The Advantages of Adopting Cloud Technology in Digital Logistics

Technology has penetrated virtually every aspect of businesses worldwide. Not just businesses, our daily lives are also being significantly driven by technology too. So why should transportation and logistics be any different? The rising advantages of adopting cloud technology have basically laid the foundation for digital logistics.

Digital logistics is like next-gen logistics, armed with modern technologies to improve and expedite traditional logistics processes, strategies, and systems. It’s an approach that aims to digitize manual processes and help organizations save costs and increase productivity. With a 69% decrease in overall logistics costs and a 32% increase in customer service efficiency, it’s safe to conclude that digital logistics is just what we need to address the changing demands of customers across the globe.

The global digital logistic market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.89% over the forecast period 2021-2026, while the global fleet management solutions market is predicted to touch $15.4 billion by 2024. There is solid growth in the e-commerce sector that plays a significant role in boosting these markets. Advancements in the sensors and IoT analytics market, along with cloud adoption, are also responsible for their rising demand. The need for better fleet and warehouse management systems is being felt more than ever before.

With warehouses bursting at their seams and distribution centers bustling with activity, the workload they bring along is overwhelming. Logistics tech has led to a spur in cloud-based platforms that can lighten this load and streamline the processes. Shippers and logistics companies choose the latest cloud-based transportation management systems (TMS) that come with numerous benefits and tremendous potential.

In fact, cloud has become the buzzword for organizations looking for better ways to manage their businesses. Whether or not you need cloud is no longer the question. The question you should be asking yourself is – are you game for this technology leap?

Cloud is changing the game

Cloud is the disruption that the world of logistics has happily welcomed at a time when legacy systems are unable to keep pace with the changing demands of the modern world. Cloud has led to sophisticated warehouse management systems (WMS), transportation management systems (TMS), and yard management systems (YMS) that are all integral aspects of the supply chain and delivery model. It helps automate internal processes that improve operational efficiency and enable better business decisions. In a highly dynamic sector such as transportation and logistics, cloud makes you resilient.

Explains Balaji Abbabatulla, senior director analyst at Gartner, “At a broader level, business leaders are looking for tech tools that help them achieve better supply chain resilience—as opposed to finding ways to improve efficiency and productivity. Where efficiency was once a driving force for Cloud-based SCP adoption, now it’s all about resilience.”

Be it sourcing planning, execution planning, manufacturing planning, or sales and distribution planning, the cloud is now all-pervasive, helping forward-thinking logistics providers achieve their goals and expand their horizons. The good thing about cloud implementation is that it can be managed virtually. Those saddled with traditional on-premise legacy systems are garnering intrinsic value while modernizing their business environments.

Also Read: how cloud-based management solutions are becoming a game-changer in the logistics industry.

Benefits of adopting cloud technology in warehouses and distribution centers

Modern distribution centers need an agile environment with faster implementation times. Warehouses and distribution centers house many products, all with unique storage requirements with respect to size, temperatures, and several other parameters. It becomes imperative to use the right solutions to track them and maintain a high level of efficacy across processes. The solutions you choose should be able to help carrier networks operate with agility and precision.

Cloud-based solutions can help you review shipping notes, create schedules, and connect with carrier networks quickly for the information you need. Be it making changes in existing workflows or onboarding new clients. Everything is so much easier when you use mission-critical, cloud-based platforms. So let’s delve deeper into its extraordinary benefits.

Efficient tracking

A cloud-based TMS platform will help you oversee everything empowering you with data that allows you to compare, analyze, and make sound decisions at any point in time. With quick access to carrier networks, you can expedite processes to a great extent.

Cloud-based tracking solutions give you greater control with accurate information at your fingertips at all times. All you need to do is log into the tracking system and receive updates on delays, delivery times, freight routes, and freight movements. In the event of damage, you can immediately update the invoice and send it directly to the carrier or the shipment source.

What you get is excellent real-time visibility. Modern TMS equips you with reports and analytics that empower you with everything you need to develop quick solutions when things go wrong.

Easy maintenance

You don’t need massive servers to see you through power outages or crashes that may lead to data loss. Even constant data backups are no longer necessary when you get onto the cloud. All updates and upgrades are managed remotely, and you enjoy uninterrupted access to the latest software at all times. All authorized users can access data whenever they need it remotely. This ensures connectivity and collaboration at all times, giving you greater power to support your customers as often as required.

Your vendor takes care of maintenance, security, and updates. At a time when security lapses in systems can lead to huge losses, cloud-based platforms offer uncompromised, error-proof logistics support.

Quick integration and scalability

Whether you are using on-premise or cloud-based systems, you will require them to offer you the scope and flexibility to integrate with other solutions. While legacy systems may not allow these integrations, cloud-based systems will let you integrate without causing conflicts or discrepancies.

Also, scalability is no issue with cloud-based solutions since they offer the same support and scalability to smaller companies as they would to large conglomerates. Cloud-based solutions level the competitive playing field to help you carve your niche in the most unbiased manner.

Inventory management on the go

To control costs, you need to work on every cost element across the supply chain. You need to scrutinize the value network to arrive at competitive pricing without hurting your profits. Cloud-based tracking helps you identify high-risk elements and study price fluctuations based on weather patterns and transportation delays to determine if subsequent adjustments are required at your end.

Cloud-based systems empower you with the data necessary for better rating and estimates. It also helps monitor inventory in real-time to help you manage supply, storage, and shipments. This will help you address the shift in demands without wasting inventory. This, in turn, enables you to manage your costs considerably.

What’s incredible about cloud computing is its ability to forecast. So when disruptions strike, you are always prepared. You can stay up-to-date concerning demand and transportation planning since it tells you exactly where your products need to be and when.

You get a chance to schedule your deliveries accordingly, avoiding last-minute hassle and stress. You can pre-load supplies for the future or go easy during the off-season having greater control over your inventory. You will also get instant notification alerts every time there’s a fuel shortage, stock depletion, or shipment rerouting.

