AWS Cloud Computing 101 for Businesses

Cloud Computing Knowledge Center

Answers to 7 common questions about Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services started providing IT infrastructure solutions to enterprises and business in the form of web services, commonly referred to as “cloud computing.” 

Today, AWS offers highly scalable, reliable, low-cost services to companies across 190 countries. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions related to cloud computing and AWS.

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“Data strategy” seems to be the newest buzz-term swirling around the IT world, and you’ve probably been wondering what exactly it is and if you need to be concerned about it. Technical jargon abounds in this area, and it can be hard to discern exactly what needs to be done and why.

Here, we’re going to take a look at what a data strategy is and how you can create the most effective one for your business.

What is a Data Strategy?

Put simply, a data strategy is how your business controls, monitors and uses the data it creates or has access to. This includes how data is leveraged and used to benefit your business. In order to harness the power of your data, it is important to have a clear and comprehensive data strategy in place. This might sound overwhelming, but there are five basic steps to creating a data strategy:

1) Identify and Describe

2) Provision and Share

3) Stage and Store

4) Integrate and Move

5) Govern and Manage

Each of these steps provide a different layer in the overarching data strategy that is vital to the success of your business. In a world increasingly centered on data, it’s easy for data to turn from an asset into a burden that slows rather than enhances your business operations. By following these five basic steps, you can harness the power of your data and put it to work for you and avoid being bogged down by data that is working against you.

1. Identify and Describe

The first step to harnessing your data is to identify and describe it. In other words, you need to know what kinds of data you have and what it is used for. Additionally, you need to know how the data your business uses is collected and stored. Like a library book, your data needs to be tagged and cataloged with a methodology that enables it to be retrieved quickly and for the right purposes.

Another important consideration at this phase is industry regulations that pertain to your business. If you are subject to regulations, you may want to review the types of data that are being collected and limit data that your business does not need to collect. This can help reduce the footprint that falls under regulation and needs to be closely monitored.

2. Provision and Share

Once data has been cataloged and tagged, it is time to decide who needs access to what. The goal is to provide appropriate access to those who need it without granting too much access to those who don’t. This makes it easier to keep your data under control and prevent it from being exposed to the outside world or competitors.

This stage also establishes which data remains internal and confidential versus that which can be shared with the outside world. Again, if your business is subject to regulations you’ll want to take a close look at this step and ensure you are creating practices that fall in line with the regulations that your business needs to adhere to.

3. Stage and Store

By this point, you know what sorts of data you have and who you want to have access to that data. So, the question becomes this: How do we store the data so that it is accessible to those who need it?

Questions asked at this phase include what type of technology will be used for the data storage and how the storage is to be orchestrated. This phase will typically involve highly technical jargon and solutions, so it is important to keep asking questions that boil the topic down to the basics. This way, answers will make sense to those outside of the technical team.

4. Integrate and Move

After you have decided how you will be storing and accessing the data, the process of integrating and moving the data comes into play. You will need to know how the data will flow through the system and how existing data will be introduced into the new system. This can include determining how downstream systems will acquire access to the data and how the data will be utilized by applications and availability for processing. At this phase, it is important to ask questions about interoperability and future access to the data.

5. Govern and Manage

The final piece to the data strategy puzzle is governance and management. Governance is another huge buzzword in the IT world right now, but it is simply just the process that is used to manage your data on an ongoing basis. It takes into account policies and processes that occur at different levels of the business as they pertain to access to and storage of data.

Management of your data is important to ensure it remains secure and available to those who need it. Business needs shift over time, and access requirements and types of data collected need to shift and align as those changes occur. By having proper governance and management policies and procedures, you can ensure your data continues to meet the needs of your business and aligns with your operations over time.

Create an Effective Business Data Strategy

It is important to remember that your data is there throughout this process to help you and ensure the success of your business. For more information on how Ad Victoriam Solutions can help you navigate the process of creating a data analytics & strategy, check out the many solutions we offer for harnessing and using your data.

What is cloud computing?

