Embracing Cloud Strategy

Cloud is the new normal. You may have heard this phrase quoted often. Cloud computing is taking off in almost every industry. The private sector has seen a host of benefits from cloud strategy — reducing costs, increased security, flexibility, and productivity. While it’s no secret that the private world is benefiting from the cloud, the public sector is also starting to pursue and implement cloud computing.

Here is a list of 15 industries that have embraced cloud strategy.

13 Industry Use Cases of Cloud Strategy

  1. Education — Schools can reduce costs with cloud-based education. Classrooms are going virtual and learning materials can be accessed online. Students can create and collaborate for free with Google’s online email, word processing, and presentation applications.
  2. Transportation — Cloud-based parking apps that notify cars of free spaces can help reduce traffic congestion and save drivers time and frustration. In the trucking industry, cloud-based electronic logging automatically tracks hours of service for drivers, helping reduce driver fatigue and improve road safety.
  3. Healthcare — A large U.S. pharmacy benefit manager found a way to lower prices for their customers by automating their registration process through use of the cloud and agile methodology.
  4. Water Companies — San Francisco Public Utilities used cloud-based analytics to monitor and manage water levels and weather during a drought.
  5. Oil and Gas — The cloud will lower IT costs for oil and gas companies who are looking to be more competitive.
  6. Banking — Goldman Sachs became more agile while also reducing risk by swapping out PCs for virtual desktop applications.
  7. Manufacturing — Manufacturers can increase efficiency by leveraging the cloud to storing and later analyzing data collected from equipment.
  8. Weather Forecasting — AccuWeather delivers hyper-accurate and real-time weather data (17 billion weather data requests are handled daily) to business and consumer clients from a cloud-based platform.
  9. Energy — The EV charging network ChargePoint uses cloud infrastructure to support the management of over 21,000 electric vehicle charging stations for customers.
  10. Retail — Cloud technology is changing how retailers interact with their customers. Soon clothing stores will be able to use mobile devices and cloud services to check that clothing will fit without using a dressing room.
  11. Agriculture — Benson Hill Biosystems has developed a cloud application that can predict which crop varieties will succeed in different environments.
  12. Insurance — Insurance company Allstate is using cloud technology to speed up their software development process.
  13. Construction —  Drones and cloud technology are changing the way construction companies perform building surveys thanks to Brasfield & Gorrie. Drone mapping software can create 3D cloud compatible maps much faster than ordinary ground-based surveys.

As companies reach and scale become increasingly complex, so does IT infrastructure. As the IT infrastructure becomes more complex, so do the tasks of managing and maintaining it. That’s where cloud services can help.

Construction companies performing building surveys

 

Digital Transformation Drives Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing goes hand in hand with digital transformation in business. It empowers companies to become more flexible, secure, innovative, and offer new services to customers. Working in the cloud allows businesses to lean out operations and save costs.

What is cloud computing? Learn the basics in this article on cloud pros and cons.

The move to the cloud has been slow, but it’s hitting what Malcolm Gladwell might call a tipping point — where an idea as enough mass to begin to spread like wildfire. For the last few years, investments into the cloud have been stagnant. In fact, the IDC believesthat cloud investments in the U.S. are set to drop by 17% in 2017. However, by 2021, spending could be as high as $3.3bn — which is up from the $2.6bn in FY16.

The Future of Cloud Is Space

The most exciting project is the possibility of a “space-based cloud storage network.” The company Cloud Constellation has announced plans to build digital storage in data center satellites that will orbit the earth. By using satellites to receive and transmit data, the government could experience secure storage and where hacking is theoretically impossible.

A Look at Cloud Computing and Government

The public sector has been an early adopter of the cloud and a driver of its growth, motivated by the need to make the best and most responsible use of public funding and available resources. Agencies have spent most of their time taking advantage of the “low-hanging fruits” to cloud computing, such as email-as-a-service and websites. Moving the next services to the cloud becomes a bit more complex.

By setting up private cloud environments that can handle mission-critical workloads, agencies can allow citizens to take advantage of services such as monitoring energy consumption, applying for loans or even accessing medical records.

Healthcare.gov, launched in 2013, moved part of their systems to the cloud and was able to successfully offload traffic from other systems and supporting data centers, improve uptime and gain the ability to scale to support traffic spikes.

Cloud adoption isn’t limited to the U.S. or Canadian governments. The European Union (EU) has been looking to the cloud to improve the free flow of data and collaboration.

Benefits of the Cloud

The cloud is right for many companies because it consolidates IT resources, protects sensitive information, improves productivity, and improves scalability — in terms of growing and ensuring collaboration across departments.

Consolidation of IT Resources

Due to the sheer number of agencies and other involved parties, there is a need to have interoperability and communication between them. Previously, this was a large and expensive challenge – requiring companies to procure their own infrastructure solutions. With the cloud, IT consolidation is easier and less expensive than traditional on-site solutions. Agencies can share information between each other in a more streamlined way, while simultaneously reducing hardware costs, energy consumption, and downtime.

Increased Security and Protection of Sensitive Information

Moving to the cloud offers increased security, privacy, and control due to the information being hosted in a centralized and protected environment, rather than having sensitive information spread across several, less secure sites.

Improved Scalability

As discussed before, IT infrastructure can prove to be very expensive to both procure and maintain. This becomes an issue when a company is ready to expand or needs to reduce resources. Cloud hosting allows the flexibility to scale IT infrastructure as needed. Better yet, many cloud providers charge based on usage (versus set, periodic rates) – this makes it possible to save money by provisioning “just enough” resources to meet expectations.

Always on the Cutting Edge

For any company, budgets can often prove to be very strict, with little wiggle room between budget cycles. This can often lead to delays in investing in various areas. For IT infrastructure, this can mean software, hardware, and other features have a higher chance of going obsolete before the proper funding can be allocated to upgrade. With technology in a constant state of change, this can prove very difficult to maintain with self-hosted solutions.

With a cloud strategy, upgrades are handled by the provider – ensuring data is always hosted on the latest and greatest hardware, receiving regular security updates and patches.

In conclusion, while there are still concerns being raised about the viability of cloud-hosted solutions, cloud services offer far greater benefits outweighing these concerns. While no single model will meet every company’s requirements, moving to the cloud will always offer more flexibility, increased security, and an always up-to-date solution.

Author: Phillip Rolle, DevOps Specialist – GEOTAB INC

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