Great savings

There are different kinds of subscription payment models that come with flexible features to match your exact needs. Rather than paying for licensing costs, you choose a payment plan that works best for you. You have to pay nothing for the whole upkeep, and everything you need is provided to you remotely.

So you end up paying only for the functionality you choose. This leads to substantial savings. Not to forget that you do not have to invest in individual software. What you get is complete transparency and control for the money you spend.

Unmatched flexibility

Shippers are bound to have complex requirements that can sometimes become very challenging, considering that organizations are spread across diverse time zones. Luckily, cloud-integrated digital logistics give them round-the-clock visibility from remote locations to control critical processes and respond promptly when required. They can deploy resources, add functionalities, or amend services to match the changing needs.

A Cloud-enabled video telematics solution improved resource utilization and offered 24 x 7 visibility of fleets to a major fleet operator. Read how

Cloud-based platforms help them be more responsive to improve processes and add greater efficiency to the mix. This also allows them greatly enhance the customer experience too at every juncture.

In closing

Although the advantages of adopting cloud technology are one too many, shippers are often under tremendous pressure, considering how complex global supply chains are. With mobile commerce, omnichannel experiences, and eCommerce coming into the picture, the need for cloud-based solutions is being felt more than ever before to manage end-to-end logistics planning. You can certainly not afford to miss this boat if you wish to be the fastest and the most efficient.

There are certain caveats you need to factor in while choosing the right solutions provider. For starters, you need to establish clear goals and find a vendor that gives you room to breathe and expand and understand how the implementation will occur. Talk to your vendor to know how they intend to merge the new system with your legacy systems.

Modernize your legacy systems with Trigent

As supply chains continue to get complex and critical with time, we ensure comprehensive fleet visibility, seamless integrations, and optimized service utilization for our clients. Our team of experts empowers you with the right guidance and solutions to help you leverage the cloud for saving cost, increasing efficiency, and driving revenue. No matter your logistics challenges, we can help you overcome them with solutions customized just for you.

Call us today to book a consultation.

Outsourcing QA in the world of DevOps – Best Practices for Dispersed (Distributed) QA teams

DevOps is the preferred methodology for software development and release, with collaborating teams oriented towards faster delivery cycles augmented by early feedback. QA is a critical binding thread of DevOps practice, with early inclusion at the story definition stage. Adoption of a distributed model of QA had earlier been bumpy, however, the pandemic has evened out the rough edges.

The underlying principle which drives DevOps is collaboration. With outsourced QA being expedited through teams distributed across geographies and locations, a plethora of aspects that were hitherto guaranteed through co-located teams, have now come under a lot of pressure. Concerns range from constant communication and interworking to coverage across a wide range of testing types – unit testing, API testing as well as validating experiences across a wide range of channels. As with everything in life, DevOps needs a balanced approach, maintaining collaboration and communication between teams while ensuring that delivery cycles are up to speed and the quality of the delivered product meets customer expectations.

Outlined below some of the best practices for ensuring the effectiveness of distributed QA teams for an efficient DevOps process.

Focus on right capability: While organizations focus to a large extent on bringing capabilities across development, support, QA, operations, and product management in a scrum team, paramount from a quality perspective would be QA skills. The challenge is to find the right skill mix. For example, a good exploratory tester; good automation skills (not necessarily in the same person). In addition, specialist skills related to performance, security, accessibility also need to be thought through. The key is to choose an optimum mix of specialists and generalists.

Aim to achieve the right platform/tool mix: It is vital to maintain consistency across the tool stacks used for engagement. As per a 451 research survey, 39% of respondents juggle 11 to 30 tools so as to keep an eye on their application infrastructure and cloud environment; 8% are even found to use over 21 to 30 tools. Commonly referred to as tool sprawl, this makes it extremely difficult to collaborate in an often decentralized and distributed QA environment. It’s imperative to have a balanced approach towards the tool mix, ideally by influencing the team to adopt a common set of tools instead of making it mandatory.

Ensure a robust CI/process and environment: A weak and insipid process may cause the development and operations team to run into problems while integrating new code. With several geographically distributed teams committing code consistently into the CI environment, shared dev/test/deploy environments constantly run into issues if sufficient thought process has not gone into identification of environment configurations. These can ultimately translate into failed tests and thereby failed delivery/deployment. A well-defined automated process ensures continuous deployment & monitoring throughout the lifecycle of an application, from integration and testing phases through to release & support.

A good practice would be to adopt cloud-based infrastructure, reinforced by mechanisms for managing any escalations on deployment issues effectively and quickly. Issues like build fail or lack of infra support can hamper the productivity of distributed teams. When strengthened by remote alerts and robust reporting capabilities for teams and resilient communication infrastructure, accelerated development to deployment becomes a reality.

Follow good development practices: Joint backlog grooming exercises with all stakeholders, regular updates on progress, code analysis, and effective build & deployment practices, as well as establishing a workflow for defect/issue management, are paramount in ensuring the effectiveness of distributed DevOps. Equally important is the need to manage risk early with ongoing impact analysis, code quality reviews, risk-based testing, and real-time risk assessments. In short, the adoption of risk and impact assessment mechanisms is vital.
Another key area of focus is the need to ascertain robust metrics that help in the early identification of quality issues and eases the process of integration with the development cycle. Recent research from Gatepoint and Perfecto surveyed executives from over 100 leading digital enterprises in the United States on their testing habits, tools, and challenges. The survey results show that 63 percent start to test only after a new build and code is being developed. Just 40 percent test upon each code change or at the start of new software.

