Migrating from on-premise OTM to the cloud for a more positive bottom line

My Post - 2019-11-14T160246.583.pngWithin the trucking industry, there has always been a push to embrace practices and adopt technology that can help fleets improve efficiency by reducing operational costs and automating redundant manual processes, which leads to better customer service levels.

Though transportation management tools have been in the ecosystem for quite a while, the storage of collected data and the services being offered were largely on-premise – within the cab.

Over the last few years, cloud-based technology has become mainstream across the freight market, helping fleets store data and receive services in real-time over the internet. However, for this to happen, fleets will have to migrate their systems from being Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) on-premise to OTM cloud, which is a process where fleets could make do with some help for transition.

“In its essence, cloud migration is really about moving from a client-managed Oracle OTM infrastructure and support to an Oracle-managed OTM infrastructure and support,” said Mark Kissell, the vice president of logistics solutions at Eminent Global Logistics, a subsidiary of Redwood Logistics. “But that’s the easy part. Managing and migrating the data from the OTM on-premise to the cloud is where the actual work is.”

Kissel pointed out that one of the primary reasons for companies to migrate stemmed from their eagerness to reduce their IT infrastructure and support costs. There also exists a functionality gap between on-premise and cloud software, with the latter having a performance edge and much more backend support, thus making it more reliable overall.

Before the advent of the cloud-based OTM, the on-premise OTM was an enterprise transportation management system tool that was mainly used by Fortune 500 companies, because the costs associated with IT infrastructure and support were not affordable for small- and mid-tier businesses.

“When Oracle came out with its cloud OTM platform, it was met with skepticism by the on-premise client base, who believed that the cloud couldn’t handle what they were doing, or simply thought it was too new to trust,” said Kissel. “But that opinion turned in a year or two of the cloud, and with the conversations I’ve had with clients in the past year, they seem to realize that they’re now getting left behind.”

Large companies are making the shift, with cloud migration now becoming a business strategy. Fortune 500 companies view this as an opportunity to reduce their IT infrastructure and support costs, with Kissel mentioning that Redwood Logistics saw a 50 percent increase in cloud migrations since the last quarter of 2018. – Read more

Why the future of data security in the cloud is programmable

My Post - 2019-11-13T131356.602.pngIt’s the way software used to be purchased, and often still is.

A CEO, or GM, or line-of-business owner calls into IT, and the security and compliance teams, to let them know that they are purchasing a new piece of software to drive innovation in how they deliver their products or services. Because the software needs to be customised, integrated and controlled in the company’s on-prem or cloud environment, the IT team needs to deploy it and the security team needs to secure it.

The problem is that IT, security, and compliance are already behind. As the “Defenders” of the business, they must now apply multiple other third-party products to that application in order to to gain fine-grained control over who accesses it and what data they can access. While a growing body of regulations state that security and privacy must be implemented “by design,” they didn’t design the application that the “Builders” delivered. At this point, everything they do is fundamentally an afterthought.

The conundrum of the defender

The job of the Defender is a difficult one, because security and privacy as an afterthought creates both complexity and vulnerability. The complexity comes especially from security products needing to be customised in order to function in lockstep with the application whose data they are protecting. The larger and more complex the application to protect, the more you have to invest to configure and maintain the products that secure it.

Vulnerabilities arise because between the application and the security products meant to protect it, there are seams—gaps in communication, coordination, and capability that occur naturally when two systems that are constantly evolving occupy two different infrastructure spaces. It is those seams that endlessly produce new exposure every day.

More vulnerabilities lead to more security products, which lead to more complexity, and you can see where this is going. Large enterprises own an average of between 50-70 security products, and lack the personnel and resources to marshal those products to deal with the sometimes hundreds of thousands of open vulnerabilities that have been created by the patchwork.

Where this is reflected in the business is that spending on cybersecurity increases every year, but that spending appears to be doing nothing to stem the tide of data breaches and privacy exposures, which are expanding at an even faster rate.

Enter the builders

The perspective of the developer, the Builders of applications, has changed. More and more, requirements around managing performance, reliability, and scalability have migrated into development processes as dev-ops and cloud infrastructure have gone mainstream. Security has followed suit, as progressive developers and dev-ops teams have adopted the mantra that the secret to fighting this battle is to get more involved in security upfront.

The initial steps in this movement have been focused on decreasing the coding of vulnerabilities, meaning that tools have been introduced into the application assembly line that analyse code for security weaknesses and prompt developers to address those weaknesses before applications get released.

