2023-02-27 / Cloud in the business

Why cloud infrastructure is essential for agile, productive enterprises

by Sabrina Stein
Last edited on: 2024-05-30

If you don't digitize, you lose. That's right. Fortunately, smart entrepreneurs have understood this. What no one told them: the ever-increasing volumes of data must - if they really want to keep up with others in the long term - be processed, transferred and synchronized extremely quickly and securely. The challenge here: to do it all in a cost-effective way. Why? Because a lack of data security and far too high IT costs can pose a real threat to your business now - and much more so in the future. We explain what matters here.

How to ruin your enterprise IT - with and without cloud infrastructure

All kidding aside. It's serious.

There are three types of company(s) that, unfortunately, are simply not going to get anywhere with their IT strategy in the long run. Ironically, these act in complete opposition to each other.

When it comes to IT, company No. 1 acts according to the motto: "We've always done it this way. It has worked well so far. Why should we do anything differently?

What you don't realize is that the world keeps turning. Technologies change. Resources and skilled workers are becoming increasingly scarce and therefore more expensive. And instead of working on a new IT strategy, people just rant, procrastinate and fail to act until everything falls apart. A waste of everything that was once carefully built up.

Entrepreneur No. 2 wants to move his own company forward, but doesn't go down new paths because of security concerns. What he/she is well aware of is that if the competition adapts to the conditions, but he/she does not, the competition will outpace him/her very quickly. He/she thus has one foot on the gas and the other foot on the brake. He/she suffers the same fate as No. 1.

Entrepreneur No. 3 is already more open to newer technologies. He/she uses various cloud solutions from well-known providers - and does so with a clear conscience. What he/she doesn't consider: many of these offerings are not suitable for sensitive and important company data - nor for sensitive customer data - the data of those who trust in the company's adherence to data protection. Should a data incident occur, however, that trust is gone very quickly. Bye-bye data. Bye-bye customers. Bye-bye revenue.

You recognize the problem. It's not simply a matter of working with the current technology for as long as possible and then - just before it's too late - thinking about alternatives. You should make decisions now - well-considered ones!

IT infrastructure in the company - these challenges must be mastered

To ensure that your IT does not "collapse" at some point, and the trust of your customers at the same time, we would like to show you what is important in a secure, sustainable and economically efficient IT infrastructure.

  • It is based on current technologies - both hardware and software.
  • It grows with your requirements without any major effort on your part.
  • The operation of your IT is simply always secure. Downtime is not an issue for you.
  • You are also protected against cyber threats - because your IT is up to date.
  • When the workload is high, IT remains fast, stable and available accordingly.
  • The costs for operation are also stable and therefore easy to calculate.
  • You retain control over all processes.

This means that your IT must not only be flexible, but also particularly (data) secure and powerful due to current technologies - simply reliable in every respect.

To meet these requirements in the long term, more and more companies are deciding to stop hosting their IT on local servers in their own data center or on individual servers from a service provider. They are choosing the most flexible, often most powerful and probably also most future-proof solution: the cloud.

What exactly is the cloud?

In principle, a cloud is nothing more than an IT or hosting solution based on an IT infrastructure accessible via the Internet.

There are various so-called cloud service models. Depending on whether the offering is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS), users:

  • only the hardware (server, storage, network technology) and tools necessary for its management (IaaS),
  • an online software offering including computing power and corresponding resources (SaaS)
  • or a development and test environment (PaaS) with the necessary elements such as tools for testing and developing applications.

What is a cloud infrastructure?

In principle, a cloud infrastructure is the same as a "normal" IT infrastructure, except that all the elements are not located in your company directly, but at a provider. This includes servers, storage media, network technology such as routers and switches, but also security-relevant technologies and software.

The provider also takes care of the maintenance and upkeep of the hardware, which is of course quite practical, and makes it available to its customers via the Internet.

A cloud infrastructure can often be rented and put together entirely according to individual needs. This is mainly also due to the fact that the cloud provider optimally combines and uses several servers. Thus, you as a cloud user are not bound to fixed server sizes.

The company - you, for example - is usually responsible for the software and services used via the cloud infrastructure.

The private cloud and its advantages

There are different cloud forms: the private cloud, the public cloud and the hybrid cloud.

A public cloud is a cloud model which is basically publicly accessible, i.e. made available to a large number of users by a provider. Dropbox and Google Docs are well-known examples of this - or the Apple Cloud.

In contrast, the private cloud is only accessible to a specific company - it is the cloud of this company. With a private cloud, companies have control over their cloud - regardless of whether it is located in their own data center or with a provider. Only this company itself uses the cloud.