Devote equal attention to both manual and automation testing: Manual (or exploratory) testing allows you to ensure that product features are well tested, while automation of tests (or as some say checks!) helps you with improving coverage for repeatable tasks. Planning for both during your early sprint planning meetings is important. In most cases, automation is usually given step-motherly treatment and falls at the wayside due to scope creep and repeated testing due to defects. A 2019 state of testing report, shows that only 25 percent of respondents claimed they have more than 50 percent of their functional tests automated. So, the ideal approach would be to separate the two sets of activities and ensure that they both get equal attention from their own set of specialists.

Early non-functional focus: Organizations tend to overlook the importance of bringing in occasional validations of how the product fares around performance, security vulnerabilities, or even important regulations like accessibility, until late in the day. In the 2020 DevSecOps Community Survey, 55 percent of respondents deploy at least once per week, and 18 percent claim multiple daily deployments. But when it comes to security, 45 percent of the survey’s respondents know it’s important but don’t have time to devote to it. Security has a further impact on CI/CD tool stack deployment itself as indicated by the 451 research in which more than 60% of respondents said a lack of automated, integrated security tools is a big challenge in implementing CI/CD tools effectively.

It is essential that any issue which is non-functional in nature be exposed and dealt with before it moves down the dev pipeline. Adoption of a non-functional focus depends to a large extent on the evolution of the product and the risk to the organization.

In order to make distributed QA teams successful, an organization must have the capability to focus in a balanced and consistent way across the length and breadth of the QA spectrum, from people and processes to technology stacks. It is heartening to note that the recent pandemic situation has revealed a positive trend in terms of better acceptance of these practices. However, the ability to make these practices work, hinges on the diligence with which an organization institutionalizes these best practices as well as platforms and supplements it with an organizational culture that is open to change.

Trigent’s experienced and versatile Quality Assurance and Testing team is a major contributor to the successful launch, upgrade, and maintenance of quality software used by millions around the globe. Our experienced responsible testing practices put process before convenience to delight stakeholders with an impressive industry rivaled Defect Escape Ratio or DER of 0.2.

Test our abilities. Contact us today.

Why retail should dovetail cloud for success?

The year 2020 has been a year of learning for all industries. The unprecedented scale and reach of the pandemic encompassing the world impacted every region and industry. Retail in the United States is no different. Sales dropped from $5.47 trillion in 2019 to $4.89 trillion in 2020 due to the virus and restrictions to curb the pandemic. The prevailing condition demands that the retail industry, like every other industry, initiate or increase its speed of adopting technologies that enable businesses to face the new normal. Cloud plays an essential role in this transformational journey. A major driver set to act as the backbone, enabling the adoption of technologies and delivering desired business results. The global retail cloud market that stood at $11.89 billion will touch 39.63 billion by 2026, emphasizing cloud as a significant driving force that will propel the retail sector in the future.

Here are some of the factors that make the cloud a lucrative proposition for retailers.

In-sync operation

Many brick and mortar stores or offline stores still depend on legacy systems. Dependence on legacy impacts the integration of various business operations such as inventory, shipping, development, and POS. Migrating to the cloud enables retailers to get the different business operations in sync and get a consolidated view of all departments and locations in real-time. A real-time view of the inventory, shipment, and other business processes enables an in-sync seamless functioning across the organization.

Superior Customer Experience (CX) and convenience

The experience-driven economy has furthered the emphasis on personalization. Not only is there a demand for superior, seamless experiences, but users also want these experiences to be personalized. 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Retailers are well placed to provide to their customers what they demand. With a gold mine of customer and sales data, retailers can utilize cloud-enabled computing capabilities to analyze data. Cloud allows retailers to get a unified view of data from multiple sources, enabling the retailers to make data-driven, timely decisions. Moving to the cloud also boosts the performance of web applications ensuring that users do not abandon the site due to slow performance and a poor experience.

Scalability

Many reasons impact the sale of products. It could be the launch of a new product from a renowned brand or end of season sale that causes a spike in sales. The retail industry is also impacted by peak demand during particular seasons, such as the holiday season. As per Adobe Analytics, online retail sales grew 32.2% from 2019 to touch $188.2 billion during the holiday season. Similarly, the sales could also dip owing to low demand and other factors. Cloud helps retailers to prepare for such eventuality. Cloud-enabled systems can be programmed for scalability, meaning they can be automated to meet the requirements in case of a surge and limit the use of resources in case of a dip. Retailers can also save big on infrastructure investments and costs by using many cloud service providers’ pay per use model.

Retailers are looking for technologies that can immediately impact their business. They are either already experimenting or looking to build solutions that enhance customer experience and drive growth. Cloud works as the perfect catalyst in this transformational journey for retailers as it powers agility and provides the platform to build modern apps faster and at scale, anytime-anywhere.

Explore the latest trends in technology that are shaping the future of retail. Learn how Trigent’s expertise can help you conquer the cloud and get an edge over the new normal.

Incorporate the latest capabilities in cloud technology with Trigent’s team of certified cloud experts. Our suite of cloud services encompassing cloud advisory, cloud-native application development, cloud architecture, migration services, and cloud management is equipped to support you at every stage of your cloud journey.

Improve Your Cybersecurity Posture and Resilience with VAPT

Just a few months ago, Japanese car manufacturer Honda confirmed that it suffered a cyberattack drawing attention to gaping vulnerabilities that had come to the fore as a result of the increase in the size of the remote workforce in the wake of the pandemic. Then came the Russian cyberattack against the United States that is now being considered as an act of espionage. Malicious code was inserted into updates and pushed to SolarWinds customers giving hackers access to computer networks of government agencies, think tanks, and private firms.
These are classic examples that demonstrate how vulnerable networks can be and how easily servers, infrastructure, and IT systems can be compromised. Fortunately, Vulnerability Assessment and Performance Testing (VAPT) provide the much-needed monitoring and protection to help enterprises protect themselves from hackers and security breach.