This is a huge step, as those code vulnerabilities, if not caught ahead of time, are what lead to the dreaded “security patch.” Patches are software afterthoughts which IT often finds very painful to apply, as it can mean taking a system down for maintenance or other contortions that are highly disruptive to the business.

It makes sense to write more secure code, because coding is what developers do. But many developers are doing more. Now tools are becoming available that developers can embed into applications that give security, compliance, and risk-management visibility into and control over the flows of data.

These tools are not an afterthought, they are part of the application—a forethought. Most of the complexity that an IT-delivered security product introduces is avoided because the utility of the application is delivered along with security, and everything is on the same page and in the same context.

More powerfully, the seams between the application and its security products which fuel the runaway train of vulnerabilities disappear. We see at ALTR that when an application developed using the programmable model is delivered, it has tools to manage data in a changing world of security, compliance, and risk delivered along with it. Data security and governance has been “programmed in”.

Programmable as cloud-native

With the ability to monitor data access, govern it, and selectively protect data even from developers themselves wired into applications, there is another door that swings wide open: application portability.

Many companies, from traditional manufacturing all the way to software companies themselves, are looking for ways to leverage the economics and flexibility of cloud infrastructure. For most of these companies, the number 1 and number 2 concerns as to going to infrastructure that they don’t control are security and compliance.

But when a development team wires in tools to allow for the control of data regardless of where the application is deployed, the business is free to determine the best infrastructure for the application in question based on performance, cost, reliability and other IT priorities. Cloud options from platform-as-a-service all the way to serverless architecture, where IT doesn’t have to maintain any of the infrastructure stack, are all on the table.

Through this lens the economic benefits of programmable data security come completely into focus. Adopting this approach, by way of example, ALTR has been able to help a business optimise its digital footprint based on delivery of technology services, not on the security of them. Also, there are some additional savings that these organisations realise in the consolidation of security products, because many existing products are tied to the infrastructure in which they are deployed, from physical network appliances to cloud-provider-specific tools. – Read more

How cloud technology can help you keep on top of your business finances

My Post - 2019-11-12T151938.730.pngDonna Torres is an international leader in small business and is responsible for growing the Xero subscriber base throughout Europe, Middle East & Africa.

She is passionate about helping SMEs to succeed and is focussed on supporting them through the challenges they face today with the latest technology.

Cloud technology is a very effective tool that can save small businesses time and resources. It delivers servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and intelligence over the internet.  You can tailor your cloud usage and subscriptions to suit your business’ needs and budget, delivering fast and flexible results.

When it comes to finances, cloud-based technology can save businesses money and help them manage finances more effectively in a number of different ways.

Reduced costs

By taking certain business operations into the cloud, businesses can save a lot of money on setting up a costly server and storage system on their premises. Logistical costs like setting up a server can wipe out a lot of business’ budgets when they’re starting out – it will also cut down ongoing repair and maintenance costs. Enabling the cloud helps save capital for other aspects of the business that need your attention and TLC.

Real time data

Cloud technology can give business owners an accurate and up to date look at data like cash flow, to the minute. This can also be accessed remotely and from any device. This prevents financial mistakes and going into overdraft – as the business is aware of how much cash they have at their disposal at any given time.

Cloud accounting platforms like Xero will help you track and report on key business metrics in real-time. These include accounts receivables, operating margins and inventory turnover. Having a good handle on these business metrics will help you manage your cash like a pro – and take advantage of new opportunities.

Save time

Team time and resources can be one of the most costly aspects of running a business. Cloud technology unlocks the power of automation. Employees can spend less time on time consuming tasks like bookkeeping, logging expenses or invoicing. For example, businesses can now send an invoice as soon as it’s ready, see when it’s been opened and viewed, and send automated reminder notices.

Cloud technology also makes sharing large files much easier as all data is backed up using the internet. This means large assets can be shared with a simple link and with no delay.

This gives employees more time to spend on creative thinking and problem solving for your business, leading to quicker growth and expansion, and, let’s face it – happier employees!

Scalability

The cloud is entirely scalable so businesses only pay for the exact technology and services they need. For example, you may only initially want cloud accounting, like Xero, and a simple storage solution when you’re starting. You can then upscale your cloud usage as your business grows.

Xero currently has 800 apps on its ecosystem which integrate with its software, featuring innovative technology for every industry. For example, farmers could use Xero’s integration with Farmflo to improve the speed and accuracy of keeping their farm records for reporting and compliance. Retailers can access seamless point of sale and inventory keeping with Vend, which feeds into Xero to give you an accurate look at business performance. – Read more