In principle, it is also possible to combine the two models in the form of a hybrid cloud.

Why a cloud infrastructure can meet all important requirements for your company

We're referring here primarily to the private cloud solution - hosted by a professional provider. You will understand why in a moment!

Fit, flexibility and maximum scalability

A cloud, especially the private cloud, can be adapted and tuned to the needs of your company as well and flexibly as hardly any other IT solution. The capacity and performance of an enterprise cloud can be individualized without major "conversion measures" - so you can simply add resources when this becomes necessary.

Overall, companies that rely on the cloud are much more agile. Business can grow unhindered, new locations can be easily connected to the IT infrastructure, and the latest technologies and digital processes can be integrated quickly - all without horrendous investment costs for their own hardware.

The result is that decisions in the company can also be made much faster - and therefore also those that increase revenue!

Optimized cloud performance and availability

You don't have to worry about putting together the hardware in the enterprise with a cloud solution. The cloud provider assembles it in such a way that it works best with each other and also meets your performance requirements. If the hardware no longer meets current standards, it is the cloud provider that has to take action and not you as a company.

Thanks to professionally created and hosted systems, both you and your customers are assured of fast access to the data required in connection with work or purchasing processes - as well as the processing of this data. Especially in times of globalization and remote work, this is worth its weight in gold.

As a company, you can make your resources available to your employees, customers and partners very easily over the Internet via the cloud.

Maintenance and care of the hardware is not (any longer) your job!

The responsibility for the functionality of the cloud infrastructure hardware is borne by the cloud provider - i.e. not your company. Operation is secured and you can use your resources elsewhere. Perfect.

Cloud infrastructure - simply reliable

If you host your cloud in a professionally operated data center and with an experienced provider, you can be confident of a high level of reliability from the outset. The provider's service level agreements also provide information about reliability.

In addition, the cloud has a special feature that should delight you in terms of reliability: if one of the cloud servers does not function optimally or fails, another one simply steps in. While the technical challenge is being resolved (by the provider, of course), everything continues to run as before.

This means that everyone involved always has access to all important data and resources.

Data synchronicity for special data security

If you as a company use a central IT system such as the cloud, this also means that everyone involved accesses one and the same data and that software is also used in uniform versions with the appropriate updates. In the case of a professional cloud infrastructure, the systems that you and colleagues access are uniform AND state-of-the-art. This leads to increased data security at the same time.

Work more productively and efficiently thanks to cloud infrastructure.

Due to the better synchronization of all data - better said: because everyone accesses the same data pool - and because it is also always available and up-to-date, the effectiveness and productivity level in the company increases. This goes hand in hand with higher quality and professionalism in the work process. This also increases your competitiveness.

Protection against cyberattacks

In addition, with a professional provider, you are also optimally protected against cyberattacks. If this provider specializes in cloud infrastructure for businesses, the security technologies are also geared towards protecting valuable company and customer data.

Companies that have to pay particular attention to data protection are on the safe side with a cloud infrastructure.

Significant cost savings thanks to an enterprise cloud infrastructure

With a cloud infrastructure for your company, you save on many levels:

  • Costs for personnel to operate and maintain the cloud infrastructure.
  • depending on how your provider operates: Software licensing costs
  • Hardware costs incl. installation
  • Cost savings through greater efficiency

At the end of the day, the cloud is the most optimal solution for companies that want and need to be particularly cost-efficient

Responding better to customer needs thanks to enterprise cloud

The great need for digitization results not least from the corresponding needs of customers.

More flexible, faster, more secure - these are also precisely the requirements that customers have for offerings of the current time. A cloud infrastructure creates precisely the conditions for this in your company. Your customers will be delighted.

The special feature that became a requirement: Sustainability in the company

A better and more efficient use of resources often also leads to more sustainability in the company. What's more, by choosing a certified provider, you can be confident in their sustainable approach and communicate this to your customers - because they are paying more and more attention to how producers and service providers use our world's resources. And you get another plus point from your customers!

What you should look for when selecting a cloud infrastructure for your company

To ensure that you are satisfied with your cloud infrastructure and provider in the long run, it should have at least the following characteristics:

All performance requirements met in the best possible way

Obviously, the cloud infrastructure must provide the business with the performance it needs to operate efficiently and securely. This also means that you must know in advance exactly what you need (anchor down).

Data protection for your cloud

One of the most important issues when you put your data in the hands of a service provider is data protection. How does he handle your data? He should be particularly aware and professional in dealing with the issue. You will find important information about this in the provider's privacy policy.