Understanding VAPT

Both vulnerability and penetration testing are two distinct security testing services that are often said in the same breath and sometimes even classified as one and the same. Penetration testing however needs a complete assessment of vulnerability to check for flaws or deficiencies in order to proceed further. It involves simulating an attacker’s attack. A thorough analysis conducted from the attacker’s perspective is presented to the system owner along with a detailed assessment that iterates implications and offers remedial solutions to address the vulnerabilities. When conducted together, VAPT offers complete vulnerability analysis.

Notorious tactics like sniffing (passive listening on the network) and ARP spoofing (an attack technique used to intercept traffic between hosts) call for stringent measures to ensure cybersecurity across computer systems and networks. To safeguard themselves from hackers, enterprises globally are investing heavily in vulnerability assessment and penetration testing or VAPT to identify vulnerabilities in the network, server, and network infrastructure.

Vulnerabilities have existed from the very beginning though they were not exploited as often as they are now. As per a study by Splunk, 36% of IT executives said there was an increase in the volume of security vulnerabilities due to remote work. In a day and age when ‘digital’ means everything, it is important to secure business operations from cyberattacks, threats, and breaches that can demobilize businesses. Vulnerabilities may also lead to litigation costs, loss of trust, and compliance penalties; all of which may affect the credibility of an enterprise in a big way. VAPT helps address all of them in the most effective manner.

The tricky part about VAPT is that it cannot be assigned to the security officer of the organization to conduct it as the results may not be so accurate. This is because the security officer would know the security system inside out and is likely to look for inadequacies in places where they are most likely to be found. But things change when a specialist is brought in. It is quite common to have third-party contractors run the pentest (penetration test) as they can identify the blind spots within a security system quickly. Often, the results are startling and the loopholes that have gone unnoticed are identified and fixed before they can cause damage.

What VAPT entails

Typically, VAPT comprises a network penetration test, application penetration test, physical penetration test, and device penetration test.

Network penetration tests involve identifying network and system-level vulnerabilities, incorrect configurations & settings, absence of strong passwords & protocols, etc.

Application penetration testing involves identifying application-level deficiencies, malicious scripts, fake requests, etc.

Physical penetration testing covers all physical aspects such as disabling CCTV cameras, breaking physical barriers, malfunctions, sensor bypass, etc.

Device penetration testing helps detect hardware and software deficiencies, insecure protocols, configuration violations, weak passwords, etc.

VAPT is carried out very systematically in stages that include everything from collating information and analyzing threats and vulnerabilities to emulating real cyberattacks and creating reports replete with findings and suggestions.

The need to assess the threat landscape

There would be a point in time when you feel that you have the best of security measures and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. A pentest then would be the last thing on your mind. But in reality, a pentest is akin to an annual health checkup that helps detect health hazards well in advance. Regular pentests will ensure the wellbeing of your enterprise keeping your technical and personnel arsenal in perfect health.

2020 saw organizations battling not just the impact of the virus but also a digital pandemic that was equally deadly. According to PwC, 55% of enterprise executives have decided to increase their budget for cybersecurity in 2021 while 51% are planning to onboard a full-time cyber staff in 2021.

Secure your environment with sustainable VAPT

Digital fitness is everybody’s responsibility and employees should take ownership of their online behaviors to build a cyber-aware culture. As connectivity continues to grow, your most sensitive assets are at risk. Vulnerabilities have often been the root cause of breaches and call for immediate remedial steps. VAPT provides the necessary roadmap to enterprises on their way to building cyber-resilience. The vulnerability assessment services offer a detailed assessment of external and internal network infrastructure, applications, servers, and client devices along with recommendations to address security weaknesses. Penetration testing on the other hand exploits these vulnerabilities to depict an accurate picture of their impact. Real-world scenarios and techniques are emulated for this purpose.

A robust, compliant ecosystem rests on the adoption of VAPT best practices to minimize the ‘attack surface’. These should include frequent testing based on historical data and a sustainable VAPT program to empower security leaders and vulnerability management teams. A good VAPT program will identify, evaluate, treat, and report vulnerabilities to ensure that every time you onboard a new employee, customer, or partner, you are not exposing yourself to new threats.

VAPT can help ensure

  • Network security
  • Application security
  • Endpoint security
  • Data security
  • Identity management
  • Infrastructure security
  • Cloud security
  • Mobile security

Following SolarWinds hacking, there is a greater focus on beefing up cybersecurity. Markets and Markets predict the global cybersecurity market to grow at a CAGR of 10.6% from $152.71 billion in 2018 to a whopping $248.26 billion by 2023, with North America holding the biggest market size followed by Europe in the second position. And yet, a significant number of organizations continue to remain ignorant about the importance of expanding their cybersecurity capabilities.

As Richard Horne, Cyber Security Chair, PwC infers, “It’s surprising that so many organizations lack confidence in their cybersecurity spend. It shows businesses need to improve their understanding of cyber threats and the vulnerabilities they exploit while changing the way they think about cyber risk so it becomes an intrinsic part of every business decision.”

Stay a step ahead of threat actors with Trigent

Threat actors will continue to resort to new tactics threatening the cybersecurity of global corporations. It’s up to us to evolve and rise to the challenge with the right measures in place. At Trigent, we help you protect your business. We assess your business environment using diverse tools and scans to detect vulnerabilities and eliminate them.

Improve your cybersecurity posture with us. Allow us to help you identify vulnerabilities and discover where you stand on the cybersecurity resilience scale. Call us now.

Trigent Recognized as Top Cloud Consultants 2020

The numerous possibilities in adopting cloud services in your business can sometimes be overwhelming. Here at Trigent, our vision is to help businesses realize the full potential of cloud, irrespective of their maturity stage in the cloud journey.

Thanks to its cloud-led strategy, Trigent has empowered organizations to drive business acceleration, connected insights, and customer experience. We help them maximize their returns from their cloud investments by building impactful and disruptive cloud-based offerings. We understand legacy infrastructure and applications, having been in the business for over two decades. This puts us in a strong position to modernize legacy applications through the cloud, SaaS, and microservices building blocks.

