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Leveraging the Cloud

Buzzword or Relevant IT Strategy?

Leveraging the Cloud

You may be tired of hearing about all things cloud… but this buzzword happens to be a relevant strategy for many corporate and Federal IT departments.

The adoption of cloud technologies is scaling upward at an ever-increasing rate, and business and government agencies alike are taking advantage of the benefits that storing data and accessing applications in a cloud environment provides.

Many organizations have embraced the idea of cloud or hybrid cloud strategies and have moved a variety of capabilities to the cloud. The transition to cloud offers benefits such as lower costs, easy application management, faster application deployment, widespread availability, and enhanced collaboration.

For some organizations, cloud still presents too many unknowns. In order to determine whether or not moving to the cloud is right for you, you need to understand why it’s different and if its benefits outweigh its disadvantages for your organization and business culture.

fso software, clearance management software

Visualizing What You Can’t See

What You Need to Know

Whether you are looking for software to streamline security processes or a better way to store critical data, you have options: cloud-based or on-premise server infrastructure

ON-PREMISE

On-premise refers to software and technology that is located within the physical confines of an enterprise; typically within a company’s data center as opposed to running remotely on hosted servers or in a cloud environment.
Because your applications run on a server within your datacenter, everything can be internally controlled – from custom configurations and data security to data usage and management. The hardware and software in an on-premise scenario are owned by your organization and the IT staff or engineering team is responsible for configuration, management, and security of the computing infrastructure and data.

CLOUD

The cloud is essentially a network of servers that can run both services and software via the Internet. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), cloud computing is defined by five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

The Essential Characteristics are:

1. On-Demand Self Service Consumers can get the functionality they need – such as server time and network storage – independently, without having to reach out to a service provider.

2. Broad Network Access Services are available over a network and accessible via multiple platforms, such as laptops, tablets, and phones.

3. Resource Pooling Providers share resources – like storage and bandwidth – amongst consumers based on demand. The specific location of a resource is typically unknown.

4. Rapid Elasticity Services can scale outward or inward based on customer needs, and this appropriation can happen automatically – at any time.

5. Measured Service Providers can monitor, control, and report resource usage. They can also optimize resource allocation based on the service type.

The Service Models are:

1. Software as a Service (SaaS) Consumers can utilize a provider’s software applications (e.g., Microsoft 365) via the cloud.

2. Platform as a Service (PaaS) Consumers can deploy applications they create, such as websites, via a client or program interface.

3. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Consumers can use resources, like storage or networks, to run their own operating systems and software applications.

The Deployment Models are:

1. Private Cloud The infrastructure is used by one organization that may have multiple users.

2. Community Cloud The infrastructure is used by a group of organizations that have shared concerns.

3. Public Cloud The infrastructure is available to the general public.

4. Hybrid Cloud The infrastructure combines two separate deployment models (e.g., private and public) that remain exclusive but are bound by a technology that allows the movement of data and applications.

Evaluating the Pros and Cons

Server vs. Cloud

To determine whether on-premise or cloud-based solutions are right for your organization, you must weigh the pros and cons of each. There are arguments for and against each option, beyond budget and corporate culture; you need to think about interoperability, performance, portability, and security.

ON-PREMISE – MORE CONTROL, LESS SCALABILITY 

Advantages of On-premise

Complete Control of your IT infrastructure – you have physical control over your server which keeps critical data inhouse and inaccessible to third-parties.

Customization – you have the ability to customize software and applications and configure settings in a way that best suits your organization.

Secure and Trusted ¬ an on-premise solution gives your organization the freedom to take whatever measures necessary to ensure operational security.

Disadvantages of On-premise

High total cost of ownership – expect a large capital investment in infrastructure as well as installation and configuration expenditures.

Costly to maintain – in-house servers require constant maintenance, such as component replacement and upgrades, damage protection, commercial climate-control systems, location security, local network troubleshooting and experienced system administrators.

Operational Agility – on-premise solutions are not elastic, scaling requires additional investment in internal infrastructure.

Downtime – the potential for unexpected and extended downtime as solutions and systems are upgraded or maintained can cause significant interruption in workflow.

Disaster Recovery – You are much more susceptible to data loss during a disaster situation; it is expensive to include redundancy into on-premise solutions; generally this investment in equipment and expertise is afforded by only larger organizations.

CLOUD – MORE SCALABILITY, LESS CONTROL

Advantages of Cloud

Low total cost of ownership – subscription-based payment options allow you to pay-as-you-go while having access to the most up-to-date, secure, and innovative solutions available – no costly hardware to purchase, install, or configure.

Operational Agility – the on-demand nature of the cloud offers unlimited scalability and flexibility; scale up when the load is heavy, scale back when things slow down.

Anytime, anywhere access – your solution and data sets are centrally managed and accessible to your team at all times, whether they are on-premise or working remotely.