Cloud computing, often simply referred to as “the cloud,” encompasses the storage and access of data and programs on the Internet instead of on a device’s internal storage or local server. Whether you are supporting business operations or sharing resources with millions of other users, a cloud platform allows instant access to low cost, scalable, and flexible IT services.

With cloud computing, companies can avoid making huge investments in hardware, instead of purchasing the exact type and size of resources they need and can, potentially, avoid the expensive burden of maintaining the hardware and patching the software running on it.

Instead, leveraging the cloud allows for instant access and a pay-as-you-go pricing model which is appealing to many modern businesses.

What is AWS?

Amazon Web Service (AWS) is a popular cloud services platform created by Amazon Inc. It is secure, offers powerful compute power, content delivery, networking, database storage and other functionalities. AWS was developed with the goal of helping enterprises and businesses of all sizes to grow and scale quickly and affordably.

AWS has become the preferred cloud service platform by many major organizations – not the least of which include Pinterest, Major League Baseball and General Electric.

Over time, new features have been developed including a broad range of database engines, encryption techniques, server configurations and powerful tools for big data analysis. AWS also offers security certifications, hardware security modules and data encryption so that companies can manage their businesses more securely.

In addition, AWS provides auditing and controlling capabilities such as Cloud Watch, helping companies meet compliance and regulatory standards such as HIPAA and PCI.

What are Amazon’s web services?

Amazon offers flexible pricing options for its cloud services platform - that is, users pay only for what they use, and there are no upfront charges or long-term plans. It is considered one of the most low cost and cost-effective platforms available and even offers a free tier of services for certain companies.

AWS’s massive cloud infrastructure allows users to experiment and innovate. AWS makes it easier for companies to deploy new applications and scale up/down their workloads per their business’ demand.

This cloud platform is platform agnostic offering enterprises the flexibility to choose their development platform, tools, and languages or to continue to leverage existing investments. Users can also choose from a plethora of provided services and pay for what they use. This ensures that users and companies stay focussed on innovation and not on infrastructure.

Other popular services or solutions offered by AWS include:

• Application hosting. From SaaS offerings to internal applications, users have the option to use reliable infrastructure to power their applications.

• Websites. AWS has a scalable infrastructure platform to meet with a user’s dynamic hosting requirements.

• Storage and backup. AWS offers inexpensive storage services which can allow users to store data and create backup solutions.

• Content delivery. With high data transfer speeds and low running costs, AWS has made it possible to share and distribute content easily and quickly.

• Databases. Ranging from relational databases to non-relational database services to enterprise database solutions, users can choose from any of the scalable software.

Who should use AWS?

As discussed earlier, due to its scalability and flexibility AWS can be used by enterprises and businesses of all sizes – from local mom-and-pop shops to global corporations.

A recent study found that enterprise-scale users contribute to 10 percent of AWS’ user base. Among these, Netflix has been the most prominent user of AWS, using it since 2009. Companies which have huge databases to manage and manipulate, and who require large-scale distribution of their services, can greatly benefit by using AWS.

However, smaller companies and startups can also benefit by either copying their infrastructure directly into AWS, migrating to a cloud-based platform, or slowly moving individual pieces of the application or infrastructure into AWS to give them insights into their usage patterns and on which of the pricing models best suits their utilization. With Amazon’s pay-as-you-go model, startups and small to medium-sized businesses can dip their toe into cloud computing to see if it works for them.

Why AWS over Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud?

The cloud computing market has become highly competitive. AWS has been and continues to be the lead cloud services provider with a constant stream of new platform, infrastructure, and service offerings. AWS offers flexible compute power and can be customised as per the requirements of your enterprise.

Having been first into the space, AWS provides the most extensive range of solutions and services – close to a hundred of them – far ahead of their competitors.

What is AWS consulting?

For many organizations, migrating to a cloud-based platform requires significant time and financial investment. Partnering with an expert AWS consulting company can help ensure the process is seamless, efficient and effective.

As an Amazon Web Services consulting partner, Ad Victoriam Solutions will work to speedily migrate your organization to the AWS cloud, guaranteeing top caliber solutions, real results and an overall higher return on your technology investment.