In recognition of our proven success in cloud transformation, we’re delighted to announce that we’ve been named by Clutch as one of the top Cloud Consultants in 2020! Clutch is a company list resource that helps connect businesses with the best-fit agencies or consultants they need for their next big business challenge. Clutch cuts through disorganized market research by collecting client feedback and analyzing industry data, arming businesses with the insights and analysis they need to connect and tackle challenges with confidence.

We’re delighted to have harnessed cloud to help businesses improve their results across KPIs such as employee productivity, operational efficiency, growth, and profitability.

Marked Improvement in ROI for Cloud Ready Organizations

Evolve into a cloud-native culture and enjoy the myriad benefits it has to offer.

The cloud infrastructure market is cumulus and expected to cross $51.7 billion in 2019, driven by the need for cost-effective and scalable IT solutions. Talking about the cloud effect on businesses, Natalya Yezhkova, IDC Research Director of Storage Systems says, “The breadth and width of cloud offerings only continue to grow, with an expanding universe of business- and consumer-oriented solutions being born in the cloud and served better by the cloud. This growing demand from the end-user side and expansion of cloud-based offerings from service providers will continue to fuel growth in spending on the underlying IT infrastructure in the foreseeable future.”

The cloud infrastructure boom is a natural transition for organizations whose IT costs were weighing them down. Scaling up or down meant more costs. Mandatory software upgrades were also needed and the overall IT infrastructure management required resources to manage it, but with no scientific method to limit costs.

Cloud infrastructure has changed this scenario and is providing companies of all sizes and across all industry segments the opportunity to maximize their IT infrastructure. However, having said that, when it comes to measuring Return on Investment (ROI) on cloud infrastructure some questions crop up. If one were to choose cloud computing – in-house or public cloud, how would one assign an ROI to it? What features of cloud infrastructure affect ROI?

ROI is the proportionate increase in the value of an investment over a determined period. Investments when moving to the public cloud are less, but calculated over a period, can be more. With a private cloud, the initial investment is more, but over time, this cost is factored out. This kind of measurement is purely technical and misses the broader impact of the cloud on a business. Overall, for any company, revenue numbers matter, but so do customer value, brand value, and the value of competitive advantage which cannot be ignored. Therefore, when calculating ROI on the cloud, one must focus on productivity, speed, size, and quality.

Keeping these factors in mind, here are some tangible ROIs from cloud computing:

  • Cloud computing as an abstract virtual hosting solution offers a real-time environment. It has taken away the need to invest in physical servers and upheld the pay-per-use model. It provides businesses with the resilience required for workplace productivity. It enables resource sharing and thus helps to improve utilization. This sharing feature is not restricted to enterprises; it can be between an enterprise and a public cloud or an enterprise with a private cloud. Its flexibility combined with the power of savings in the immediate future makes cloud infrastructure an attractive alternative to traditional IT infrastructure.
  • Cloud infrastructure empowers clients to access virtualized hardware on their own IT platforms. This offers numerous features and benefits such as scalability, limited or no hardware costs, location independence, security, and so forth.
  • Cloud infrastructure assures businesses tremendous performance whether they scale 10 percent or 100 percent. Not having to worry about additional infrastructure investment costs helps companies to plan their IT budgets better. There is also the fact that capacity wastage is brought down to nil.
  • There is no lockdown in infrastructure. A seamless performance wherever an organization’s businesses are located, performance remains the same. The pay-as-you-go model frees up investment costs bringing down IT expenditure considerably.
  • The capacity utilization curve is a familiar concept for all. The model illustrates capacity versus utilization. It helps organizations to maximize their IT spend and helps to provision more or less as deemed fit. It is fitted around the central idea of utility requirements provisioned by on-demand services to meet actual needs.

ROI from cloud computing

To summarize, the ROI on cloud infrastructure requires intuitive planning right from the plan to the execution stage. More importantly, to maximize savings on the cloud requires intuitive planning. Trigent’s Managed Cloud Infrastructure Services helps enterprises to control their cloud journey.

We help enterprises to choose the right cloud platform to move on-premise infrastructure and help run business applications. We help enterprises to identify the business areas and workloads that can be migrated to a cloud computing model to reduce costs and improve service delivery in line with business priorities.

Leapfrog to a Higher Level on the Infrastructure Maturity Continuum

Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) managers have their jobs cut out for them. The ground below their feet is shifting and the seismic waves are unsettling the IT function, as they have known it. Today IT infrastructure is intrinsically tied to business value and outcome. It is no more the backbone of an organization; it is the central nervous system that controls how far and how soon a business can push geographical and other boundaries. It controls how fast and best can customer relationships become, and how, importantly, costs can be controlled. IT infrastructure which till a few years ago, hummed quietly in a data center, has moved to center stage. Summarizing this change, Gartner Senior Research Director Ross Winser says, “More than ever, I&O is becoming increasingly involved in unprecedented areas of the modern-day enterprise,”

Infrastructure maturity essentially means how future-ready or digitally empowered an organization’s infrastructure is. Organizations that are high on the maturity curve have paved the path for competitive advantage, seamless processes, and effective communications leading to business agility.

The Five Levels of Infrastructure Maturity or Maturity Continuum

Level One

Disparate tools, standalone systems, non-standard technologies, processes, and procedures define this level. More importantly, the infrastructure includes an over or under-functioning data center which does not make intelligence acquisition easy

Organizations when assessing their current infrastructure and mapping it to business needs will realize that they fall short of meeting organizational expectations while IT expenditure is out of bounds. IT infrastructure, therefore, becomes the weight that will pull an organization back from its path to progress.

Level Two

The infrastructure that has systems, tools, and processes in place but lacks standardization falls under this category. In the absence of standardization, ad-hoc decisions will be made to adapt to digital transformation and this can be more harmful than beneficial in the end. What is required is a systematic approach where road-map defining tools and technologies is established and processes are defined to pave the way for a digital future.

