Businesses that are more centrically attached to a certain industry do tend to be ones that do not have as much of their success invested in e-commerce, or in a more simpler sense reliant on having a certain type of web presence. But countering that is the fact that often they have a greater amount of their investment connected to profit-generation capacity that is related to the infrastructure of their operations.
Industry clouds are a good example of that, and we’ll skip the W5 overview of them and go right to saying that industry clouds are nearly always vertical for obvious reasons. They also need to be more agile way to manage workloads and accelerate change against the particular business, data, compliance or other needs of their segment.
The last part of that is important to note, as business compliance needs are a characteristic of operations for these types of very industry-connected businesses in a way that is not seen at all for most of them that are strictly commercial in their operations.
So yes, the vast majority of businesses operating commercially and nearly all in online retail will be the types that make the services of a good Canadian web hosting provider part of their monthly operating budget. You’re basically invisible without a quality website and developed online presence and identity these days, and providers like us are just conduits that make your website up and visible on the information superhighway.
Data Fabrics Factor
Industry-aware data fabrics are in many ways the biggest part of how these clouds differ from conventional or community clouds. Innovative technologies and approaches are a close runner-up, but one constant is that using industry-specific services will add cost and complexity. There will be more value returned to the business but it’s not a simple or straightforward equation for exactly what and how is the best way to make that happen.
Investment in industry clouds is really taking off now as companies seek higher returns on their cloud computing investments, and these are investments they’ve had no choice but to make. As industry-related technology becomes better and more available, enterprises that climb on the industry cloud bandwagon today will be better positioned for noticeable successes in the future.
Many major public cloud providers do not have industry-specific expertise but are partnering with professional services firms and leaders in banking, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and other industries. The result is a collaboration between people who understand industry-specific processes and data and people who understand how to build scalable cloud services.
A. Understand the Complexities of Service Integration, and Costs Attached to Them
For the longest time IT was dominated by service-oriented architecture concepts that are systemic to today’s clouds. Industry-specific services or APIs that could save us from writing those services ourselves weren’t ideal, but they were readily available. Programmableweb.com is a good example of where many went to find these APIs.
Today you’re more likely to be weighing whether or not industry-specific service should be leveraged at all. This is the ‘build-versus-buy’ decision that people talk about in relation to this. The considerations are the cost to integrate and operate a service versus the cost to build and operate it yourself. Using OPC code is what most people opt for, but that choice can can come with unanticipated costs and much more complexity than you planned on.
To master this best practice, just ask the questions and do the math. You’ll find that the cost and complexity usually bring back more value to the business. Not always though.
B. Ensure Systemic Security Across the Board
Sufficient security with industry-specific clouds is never to be assumed. Those sold by the larger cloud providers may be secure as stand-alone services but then turn into a security vulnerability when integrated and operated directly within your solution.
The best practice here is to build and design security into your custom applications that leverage industry clouds. Doing so with an eye to ideal integration so no new vulnerabilities are opened. The best approach is to take 2 things that are assumed to be secure independently, and then add dependencies as you see fit to change / improve the security profile.
C. Seek Out Multiple Industry-Specific Services & Compare
It is fairly common for platforms to be built with use of industry-specific cloud services from just one provider. That may be the easy way to move forward and often you’ll feel fairly confident in your decision based on your research or referrals. But just as often the best option is on another cloud or perhaps from an independent industry cloud provider that decided to go it alone.
It’s good advice to say you shouldn’t limit the industry-specific services that you are considering. As time goes on, there will be dozens of services to do tasks such as risk analytics. You will be best served by going through long and detailed evaluations of which one is the best fit based on your structure top-to-bottom, as well as taking your operation dynamics into consideration too.