Webinar unpacks key considerations when moving to the cloud

A panel of cloud experts explain that scale, security and governance are some of the key considerations.

A panel of experts took a deep dive into cloud readiness and security during the CFO webinar, The Risk and Rewards of Cloud migration, which was sponsored by AWS.

Avin Mansookram, director at MFT, took attendees through a recap of the first webinar, which looked at the business case for cloud, including the AWS free tier of select resources and services that businesses can experiment with, for free as well as the cost of migration.

He also explained that moving to the cloud meant no upfront costs for traditional infrastructure like equipment. Further benefits included self-service and training programmes. In terms of security, the focus was on separation of responsibilities between the business and cloud services provider.

Simply put, the business is responsible for everything that is put in the cloud like encryption and access management, while the cloud service provider is responsible for all infrastructure related responsibilities.

Attendees were keen to hear more about the free service that Avin had mentioned.

“All the typical requirements in cloud can be utilised for free for as long as a year. That means getting a basic server to try out for 730 hours. These hours can be used for up to a year or 24/7 for one month. There are other services that can be used for free and then those that are paid for,” he said.

Avin added, “There is also a pay-as-you-go model and for a typical corporate server that can translate to less than $100 (R1,467) a month.”

Clive Charlton, head of Solution Architecture at AWS, further explained that a large array of server panels designed to optimise virtual machines were available and they could all be costed at per second billing, so no there is no cost when it is switched off.

According to Clive, security rates as a top priority for AWS, with the core infrastructure satisfying requirements for the military, global banks and other highly sensitive organisations.

“We are the only provider certified for top secret workloads, and this is backed by a deep set of cloud security tools. There are more than 230 services and features just related to security, compliance and governance. AWS manages the security of physical infrastructure and provides tools for encryption, while the business is responsible for the rest,” he said.

He noted that the top five reasons that customers were choosing AWS over other providers were the:

  1. Breadth and depth of services, which range from computing, storage, database and machine learning to robotics, AI and virtual reality;
  2. Pace of innovation, with 2,345 new features released in 2019;
  3. Active community of customers and partners contributing to the body of knowledge;
  4. Experience and maturity, as it has been running since 2006; and
  5. Culture, with 90 percent of services developed because of customer enquiries and requests.

Wesley Lynch, CEO at Snapplify, said the educational solutions and services provider has been running on AWS for a number of years.

“When we first looked at cloud migration, the biggest reason was for its ability to scale. Being in the education space and with online demand due to Covid-19, we have now taken on new elements of the cloud,” he said.

He added, “A lot of what we are doing now is less about scale and more around security, as we are doing more work in the government space, and data security and governance aspects are more of an issue.”

In addition, with the big move to digital throughout the world, there is a big increase in ransomware.

“The whole ecosystem has become more aggressive and combative. It’s not a matter of if you will be targeted, but when. So, the kind of work we do with AWS makes me feel more reassured. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, the entire network of customers at AWS that are building on the tech,” Wesley said.