Level Three

Level 3 maturity assumes that tools and processes are in place but the infrastructure may not be cost-effective. It could be that data is stored in-house and the cost of running a data center far outweighs the benefits. While applications, tools, and platforms are modern, they may still be grounded.

What is required is for organizations to consolidate and optimize their infrastructure, for operational efficiencies and cost advantage. Data intelligence may still be far away.

Level Four

This level implies that the infrastructure can be moved to the cloud and it is ready for a transformation. It also assumes that legacy systems have been replaced by platforms and applications that can be shifted to the cloud, without interruption to existing business processes. The concern for these organizations is related to data security and data intelligence.

Level Five

Maturity in IT infrastructure sees a complete integration of tools, technologies, processes and practices. These organizations are future-ready. The infrastructure costs are optimized and data is secure. They have adopted nexgen digital solutions that are focused on transforming user experience. These organizations have brought infrastructure to the front stage and built a business model that is future-ready.

At Trigent, we use a highly flexible, agile and integrated solution that helps you adopt infrastructure for both traditional and cloud-enabled workloads.

Our portfolio of solutions for building, deploying and managing your infrastructure include:

CONSULTING

Help you develop a road-map for creating a flexible, responsive IT infrastructure aligned with your business

DESIGN & BUILD

Innovate new solutions, establish long-term goals and objectives so that your infrastructure is flexible and fully scalable for the future.

IMPLEMENTATION

Configure, deploy and oversee the smooth running of the project. Our qualified engineers perform implementation/installation.

ONGOING SUPPORT

Ongoing operating system monitoring and configuration support, after go-live.

To know more visit managed cloud infrastructure service page.

6-Step Framework for Your Cloud Strategy

Cloud adoption just keeps on growing and it’s time to take control. Gartner predicts “By 2021, more than half of global enterprises already using cloud today will adopt an all-in cloud strategy.” Nevertheless, just moving your workloads to the cloud does not make them more efficient for your business. When you decide to embark on a cloud journey, you need to have a cloud strategy in place.

A cloud strategy defines the business outcomes you are looking for, and how you are going to get there. It also explores your end goals and motivation for adopting the cloud. Your deciding factors could be many – cost, innovation, your need for business growth, keep up with your competitors. You also need to define business outcomes, establish governance, and control.

Strategies to transform your business into the digital world

The key component of a cloud strategy is a framework so you can evaluate the benefits and challenges of adopting the cloud approach.

Here’s a six-step framework for a successful cloud strategy:

  • Identify and understand the key area where cloud can deliver business benefits for your organization
  • Plan and optimize your cloud strategy
  • Understand common cloud challenges and how to overcome them
  • Identify and develop cloud competencies
  • Prepare your organization for the shift
  • Learn the capabilities of the integrated products that can manage the cloud

Let’s take a look at a few cloud computing strategies:

  • What type of cloud: A careful consideration should be done while selecting the cloud – Private cloud or public cloud or hybrid. You need to understand and evaluate the pros and cons of each available option.
  • Plan your budget: According to what type of cloud you choose to fit your business needs, choose your IT support backbone. You also have to invest in hiring the proper workforce for cloud development.
  • Value your options and choose: Most businesses view the cloud as an enabler of process improvement and a means of reducing costs. You need to see what do you want the cloud to accomplish and what your business will gain from the shift?
  • Technology: After you have done considering your needs and the budget and resources available for your cloud shift, you need to look at the best technology stack available.
  • Choose the right cloud service provider: Most cloud service providers offers hosting needs. Keeping in mind your go-to-market strategy, choose a cloud vendor that is a one-stop-shop for all your cloud-based needs.

Trigent can help you develop the right cloud solution to transform your business. Through our Cloud Adoption Maturity Model, we determine the maturity of your organization’s cloud adoption.

With our Cloud Advisory Services, we assess your current IT infrastructure, the applications you use, costs, and resources. We help you adopt a cloud-first strategy and deployment models and then chart out-migration road-maps with minimal disruption time.

Derive true business benefits with us. Watch this explainer video to explore how our cloud solutions define and complement your cloud strategy.

How to Plan Your Datacenter Migration to the Cloud

Cloud computing is on every CIO’s mind but not always for the right reasons. This could be because of the fears related to security, business continuity, cost efficiency and data availability. Summarizing these sentiments, Lydia Leong, Vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner says, “Efficiency-driven workload migration demands a different mindset and approach than agility-driven cloud adoption. The greatest benefits are derived from cloud-enabled organizational transformation, yet such transformations are highly disruptive and difficult. Moving to cloud IaaS without sufficient transformation may fail to yield the hoped-for benefits, and may actually result in higher costs”.

Datacenter migration

Datacenter migration requires evaluation of the weight of the data residing in the data center, and its current age and capacity. For example, if it is on its last leg, it might be better to decommission the data center and migrate to the cloud. If there are capacity limitations, these could also be reasons for considering cloud migration.

Then you would need to evaluate existing skill sets. If the internal IT organization does not have the requisite skillsets for cloud migration, it might be best to look for a cloud solutions service provider. The partner firm should have a strong reputation, experience in cloud technologies, and have a dedicated team of cloud specialists. If these technologists have industry experience, it would be even better.

The partner firm should be able to work out a thorough business case, perform a cost analysis, and prioritize workloads for a successful migration. The vendor needs to define the scope and road map for the migration. This immediately sets a context in terms of timelines and costs involved. It also prepares the existing teams for what is in store. During the discovery stage, the vendor should do a thorough analysis of the on-premise data center to prioritize it accordingly for migration.

