Rising above the competition with your cloud strategy

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Readwrite Labs had a masterclass two weeks ago about cloud storage and how to leverage a cloud strategy to rise above the competition in the IOT space. For that, they invited Arrow Electronics, a company that understands the requirements for OEMs, ISVs, and ODMs in the IOT space, and Microsoft Azure, which is one of the leading cloud service platforms.

Engineer Dr. D.W. Edward Deming once said, “In God we trust. All others must bring data.” And, that’s just what everyone has done. Business and life now revolves around data and what to with that data.

Connected devices are popping up everywhere. According to Ericsson, there will be approximately 20 billion smart devices in use around the world by 2023. Those devices will produce massive amount of data. A smart home will produce 50GB each day; a smart office will create 150GB per day; and a stadium will generate 200TB per day per game. Overall, we are now talking in zettabytes (billion of terabytes) and shilentnobytes (billion of zettabytes).

Data Challenges Grow

With this explosive data growth, there have come opportunities as well as numerous challenges for organizations. The key challenge has been to maintain the scale in infrastructure to cope with the speed of data production by enterprises and consumers.

However, according to StorageCraft, 51% of organizations are experiencing growing pains with their existing backup infrastructure. Additionally, the proliferation of data has created an equivalent Maslow hierarchy of needs for a data infrastructure:

Level 1: Do we have a data storage and recovery strategy?

Level 2: Is it in compliance?

Level 3: How do we efficiently migrate our data to the cloud?

Level 4: How can we effectively plan and keep up with data growth, which is estimated to be between 40 percent and 50 percent each year?

Level 5: How do we drive a competitive advantage from the insights we get from the data?

Cloud Storage Creates and Supports Your Competitive Advantage

Cloud storage does more than offer a safe haven to archive the growing amount of data.  When data is placed in the cloud where it can be stored, organized, and shared, business insights can be gained to help determine how to improve the customer experience, gain new efficiencies, and offer differentiated features to products or services, generating a significant competitive advantage. To capitalize on these opportunities, an organization needs to mine the data and actively analyze what it means.  

For example, let’s look at a case use study for a fast casual restaurant. Restaurant employees need to take readings daily to prevent a refrigerator break down that would then spoil the food.

If the restaurant installs connected thermometers for the refrigerators to collect temperature data, employees won’t have to perform the readings and will spend more time on customer experiences without comprising food quality and safety. The fast casual restaurant capturing the data in the cloud from the IOT devices will create a competitive advantage over another restaurant that doesn’t do that.

Traits That Define a Good Storage Partner

Achieving a competitive advantage by leveraging data requires an effective cloud strategy. Just using the cloud to collect and back up data is not enough for an organization. Now organizations need to also use analytics and AI-enabled decision making to derive business insights. The right cloud strategy helps an organization capture more relevant business data, mine it for historical trends, and make accurate real-time decisions and predictions through machine learning and statistical modeling.

That means organizations need two type of partners: a partner who understands the requirements and a good cloud storage partner that can help them enact a cloud strategy. The right combination of partnerships will provide more than just a backup solution; it will involve a strategic approach and features that accommodate various types of data.

Additionally, a good storage partner will deliver high levels of security and ensure compliance with all data storage and sharing regulations. They will provide a cloud service that is easy to manage, has scalable architecture, and offers access to strong technical support. The pricing structure for the cloud solution must be aligned with the value it delivers.

Cloud Partner Solutions

Microsoft Azure is one cloud solution that has developed effective cloud partnerships with a range of organizations. First, from a security standpoint, an organization can benefit from the scope of customized global data centers with biometric security measures, industry-leading compliance, and multiple layers of protection for the cloud-stored data. Plus, further capabilities like machine learning, behavior analytics, and threat intelligence adapt to address new dangers and vulnerabilities over time.

Second, compliance is essential in an age of data privacy. Compliance should also be layered for comprehensive coverage. For Azure, compliance includes regional, industry, U.S. government, and global certifications. In addition to a complete compliance framework, an organization can monitor all their compliance from a customized portal to simplify management of this critical component of using cloud storage.

Third, through a customized portal, an organization can adapt its cloud storage usage to align with its specific cloud strategy. As a cloud service partner and a global distributor of Microsoft solutions like Azure, Arrow provides the IoT hardware and cloud capability to help organizations deploy a global cloud solution. Also, Arrow’s delivery of Microsoft Cloud Services includes cloud development and operations services that give an organization a way to address all aspects of their cloud strategy.  

Shaping a Cloud Strategy

The right partner, such as Arrow, gives organizations the tools necessary for developing an appropriate cloud strategy. This strategy starts with defining cloud needs, such as backup (long-term retention), disaster recovery (reduced data loss and fast recovery), and archive (smaller data footprint and active search functionality).

Cloud needs also should account for the type of data, including file storage, object storage, or hybrid storage. Other decisions to make include data access frequency. In certain situations, an organization may need certain types of data more frequently while other data may be rarely touched.  

Finally, an organization’s cloud strategy must address IoT (Internet of Things) connectivity needs. Define the type and number of IoT devices used, data collection objectives, and data collection frequency. This includes detailing the type of business insights and actions that should be delivered from this connectivity framework.

Optimizing the Competitive Advantage

Since using the cloud transcends just a need for storage and backup, selecting a cloud service requires a clear strategy based on an organization’s objectives. This decision involves identifying a partner that shapes the cloud strategy and delivers on all an organization’s needs and objectives and a cloud service provider. When the right cloud service provider and cloud strategy are leveraged, an organization gains business and operational insights that they can use to optimize their competitive advantage while effectively managing the ever-increasing flow of data.