I sat down with Mike Chesnut, Senior Director of Cloud Operations at Lucidworks, to understand how the cloud can give businesses a competitive advantage in today’s landscape. Read on to see Mike’s responses to some of the most frequently asked cloud questions, and how Lucidworks is working to support cloud-ready applications.
Q: Hi Mike! Let’s start simple: Why should businesses care about migrating to the cloud?
Mike Chesnut (MC): There are several reasons to migrate to the cloud, but the main one is to offload the efforts that don’t differentiate you as a business. By passing on tasks such as managing, maintaining, and troubleshooting servers to the cloud provider, companies can focus on key projects that have a direct impact on their top and bottom line.
For example, your customers will care if you’re on the internet, but will they care if you’re great at putting servers in data centers? No! Focus on what matters. Time invested in maintaining servers is wasted effort that could be applied instead to strengthening your core competencies.
Q: What if a business feels like they’re able to focus on those differentiating tasks without the need for cloud infrastructure?
MC: Focusing on core competencies is only one (very important) piece of the puzzle; you also gain the benefits of elasticity and higher-level services. Think about your water faucet: you want water to come out when you need it, but you don’t want to have to pay for it when you’re not using it. Likewise, if it’s time to fill your pool, you don’t have to call the water company ahead of time to make sure they’re able to accommodate; you just turn the hose on when you need it, and turn it off when you don’t, and pay for whatever you use on a month-to-month basis.
Allowing your workloads to scale to more closely match your demand from one moment to the next allows companies to save major costs in operational expenses when they migrate to the cloud, and that’s capital that can be reinvested in other business initiatives.
Additionally, customers can focus on their core competencies by taking advantage of higher-level services such as managed databases, storage systems, and the like. These are “plumbing” aspects of modern-day software that you’re not going to be better at operating and scaling than Google or Amazon is, so it makes sense to let them handle those pieces for you.
It really allows you as a business to take these types of things for granted. Your database is highly available, it’s patched with the latest security fixes, it’s replicated as needed, and more importantly you didn’t have to hire a bunch of engineers to make all of that happen. Instead your employees develop your products on top of that managed database service, and having that additional bandwidth available allows them to deliver value to your customers sooner.
Q: I know one of the top concerns is privacy. What would you say to organizations that are worried that switching to a cloud infrastructure would make their data more vulnerable?
MC: There are two big privacy myths with the cloud. One is that the cloud provider has access to your data, and the other is that your in-house security team can do a better job of protecting that data than the cloud provider can. All of the major cloud providers have achieved myriad compliance attestations and employ a full range of security standards and best practices. And on top of those well-established standards, such as ISO 27001, they have their own policies and controls that restrict employee access to any customer data.
In Google Cloud Platform, for example, all data is encrypted at rest by default. You don’t have to do anything to benefit from this; even if somebody was somehow able to gain physical access to Google’s data centers, locate the multiple physical devices that are storing the different pieces of your data, and somehow exfiltrate them from those facilities, they still wouldn’t be able to reassemble it or decrypt it in any way.
Cloud security is a classic example of economies of scale. Say you’re a bank where security and data privacy are obviously top concerns; you could hire a whole team of security staff to be experts at guarding your data center, but you’re probably not going to hire as many as Google Cloud or AWS employs, nor are you likely to have the bandwidth to dedicate additional resources to your data security initiatives.
That’s not to say that security is simple. With healthcare companies and financial services, as two common examples, different regulations and controls are put in place to keep customer data safe. The practice to employ here is known as “defense in depth,” where you apply your best options for data protection at every layer. Offloading some of this effort to your cloud provider allows you to focus your time and efforts on the parts of your particular workloads that really demand the extra attention.
Q: Is there a particular industry that’s best suited for the cloud?
MC: The truth is, every industry can benefit from cloud adoption, and you can find very vocal and happy customer references from across the board. Even industries that are traditionally slow to adopt new technology are discovering the value of migrating workloads to the cloud. There are still a lot of people that want to hold back, who have grown fond of caring for their servers. But, when it comes to the bottom line, it’s valuable time and capital you’re spending that a cloud provider who’s more specialized and less expensive could be handling for you instead.
Q: As for Lucidworks, how do we optimize our cloud infrastructure to help our customers achieve their goals?
MC: At Lucidworks, we want to provide the same benefits to our customers that we ourselves gain from taking advantage of what the cloud providers give us. We use our expertise at building and operating Fusion in the cloud to take these tasks out of your hands so there are fewer things you need to worry about getting up and running. This in turn allows our customers to focus on getting the most out of our platform to drive higher engagement and satisfaction for their customers.
The cloud also allows us to focus on constantly decreasing our customers’ time-to-value, by enabling them to quickly and effortlessly spin up powerful capabilities such as advanced machine learning and AI-driven recommendations in their Fusion clusters, without the need for specialized and time-intensive manual deployment or upgrade processes. We’re also able to take advantage of new developments from the cloud providers, as well as roll out new capabilities of our own software to customers, without them even having to be aware that an upgrade is occurring. They just suddenly have additional power at their disposal, and we aim to make this happen in a transparent and value-driven manner. We’ve got some additional new and exciting developments on this front coming in the near future, too. Stay tuned!
Interested in learning more about Lucidworks cloud-native Fusion 5? Check out this webinar.