Transition from “difficult to change” to Evolutionary Cloud Architecture

Data collection has to be as intense and exhaustive as possible to ensure that gaps are avoided. The vendor needs to work with the internal IT stakeholders to ensure that the data center is evaluated thoroughly, for a robust application inventory. This step could take at least a fortnight to complete but is crucial to planning capacity for cost optimization.

The above few steps naturally lead to the next one where the vendor does a deep analysis of critical information. The analysis will be comprehensive and map the migration to overall organizational goals, identify workloads and group them accordingly. This gives a clear perspective on cloud and infrastructure requirements post-migration and the costs for long term maintenance. Along with all these, there will need to be a plan for disaster recovery.

The final step, i.e. of creating a formal workload migration plan will be proposed by the vendor. Depending on the findings, the vendor may propose a wave or tier approach, to ensure short term return on investment and minimize operational disruptions. This migration plan is the blueprint or detailed architecture of how the migration will proceed.

Trigent Software’s 6 Keys to Successful Cloud Migration

  • Gain executive sponsorship and develop a strategy early
  • Portfolio assessment: Review and select the right applications to migrate
  • Budget for migration costs: tools, services, skilled resources
  • Start small and scale
  • Re-host (Lift and Shift) – low risk & reward
  • Re-platform (lift-and-reshape) – medium risk, high reward
  • Re-architect – high risk, high reward
  • Identify risks and ensure operational continuity
  • Create a repeatable plan and process to improve it.

Do you need help to securely and efficiently migrate your datacenter? We can help.

When Will Cloud Security Stop Being an Area of Concern?

Any discussion around cloud infrastructure services at some or the other hits a raw nerve – one that has to do with cloud security. There is no question that cloud computing is the most revolutionary trend in the digital era. Forecasts remain positive with analysts seeing revenues growing almost four times as fast for the cloud services market. These forecasts are triggered by the positives that cloud infrastructure offers including, anytime access, faster time to market and of course, cost advantage. Yet, when it comes down to taking the final step, CIOs and security officers are vexed. Their concerns, if we have to sum it up in one sentence, relates to the loss of control associated with the cloud. For decision makers, the cloud’s security ambiguity makes them nervous. They are used to protected security networks sitting in their respective premises and the cloud is a little too nebulous.

For example, a sales manager sitting in the comfort of his home logs into the enterprise network, which resides on the cloud. He is accessing data from the secure network, to close a customer deal. This is digital transformation for you. But for the IT manager who is responsible for information security, the feeling is slight different, “Every time someone logs into the network from a device, I feel as though my insides have been exposed. It is a feeling of vulnerability, which simply makes no sense!’

Are you in control of your cloud journey?

His reaction stems from the fact that the cloud does not provide visibility into the cloud service providers’ processes and security procedures. There are of course reassurances, but none that can satisfactorily assuage the fears of data compromise or leakage – both of which can be disastrous for a company. Because of these concerns, companies vacillate between ignoring security issues in the cloud to ignoring the cloud itself. Turning away from the cloud, during tight IT budgets, can also be a challenge.

The best approach to adopting cloud infrastructure minus the worries is a holistic one. This requires looking at enterprise data in a structured manner and deciding which data should be moved to the cloud and which needs to reside on-premise. There are also some questions that need answers such as:

  1. How will data be protected during transit, storage and when in use?
  2. How to ensure security when data is being accessed on devices such as smartphones?
  3. What are the security measures that are built into the cloud architecture?
  4. How to ensure that private cloud service providers are compliant with security and regulatory requirements.
  5. Will adding security measures impact the overall cost benefit from cloud infrastructure?

These questions and many more like this stand in the way of cloud adoption. The IT managers who are responsible for budgets understand the value of cloud infrastructure. However, they need help to ensure that all questions related to security are answered in a way that makes complete business sense to them and their managers.

Trigent provides end-to-end cloud security solutions that meet privacy, compliance and business needs. Trigent’s Cloud Security Services range from Vulnerability Assessments to Security Advisory Services to Security monitoring and everything in between. Get in touch with us to know more about Trigent’s Cloud Security Services.

Single or Multi-cloud?

A recent study by 451 Research indicates that nearly a third of large organizations work with four or more cloud vendors, making one wonder whether multi-cloud is the future of cloud computing. The recent acquisition by Google of Orbitera, a platform that supports multi-cloud commerce, shows that Google recognizes that multi-cloud environments are the future. In a market estimated by Gartner to be worth $240 billion next year, multi-cloud creates a new front in the so-called “cloud computing wars.” This can only be good news for those businesses looking for flexibility, cost savings, and ultimately better solutions.

It appears that organizations that prefer multiple cloud providers have very logical reasons for this. They use multiple cloud providers to support specific applications or workloads. For example, a core application may need more resilience to perform when power is lost or expand to capacity and another department within the same organization may need the cloud to enhance productivity. Having one single cloud solution may compromise its outcome, which is probably why large companies with multiple functions may end up with several clouds. Another reason, as per a report by Ovum, seems to be overall dissatisfaction with a single cloud service provider. Key reasons cited include poor service performance and a lack of personalized support.

Related: We build impactful cloud solutions that solve challenging business problems.

One more reason could be that companies vary of keeping all their applications and workflows in one single cloud, because it can leave them vulnerable and reduce their pricing negotiation powers with the provider, in the long term.

While the logic behind a multi-cloud environment may seem sensible, the fact remains that it can be difficult to jostle between clouds. While cloud providers make it easy to move applications to their platforms, leaving it is not easy, to ensure that their business is not reduced to a price-sensitive commodity.

Also, some organizations are worried about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data

Many organizations are rightly concerned about the downtime involved in moving petabytes of data between cloud providers. Fortunately, the same patented Active Data Replication technology that all the major cloud vendors offer to make it simple for customers to move to the cloud can also be used to migrate data between the clouds.

The ramifications of this are huge. While Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant player in the space, businesses wanting the freedom to juggle multiple cloud services and avoid vendor lock-in may well help the other players to catch up.

