3. Ensure Resilience

No company wants to get caught losing money because it is unable to run its applications. Whether you rely on a third party provider or are maintaining your own internal cloud, keeping applications up and running and fixing any glitches is a top priority. If there is a particular workload that is time-sensitive, you will want to work out with your provider or within your own system a custom solution specifically for that workload, so system outages will be less likely.

4. Segment Workloads

In some cases data will be too sensitive or complex to be worth the maintenance headache of putting it into the cloud. Rather than seeing a cloud service as an all or nothing data transition, segment data based off of what can be reasonably maintained in the cloud and what should be kept safe within the company’s own data center. Data sets that would most likely be kept in the cloud include data sets like analytics, infrastructure storage and development and testing. Data sets to keep out of the cloud include sensitive data, regulations sensitive data, and highly customized or complex processes and transactions.

5. Look to the Future

Since cloud computing is still developing and changing, businesses should be constantly looking toward the future, so they can prepare for and adapt to any changes that will affect their cloud maintenance. Keep tabs on your vendors through their social media pages and review any cloud service you are using or signed up for once a year to see if any changes need to be made, such as deleting accounts that are no longer used. As big data platforms start becoming more mainstream, you will probably want to start looking into big data cloud computing as well.

Cloud computing is certainly a buzz word right now, but maintaining it requires following the same common sense principles as maintaining any other IT system. By focusing on business need, security and future success, businesses will be more successful in their move to cloud computing.

Rajat Jain

Rajat Jain is a software engineer and member of the Tech Team at Qubole, a pioneering Big Data start-up. Prior to working with Qubole, Rajat held tech positions at LinkedIn and Google. Rajat has a degree in Computer Science.
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