Steering vast capabilities of the cloud amidst its rapid growth can be similar to moving across a maze, potentially clouding your decision-making clarity when picking one of the top cloud computing services for your business. Choosing the right cloud service model for your application is no small feat. It involves juggling infrastructure, data portability, costs, compliance, security, and scalability. Let’s simplify the complexity and focus on the essentials that you as a decision maker must be aware of before choosing a cloud solution provider.
In this guide, we put together the knowledge of cloud solution experts and our very own expertise to unveil the intricacies involved. The article breaks down the three main cloud service models, giving you the lowdown you need for smart decision-making, along with the factors that should be considered, and the compliance measures that you need to take into consideration.
What we will discuss:
- Top Cloud Service Models in the Market
- Things to Consider Beforehand
- Compliance & Security Standards
- Cloud Service Trends of 2024
Top Cloud Service Models in the Market
Software as a Service (SaaS)
The most popular cloud service model around is SaaS - Software as a Service - with over 30,000 SaaS companies operating today. It revolutionises the way organisations harness software capabilities by offering ready-to-use applications hosted by the provider and accessible via the Internet. SaaS allows users to subscribe to applications without the burden of managing underlying infrastructure. From Customer Management Systems to User Experience and cloud mobile versions, SaaS takes content directly to the consumer - it could be you, or your customers. Statista reported that in 2021, global spending on public IT cloud services reached a staggering USD 409 billion, with SaaS claiming the lion’s share as the largest segment.
Platform as a Service (PaaS)
The next most popular model is Platform as a Service (PaaS). It provides a comprehensive platform that empowers customers to create, execute, and oversee applications, all while sidestepping the intricacies of constructing and upkeeping the infrastructure.
It’s tailored for developers seeking a streamlined focus on application development minus the infrastructure management burden. This enables the identification of patterns, predictions, and, ultimately, the ability to make more informed, data-driven decisions. Companies leveraging PaaS can anticipate behaviours and events, enhancing their planning processes. Furthermore, PaaS supports an array of programming languages, application environments, and tools, fostering connectivity and integrations crucial for successful IoT deployments.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
IaaS, or Infrastructure as a Service, provides virtualized computing resources over the Internet. It proves valuable for data backup, storage, and recovery, efficiently managing varying storage requirements. It offers a cost-effective and swift setup for test and development environments.
Particularly beneficial for Big Data applications, IaaS empowers companies to scale their computing power significantly. In complex web projects, especially those with fluctuating traffic, IaaS serves as an optimal foundation, leveraging the cloud’s expansive network of servers for scalability and managing unpredictable demands effectively.
PaaS and IaaS are generally mistaken for a single service model. Here’s what makes the two service models different to one another.
Things to Consider Beforehand
Before selecting a cloud service model, it’s crucial to evaluate various key factors to ensure alignment with the organisation’s needs. It’s crucial to understand the service offerings and whether they meet the needs of your organisation. Them knowing the latest technology is different from understanding your industry and its specifics. Similar to this, here are some of the other key points you must keep in mind:
How long can this solution endure and grow without cracking under pressure? It’s important to evaluate the solution provider’s ability to scale computing resources to meet changing demands, especially if your organisation expects growth or seasonal fluctuations in workload. Be it a regular platform or a cloud mobile version, scalability is crucial. Here, the decision partially falls on your business architecture as well. As Amazon Vice President and CTO Werner Vogels says, “If you just do lift and shift of something that wasn’t scalable and efficient in your own data centre, it isn’t suddenly scalable and efficient in the cloud either,” stating that inefficient resources require new architecture to ensure scalability on the cloud.
Security & Reliability
Another crucial element series is data security, compliance standards, and governance practices of the cloud service provider to protect sensitive information. Finding a service provider that adheres to industry-specific regulations and standards is necessary. In addition, try to identify the provider’s incident response and data recovery procedures in the event of a security breach or other disasters. When it comes to security in cloud services, the provider should ideally offer asset tracking security through multiple safeguards, including encryption, access controls, routine backups, and vigilant monitoring for suspicious activities.