Little to no technical expertise is required – instead of maintaining and supporting systems with in-house talent, you can utilize the expertise of the cloud provider.

Maintenance and updates – software updates are maintained by the cloud provider, your software will always be up-to-date.

Disaster Recovery – cloud service providers have service uptime guarantees and extensive redundancy protocols that your organization may not be able to replicate in-house.

Disadvantages of Cloud

Data Access – your data resides on servers not within your control, this can be an issue in regulated industries. Customization – hardware and software choices are not up to you, upgrades and feature-sets are also out of your control.

Security – when your applications are housed on servers within your company there is no sensitive data traveling through the Internet; you know where your data is going and where it resides at rest.

Performance – your user experience is limited by the speed of your Internet connection: if your Internet connection is slow, expect latency; if there is a hiccup at your ISP your users could be left without access to data and applications.

A Solution that Meets Your Needs

The Only Right Answer is Yours

There’s no fixed answer when it comes to deciding between cloud or on-premise – it all depends on accessibility, flexibility, and efficiency. If you are a small to medium-sized business and don’t have the budget to support an IT staff or an in-house datacenter, then a cloud environment is your best option. It can level the playing field by giving your organization access to enterprise-class software and solutions supported by a world-class cloud service provider.
If you are a larger organization, not reliant on Internet access and have in-house IT expertise to support your servers, software and data, an on-premise solution may be the optimal choice. On-premise technologies give you control over the environment for customizations and data security protocols.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose one or the other – Hybrid-cloud strategies are extremely popular, especially in today’s marketplace. One decision does not have to apply to every piece of hardware or software that your business operations demand. Your organization can choose to utilize some in-house solutions and some cloud-based solutions – depending upon your physical, security, and regulatory requirements.

Streamlining FSO Operations in Both Worlds

MathCraft Understands Your Security Demands

MathCraft Security Technologies develops intuitive and affordable enterprise-class solutions that are compliant with the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM). We give Facility Security Officers (FSOs) and Special Security Officers (SSOs) the tools they need to quickly and efficiently discover, manage, and secure their personnel and assets. We are committed to delivering trusted expertise and right-sized, skillfully-engineered solutions that are focused on security excellence to our clients – whether they are on-premise or in the cloud.

Our FedRAMP-compliant Cloud-based and Enterprise software solution offerings include:

fso softwareAccess Commander simplifies the process of safeguarding our nation’s most sensitive infrastructure and information as mandated by Defense Security Service (DSS) NISPOM requirements. Any employee with the appropriate permissions can instantly access data from any location within the enterprise, whether that user is located within a SCIF or in an office on a different continent.
Because many of our clients work in regulated or highly secure industries, we offer Access Commander through a software-asa-service (SaaS) application subscription model and through an enterprise software license.
If you choose to host Access Commander on-premise, we will coordinate with your IT and engineering teams to prepare a customized integration plan – ensuring that your organization becomes operational quickly and painlessly.
If our FedRAMP-compliant cloud-based solution is utilized, MathCraft Security Technologies provides complete system oversight. We automatically install updates and perform routine maintenance behind the scenes, keeping your organization up and running 24/7.

fso softwareViSi Commander manages the risks associated with visitor security, eliminating logbooks and bottlenecks. It allows FSOs to confidently process visitor clearances with a software specially designed to meet the needs of classified facilities, both domestically and internationally. The comprehensive system offers capabilities to meet all of your visitor access requirements.
Because many of our clients work in regulated or highly secure industries, we offer ViSi Commander through a software-as-aservice (SaaS) application subscription model and through an enterprise software license.
If you choose to host ViSi Commander on-premise, we will coordinate with your IT and engineering teams to prepare a customized integration plan – ensuring that your organization becomes operational quickly and painlessly.
If our FedRAMP-compliant cloud-based solution is utilized, MathCraft Security Technologies provides complete system oversight. We automatically install updates and perform routine maintenance behind the scenes, keeping your organization up and running 24/7.

fso softwarePortal Commander is a comprehensive, digital, dashboarddriven platform for managing cases and automating workflows. It not only streamlines security processes, but it gives every employee within an enterprise a selfserve security application. It offers companies complete workflow insight with key metrics and visually-appealing charts, allowing them to be more efficient, productive, and responsive.
Because many of our clients work in regulated or highly secure industries, we offer Portal Commander through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application subscription model and through an enterprise software license.
If you choose to host Portal Commander on-premise, we will coordinate with your IT and engineering teams to prepare a customized integration plan – ensuring that your organization becomes operational quickly and painlessly.
If our FedRAMP-compliant cloud-based solution is utilized, MathCraft Security Technologies provides complete system oversight. We automatically install updates and perform routine maintenance behind the scenes, keeping your organization up and running 24/7.

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