Comments welcome!

Understanding Microsoft Azure Storage

Before you understand Microsoft Azure’s storage capabilities, here’s a primer on Microsoft’s multi-tenant cloud-based directory and identity management service, Azure Active Directory.

Cloud storage platform is designed for Internet-scale applications. It is highly reliable, available, and scalable. On average, we can manage more than 40 trillion stored objects and 3.5 million requests/sec. As a result of its scalability, it is possible to store a large volume of data. If you combine this with the necessary system allocation, you can achieve remarkable good performance. Window storages are especially durable, in my opinion. Remember however that the cost of storage is key to cloud storage, and we need to pay for both storage and transfer bandwidth on the basis of actual usage. The data and Microsoft Azure storage are available via the REST interface, so we can access the same from all programming languages.

The Microsoft Azure platform divides into four types of standard storages which work with different scenarios:

  1. Blobs
  2. Tables
  3. Queues
  4. Files

It can expose via REST APIs and with multiple client libraries like .Net, C++, Java, Node.js, Android, etc.

According to 2015 data, Azure storage is available in 19 different regions globally.

Microsoft Azure available in different regions

Image1: Azure storage available in different regions

Blobs

Blob storage is useful for sharing documents, images, video, music and to store raw data/logs.

We can interact blob storage with REST interface (Put, Get, and Delete).

Code sample:

// Retrieve storage account from connection string.
 CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(CloudConfigurationManager.GetSetting("StorageConnectionString"));
 // Create the blob client.
 CloudBlobClient blobClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudBlobClient();
 // Retrieve a reference to a container.
 CloudBlobContainer container = blobClient.GetContainerReference("deepakcontainer");
 // Create the container if it doesn't already exist.
 container.CreateIfNotExists();
 // Retrieve reference to a blob named "myblob".
 CloudBlockBlob blockBlob = container.GetBlockBlobReference("deepakblob");
 // Create or overwrite the "myblob" blob with contents from a local file.
 using(var fileStream = System.IO.File.OpenRead(@ "pathmyfile")) {
 blockBlob.UploadFromStream(fileStream);
 }

In Code we are referencing to a storage account. We need to create a blob client proxy which will interact with blob object. Then we can upload from the client to the cloud. We need to create a container to organize the blob. If container is not available, we need to create a container the first time we use it.

There are three types of blobs: Block blobs, Append blobs, and Page blobs (disks).

Block blobs are optimized for streaming and storing cloud objects, and are a good choice for storing documents, media files, backups etc.

Append blobs are similar to block blobs, but are optimized for append operations. An append blob can be updated only by adding a new block at the end. Append blobs are a good choice for scenarios such as logging, where new data needs to be written only at the end of the blob.

Page blobs are optimized for representing IaaS disks and supporting random writes. An Azure virtual machine network attached to IaaS disk is a Virtual Hard Disk stored as a page blob.

Tables

This is a massively scalable NoSql key/value storage. It is very useful for storing a large volume of metadata. This storage platform automatically load balances between new tables as you allocate more resources. It is very scalable. Azure tables are ideal for storing structured, non-relational data.

We can use Table storage to store flexible datasets, such as user data for web applications, address books, device information, and any other type of metadata that your service requires. You can store any number of entities in a table, and a storage account may contain any number of tables, up to the capacity limit of the storage account. We can Access data using the OData protocol and LINQ queries with WCF Data Service .NET Libraries.

Code sample:

// Retrieve the storage account from the connection string.
 CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(CloudConfigurationManager.GetSetting("StorageConnectionString"));
 // Create the table client.CloudTableClient tableClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudTableClient();
 // Retrieve a reference to the table.CloudTable table = tableClient.GetTableReference("deepak");
 // Create the table if it doesn't exist.
 table.CreateIfNotExists();

Queues

It is an efficient solution for reliable applications, low latency and it is a high throughput messaging system. It basically uses decouple components and uses web role to worker role communication. It also implements scheduling of asynchronous tasks. It stores a large number of messages, in any format, of up to 64 KB. The maximum time that a message can remain in the queue is seven days.

Code sample:

// Retrieve storage account from connection string.
 CloudStorageAccount storageAccount = CloudStorageAccount.Parse(CloudConfigurationManager.GetSetting("StorageConnectionString"));
 // Create the queue client.
 CloudQueueClient queueClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudQueueClient();
 // Retrieve a reference to a queue.
 CloudQueue queue = queueClient.GetQueueReference("deepakqueue");
 // Create the queue if it doesn't already exist.
 queue.CreateIfNotExists();
 // Create a message and add it to the queue.
 CloudQueueMessage message = new CloudQueueMessage("Hello, Trigent");
 queue.AddMessage(message);

File

We can use file storage to share the file. It is very useful to move on-premises application to cloud.

It support REST and SMP protocol access to same file share.

File storage contains the below components:

Code sample:

// Create a CloudFileClient object for credentialed access to File storage.
 CloudFileClient fileClient = storageAccount.CreateCloudFileClient();
 // Get a reference to the file share we created previously.
 CloudFileShare share = fileClient.GetShareReference("logs");
 // Ensure that the share exists.
 if (share.Exists()) {
 // Get a reference to the root directory for the share.
 CloudFileDirectory rootDir = share.GetRootDirectoryReference();
 // Get a reference to the directory we created previously.
 CloudFileDirectory sampleDir = rootDir.GetDirectoryReference("CustomLogs");
 // Ensure that the directory exists.
 if (sampleDir.Exists()) {
 // Get a reference to the file we created previously.
 CloudFile file = sampleDir.GetFileReference("Log1.txt");
 // Ensure that the file exists.
 if (file.Exists()) {
 // Write the contents of the file to the console window.
 Responsed.Write(file.DownloadTextAsync().Result);
 }
 }
 }

Speak to our cloud experts to learn what Microsoft Azure can do for your organization.