With the increasing volume of data stored in the cloud, enhanced data security measures and compliance standards are a key focus for cloud computing providers. It’s important here to understand the various internet security protocols including SSL, TLS, SHTTP, Set Protocol, PEM Protocol and the PGP Protocol. Most top cloud computing services follow these protocols.
Selecting a provider with a notable history of sustained uptime and reliability can be more assuring. If they have faced such a scenario, it’s important to find out their responsive measures for those past incidents. With a robust infrastructure in place and redundant systems to mitigate the potential risks associated with downtime, you can rest assured to make your decision if security is a large concern.
Technology Roadmap and Flexibility
Understand the provider’s technology roadmap and the flexibility they offer in terms of adapting to the organisation’s evolving needs. A technology roadmap outlines the provider’s plan for the development and integration of new technologies, ensuring that their services remain current and competitive. Flexibility refers to the provider’s ability to accommodate changes in the organisation’s requirements over time.
How well can they support your organisation’s growth, integrate new technologies, and adjust to changing market conditions? This includes the ability to scale services, meet compliance and regulatory requirements, and provide tailored solutions to match specific business goals.
Data Portability and Integration
Data portability and integration refer to the ease with which applications and data can be transferred between cloud computing environments and integrated with existing systems and future technologies.
This is crucial in cloud computing, enabling your organisation to migrate services from one cloud provider to another or between public and private clouds without losing data integrity or functionality.
Important things to keep in mind here are, that moving data between cloud services is called Cloud Data Portability while moving an application from one cloud service to another is known as Cloud Application Portability. Integration activities, like interoperability for different systems to work together and platform integration for deploying a system to a cloud service or a different provider, ensure seamless connections with existing and future technologies.
Cost and Support
As known, it’s important to evaluate the overall cost of the service and the quality of customer support provided by the cloud service provider. On the topic of cloud management efficiency, companies shared insights, revealing that about 32% of their cloud expenditure goes down the drain, marking an increase from 30% in 2021. What’s behind this wasteful trend? Idle cloud space and overprovisioning! The numbers speak volumes, with a staggering $14.5 billion being used on idle cloud resources and an estimated $8.5 billion going down the drain due to over-provisioning. This is why it’s important to understand the cost and the practical use of the solution.
Most top cloud computing services offer a clear breakdown of what your business or application can gain by implementing their technology expertise. By the end of a trial or an evaluation period, your organization must have a clear picture of how the cloud solution would increase your productivity or profits and not end up being a liability or an expense.
Infrastructure Availability and IT Resources
Identifying the availability of infrastructure and resources is essential to determine the level of control and management required from both ends. This includes understanding the capacity of the solution provider’s IT infrastructure, such as data centres, servers, network hubs, and computers, to support the intended use of cloud services. Additionally, evaluating the expertise and availability of IT staff and resources is crucial for ensuring seamless integration and management of cloud services.
Compliance and Security Standards
As per the 2023 Thales Global Cloud Security Study, 27% of organizations now have 60% or more of their workloads in the cloud, marking a rise from 23% in 2022. With more data moving to the cloud, a business must understand its role and responsibility for keeping that data safe, including achieving and maintaining compliance with cloud requirements. This is essential for not only building customer trust but also for avoiding costly data breaches.
That’s why when choosing a cloud service provider, it’s important to look for certifications and compliance standards that demonstrate the provider’s commitment to security and quality. Some of the most important certifications and standards to consider include:
ISO 27001: This standard specifies the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving an information security management system within the context of the organisation’s overall business risks, and handling sensitive data.
ISO/IEC 27017 and ISO/IEC 27018: These are standards that guide information security aspects of cloud computing, with ISO/IEC 27017 focusing on the implementation and operation of cloud services, and ISO/IEC 27018 addressing the protection of personally identifiable information (PII) in the cloud.
