Companies asking what functions are best suited for the cloud can find inspiration in the fast-growing startups recently profiled by Forbes. The source discovered that some companies operate no on-site infrastructure.
This may not be as surprising as it sounds, however. While some executives still regard the cloud with suspicion, the development of online applications that comply with regulations and have high rates of uptime means that even core company systems can make the switch. Now that cloud systems in sensitive areas such as financial management software and secure file transfer have established PCI compliance, doubt is giving way to opportunity.
"The notion of anybody physically owning their data seems like a notion of the past," startup CEO Rob Berhshteyn told Forbes. "In fact, you don’t want to take physical ownership of anything. You’d rather it be somewhere else, as long as it's secure and redundant."
According to the news source, Bernshteyn's company, founded in 2006, hosts every one of its business applications in the cloud. The idea that data is less secure in the cloud has been fading, allowing companies to take advantage of the many benefits of an all-remote infrastructure. Cloud based applications, requiring no installation, can be operated from mobile devices and from employee computers even when working from home or from a satellite office.
A small company can benefit from moving as quickly as possible into new relationships with partners. Some of the previous barriers preventing that transition - including the cost of IT systems powerful enough to exchange data with bigger firms and the high cost of support staff - can be neutralized by using cloud computing for systems such as B2B integration. Managed file transfer can be added to a company's arsenal far faster on a cloud model, allowing early entry into global markets.
B2B integration in the cloud
An attraction to the cloud does not mean that any hosted system will meet a company's needs. Using free, consumer-facing networks such as Dropbox may seem to be an effective application of the cloud to cut resource use, but experts state that it raises security questions.
SEEBURGER global strategy executive vice president Rohit Khanna warned that employees using free file sharing sites for integration risk high administration costs and the fines that come with noncompliance. Free services are typically not meant for corporate use, meaning that far from solving the problems of IT infrastructure, they make things worse. Khanna's firm offers a secure file transfer solution specifically meant for corporate use and available on either the public cloud or, for heavily regulated industries, a private cloud infrastructure.