Ready to make the move to Enterprise Application Hosting Services, or EAHS? As cloud computing becomes more common, enterprises are getting more comfortable hosting their data assets in the cloud. According to the Rightscale 2017 Annual State of the Cloud Report, 95% of organisations surveyed are running applications in the cloud or experimenting with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). There is still some resistance, though, when it comes to deploying enterprise applications on cloud platforms, especially public clouds.
In our experience, there’s a heightened sense of security risk, including concerns about losing control of the application. These worries are understandable, but less and less borne out by actual experience. EAHS offer some compensating features that can reduce concerns about hosting critical business applications in the cloud. EAHS are specifically set up for this purpose. Let’s explore why it may be time to make the move to EAHS.
Managed Enterprise Application Hosting That Keeps You Safe
It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can be more secure in the cloud than you are on-premises. The cloud can help you to detect and remediate security weaknesses with powerful new tools that also enable you to control your data assets. If you’re not convinced the cloud will make your infrastructure more secure and reliable, here are five reasons why the cloud is now more enterprise-ready than ever before:
1. You’re already in the cloud – It’s nearly impossible to do business today without being in the cloud. Your customer relationship management (CRM) solution may be cloud-based, as are many of your collaboration and communication tools. Off-site backup services are also probably storing your data in the cloud. If your organisation is already benefiting from cloud services, why not leverage the power of the cloud for your enterprise applications as well?
2. Your on-premises systems may not be as secure as you think – When it comes to securing enterprise application infrastructure, it’s likely that a dedicated cloud hosting provider is going to have better security than you do. From patch management to port scanning, privileged access management and more, cloud providers usually have more rigorous and carefully audited security practices than even very large IT organisations.
3. Managed EAHS facilitates smarter data loss prevention (DLP) — It’s hard to prevent data loss without compromising data flexibility. On the one hand, granting unrestricted access to ERP data potentially lets any employee read, download or change even the most sensitive information. This problem can be quite acute with older legacy ERP systems. Locking all the data up is not a solution, either. Generic cloud tools won’t work. They enable employees to store company data in personal accounts, send private communications unencrypted and keep backup copies of data on personal devices. Enterprise application hosting gives you the tools to keep your data under control. In a managed enterprise cloud, you can restrict and audit data so that each employee only has access to the files that they need. This way, you can prevent acts of sabotage or costly mistakes.
4. The managed hosting partner handles patches and upgrades – Irregular patch management is a serious security weakness. Many hackers simply attack systems that could have been protected by routine security patch updates. However, many SecOps teams and IT departments get overwhelmed or distracted and neglect to apply patches.
Furthermore, in an unmanaged, public cloud environment, you are responsible for securing your own applications. This is a contractual detail of public cloud hosting that causes legitimate worries for CISOs. The platform provider, e.g. AWS, secures the infrastructure. Whatever’s hosted there, that’s usually up to you to secure. This includes patch and upgrade management. Securing your own cloud apps may be harder than it sounds. As Gartner analyst Kasey Panetta put it, “By 2022, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault.” In contrast, a managed hosting partner provides an economical way to make sure your core software stays up to date.
5. Compliance requires specialists – Being in the cloud while staying compliant with regulations like HIPAA and PCI is challenging for large organisations. For small businesses, they are almost prohibitive without some sort of partner to handle the process. Even with an experienced team, it can be easy to miss gaps between cloud compliance initiatives and their implementations. Our managed hosting services cover a full suite of compliance services. These cover audit reporting, segregation of duties and emergency access planning, including:
- Managing user and role change approval so management signs off on changes
- Implementing periodic access reviews to keep business owners informed
- Doing what-if analysis with clients to anticipate unintended consequences
How to Choose an Enterprise Application Hosting Service Provider
The right managed enterprise application hosting service platform can make your organisation stronger, more competitive and safer. A recent, helpful article on Forbes.com lays out some of the parameters to consider when selecting an EAHS provider. According to the author, it pays to focus on the provider’s history of server reliability, uptime scores and, of course, security. Customer service counts, too, given the criticality of enterprise applications. You don’t want to be left on hold when your ERP is down.
The availability of site backups is a must-have for today’s enterprise apps. (This is true for on-premises and cloud-hosted apps.) The risk of ransomware and other disruptions is too great to ignore. It definitely pays to read the fine print, as well. Account limitations, adding extra domains, registration and maintenance costs – all of these can affect the quality of your experience with an EAHS provider.