SOC 2: Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) for Companies and their third-party partners, this is an auditing procedure that ensures service providers securely manage data to protect the interests of the organisation and the privacy of their clients.
HIPAA: Valid for the healthcare industry, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets the standard for sensitive patient data protection. Any company that deals with protected health information must ensure that all the required physical, network, and process security measures are in place and followed.
PCI DSS: The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a set of security standards designed to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Created in 2006 to ensure that all companies that accept, process, store, or transmit credit card information operate securely, this framework is primarily intended to keep cardholder information safe.
FedRAMP: The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program is a government-wide program that provides a standardised approach to security assessment, authorization, and continuous monitoring for cloud products and services.
Cloud Service Trends of 2024
Apart from the above, there are trends in Cloud Service solutions that every business must keep an eye on. The top cloud computing trends for 2024 include:
AI and ML
The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into cloud services is a significant trend, enabling advanced data analysis and automation.
Bradshaw, Director of Cloud Computing at Akamai Technologies, states that beyond routine maintenance, engineers can now spend more time focusing on the complexities of designing innovative solutions, optimising performance, and tackling particularly challenging issues. The synergy between AI and cloud engineering is propelling professionals into a new era of creativity and problem-solving within the evolving cloud landscape.
The rise of AI as a service is enabling businesses to access AI capabilities without the need for extensive in-house resources, driving innovation and efficiency, and AI-As-A-Service.
Multi and Hybrid Cloud Deployment
Organisations are increasingly adopting multi and hybrid cloud strategies to leverage the benefits of different cloud environments and avoid vendor lock-in. A multi-cloud strategy involves using two or more public cloud services, allowing organisations to select the most suitable cloud for each application or workload. This approach provides flexibility, redundancy, and the ability to choose the best-in-class services from multiple providers. On the other hand, a hybrid cloud strategy combines private and public cloud services, offering the advantages of both while allowing them to maintain greater control over sensitive data and applications.
The shift towards processing data closer to the source, at the edge of the network, is gaining traction, offering faster data processing and reduced latency. Edge architecture outperforms other solutions, achieving an impressive latency rate of just 1 millisecond. Not only does this framework handle data flow more efficiently, but it also enhances cybersecurity by minimising the distance data travels, thereby protecting devices from cyberattacks.
According to Gartner, organisations implementing edge architecture can expect 25% fewer successful cyberattacks due to network isolation and segmentation. These advantages are key drivers behind the increasing adoption of edge computing among businesses. Projected spending on edge computing is set to soar to $317 billion by 2026, a significant increase from $208 billion in 2023.
Low Code and No Code Cloud Solutions
The development of low-code and no-code cloud solutions is simplifying application development and enabling business users to create their applications without extensive coding knowledge. These solutions provide visual, drag-and-drop tools that reduce or eliminate the need for traditional type-coding, allowing both professional developers and citizen developers to build and test applications more efficiently. Platforms such as Figma, offer a balance between visual development and little to no traditional coding, enabling customers to design their own cloud solution and even cloud mobile ideation.
This guide aims to provide C-suite executives with an understanding of the different facets of cloud technology and a business-ground perspective. This knowledge will assist you in selecting the most suitable cloud service provider for your unique application development needs. It lists all conventional and some crucial futuristic aspects of making a choice. At Insighture, we have seen that most organisations are balancing the decision on existing stack (including which cloud provider is already being used), security features that align with their requirements (mostly compliance related) or influencers (yes believe it or not).
However in this article we highlight various other aspects that become crucial at growth and scaleup stages. One of the negative aspects is the fear of managing multi cloud and costs involved with resourcing and maintenance in multi cloud. With the right tooling and technology we at Insighture have broken that barrier! This is an interesting step towards reducing significant risk, time to market and costs to speak of a few benefits.
Further to flesh out and implement your envisioned requirements for a solution, our cloud consultants in Melbourne are ready to assist you with our extensive technology expertise.