A significant indication of data protection at DSGVO level is the server location. Where is the data center of the cloud provider located? Especially if you want to promise your customers the special data protection, you should definitely not choose a provider with server location outside the EU.

Data security measures that protect your cloud

No matter where your cloud is located - you are responsible for the data of your employees and customers and would also have to bear the legal consequences in case of emergency.

What security measures are in place at each data center? What access control methods are in place?

Is your data sufficiently protected against manipulation, misuse and access by unauthorized persons?

Are there also environmental protection measures appropriate to the server location?

When it comes to this topic, take a close look at the providers and make scrupulous comparisons. It's your data!

Here you can see how we protect our customers' data (link data center).

Is the data center certified?

Certification by independent bodies is a valid indication that the cloud provider delivers what it promises in terms of quality. Therefore, be sure to look for TÜV certification of the provider. No certification? - then you can click away right away!

Service and support

Personal contact with your cloud provider and assistance from them should be possible and given at all times.

Before you choose a provider, find out urgently about the support. Even if you basically hardly need it - in case of emergency, it can be about the existence of your company - or at least about catastrophic downtimes.

You should always be able to get in touch with your cloud experts, and they should be able to assist you with various problems.

How can you assess that? Find out about the provider's support and be sure to check out their reviews!

Cost transparency for long-term cost security

Even in advance, the costs for future cloud use must be thought through. Here, it is particularly important that there is also good cost transparency. In other words, you need to be able to plan and estimate what costs you will actually incur in the future. This includes, for example, license costs, traffic costs, costs for additionally booked capacities and more. Have you considered everything?

Sustainable action by your cloud provider

As mentioned earlier, sustainability is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity - especially when it comes to cloud infrastructure for an enterprise. Does the provider use green power to run the data centers? Are intelligent systems used to save energy?

If you have found such a provider, you as an online store or website operator can even use a seal (LINK) to indicate that your hosting is sustainable - provided your cloud provider offers one.

Experience of the provider

How long has the chosen provider been on the market? Is it well versed in the needs of enterprise customers? Can this one adequately respond to your concerns? You can ensure this if you already talk to the potential cloud providers on the phone before making your decision and ask everything in detail. Don't be cautious here - it's about your cloud infrastructure - THE foundation for your future-proof IT!

In order to establish an IT infrastructure in your company that offers all the benefits mentioned above, you must of course make the necessary preparations and take the necessary steps. What exactly does the path to cloud infrastructure in the company look like? We provide you with an orientation plan!

The key steps for moving to cloud infrastructure in the enterprise

1. What are the requirements for your cloud infrastructure?

With an initial analysis of your requirements, you determine, for example, the storage needs, the necessary performance and, very importantly, your security requirements. Which part of your IT should be transferred to the cloud? How high are your consulting requirements?

In this context, compliance requirements should also be examined. Do you have to comply with certain regulations? Does the data center where the cloud is located have to have certain certifications?

You should answer all of these questions before taking any further steps.

2. Look at your current IT infrastructure

What have you been satisfied with so far - what not? What should be changed in the future? Perhaps you already had data in a (public) cloud. Do you want to transfer it securely or link it

3. Select a suitable provider

Which cloud provider can best meet your requirements? We had already given helpful tips above (anchors) on how to assess the provider.

4. Analyze the possible cloud solutions and match them with your requirements. Do they really bring the benefits you are hoping for?

Can your current applications still be used in the cloud?

If you have any questions, always talk to the provider! (This way you can see right away how well your questions and concerns are being addressed.

5. plan the move (migration) of data, systems and applications

In order not to make mistakes and suffer data loss, the migration to the cloud must be well planned. Responsibilities and schedules must be clarified even beforehand. How do you deal with downtimes and how can data be backed up in an emergency? All of this must be clear beforehand and not just settled during the implementation.

6. Implementation of the migration to the cloud

Now nothing stands in the way of the move to the cloud. Work through everything as planned and document the process - so that ultimately all data is transferred and all systems and applications are functional. Especially with the security-relevant steps, nothing should be overlooked.

7. verification

All processes must then be tested and their functionality checked in terms of the defined requirements. If this is not 100 percent, improvements must be made until everything functions as planned.

8. internal trainings

All employees must also adapt to the new system, as far as there are changes for them. Schedule trainings early so that the effectiveness that a cloud promises can actually become a reality.

Do you also want to help your company achieve greater productivity, agility and cost efficiency? Then plan your journey to the cloud now. Define all your requirements and get in touch with potential providers. Because every day you don't spend in your new cloud is a day that delays the switch - and therefore all the benefits mentioned.