There are a myriad of benefits of cloud computing technologies, however integration is a major obstacle to successfully adopting and deploying Software as a Service (SaaS) and other web-based applications. While SaaS applications promise greater flexibility and lower costs, they also present new challenges to the enterprise: enter cloud integration.
Further, the adoption of other cloud computing models such as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and the growing popularity of mobile applications and social media platforms, means that additional data and processes are also moving outside of the firewall (key software security) and into the cloud. In light of these recent developments, businesses need to think about how their applications will talk to each other and devise effective strategies for cloud integration ensuring connectivity between the cloud and enterprise is optimal.
Integration, of course, raises another set of questions. We have come up with the following points that are worth keeping in mind when considering cloud integration solutions:
A primary concern for cloud users, which is complicated by the challenge of integration, is security. A cloud integration solution must be capable of authenticating and authorising access to resources, both in the cloud and on-premises. Moreover, it needs to be able to encrypt and store data and comply with different regulations. With the growing number of SaaS applications, mobile apps and social media services that need to access business data, there must be a secure means of connecting the cloud to the business without compromising the firewall. This is vital to keep in mind.
Point to point integration solutions can provide basic SaaS to SaaS connectivity, but sometimes, they are not sophisticated or flexible enough to handle more complex scenarios. Cloud integration solutions must be able to support a variety of integration flows moving in both directions across the cloud and business and connect with the likes of inventory management systems also.
For business users, SaaS applications offer convenience and ease of use while shifting the burden of maintenance and upgrades to the provider. No longer are you re-downloading systems and packages or upgrading, it’s all done in the cloud by the provider for you. The trade-off, however, is that users have much less visibility and control over their SaaS applications, especially when it comes to integration. Cloud integration solutions should include rich monitoring capabilities in order to provide the visibility and control over information flows and other performance attributes currently lacking in SaaS applications.
The importance of choosing the right cloud integration
With this in mind it is increasingly important to understand these challenges when choosing software as a service, SaaS. Knowing these challenges will enable you to make better business decisions and getting the right fit when choosing your cloud-based software. There are a myriad of key benefits that cloud software offers but knowing the potential pitfalls and weaknesses of such solutions will direct better business decisions when choosing the appropriate software system.
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Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.