Why Your Business Should Prioritise Cloud Application Development in 2023
What really is a “cloud-native business”? It’s long been an impossible term to define even for IT leaders, with some feeling it’s dependent on containerisation and others placing focus on using a cloud infrastructure provider1. But in 2023, we see being cloud-native as more holistic than any one capability. Forbes hit the nail on the head when they said “it means possessing multiple interlocking traits and capabilities that come together to increase your efficiency and agility.”2 Achieving this has been the driving force behind digital transformation, as businesses have rushed to adapt to an online way of life.
The need for cloud-native applications is obvious, as companies need to reach global internal teams and global audiences in an efficient and serverless way. Unsurprisingly, a recent McKinsey report found that the adoption of cloud application development services has happened 24 times faster than expected since 2020.3
One thing is clear: if you haven’t already prioritised cloud application development, now is the time. What was once considered ‘just another option’ is quickly becoming the only option. In this article, we’ll explain why.
Suggested reading: Most businesses have already moved away from on-premise systems in favour of the cloud. That said, many have just done a lift-and-shift migration, and are still dealing with outdated tech. Learn more in our eBook, Legacy Systems are Costing Your Business Growth.
Any business that wants to survive and thrive on a global stage must prioritise security and threat prevention. Traditional server-based architecture is fraught with potential risks, providing a relatively easy attack vector for cybercriminals, while also increasing the likelihood of security breaches as a result of human error.
One of the key benefits of cloud-based applications, on the other hand, is their enhanced security. In fact, research by Oracle found that 66% of organisations felt security was among the biggest benefits of cloud computing.4 Enhanced security is no longer seen as just an optional add-on. Data security reduces application downtime as it decreases the risk of a cyberattack, improves operational efficiency by making it easier for the right people to access the right data, and drives costs down long-term — as an investment in heightened cloud security now will result in less money lost in a data breach down the line.
In the digital age, the only way to access best-in-class security capabilities — and the peace of mind that comes with them — is through the cloud. For example, Microsoft Azure offers a 4-layer security framework, comprising:
- Network security: Access is managed based on IP address.
- Access management: Helps protect access to your cloud infrastructure through authentication and permissions.
- Threat protection: Azure monitors database usage and flags unusual behaviour.
- Information protection: Data is encrypted in transit, at rest, and in use.
Together, these capabilities provide a level of security that is second to none — and impossible to replicate through server-based technology.
As we look towards 2023 and an even more digitised economy, cloud security will be more important than ever. In fact, experts believe that ransomware attacks will focus on targeting smaller organisations with a lot of data, meaning no organisation is safe. There will also be a continuing shrinkage in time between attacks, as hackers will act faster and more frequently in order to get their payout before getting caught.5 This poses a huge risk for businesses, causing a major loss in revenue, increasing downtime of applications, and fueling a major negative impact on a business’ reputation.
To counter these risks, businesses must follow the latest best practices. At Talk Think Do, for example, we ensure that our clients use FIDO2 keys rather than traditional passwords, making it much harder for traditional password-based phishing scams to occur.
Further reading: To monitor the performance of your applications long-term and ensure they’re continually protected, you’d benefit from a technology partner. To figure
out which one is best-suited to your needs, take a look at our blog, 10 Most Innovative Tech Partners in the UK..
Investing in cloud-native applications can seem like a big financial commitment — especially in this challenging economic landscape. However, cloud-native applications are actually extremely cost-effective long-term, thanks to:
- Initial rightsizing: Ensures that cloud resources are highly optimised, providing the right balance between cost and performance.
- On-demand scaling: Cloud-based applications are able to respond to spikes in usage, ensuring that your tech grows in line with your business.
- Lower maintenance costs: Instead of spending a huge chunk of your budget fixing issues with physical hardware, cloud computing reduces the need for expensive maintenance.
- High-value capabilities: With cloud applications, you get access to high-value capabilities at a fixed cost that stays within your technical budget.
And with trends such as AI and automation set to gain even more traction in 2023, cloud-based applications will benefit from a range of enhanced capabilities such as facial recognition and natural language processing (NLP). Cloud platforms such as Microsoft Azure support facial recognition capabilities as a form of identity verification, ensuring data is only accessible by the right people.6
In fact, 84% of businesses that have adopted cloud automation have seen increased revenue and a reduction in operating costs as a result.7 These advancements look set to further increase the cost-efficiency of cloud-based applications, providing you with more secure, advanced, and effective technology in the long term.
Further reading: For more information about Microsoft Azure and what makes it the best choice for cloud-native capabilities, take a look at our article: Why Microsoft Cloud-Native Applications Takes Businesses Forward.
Containers and serverless
Modern cloud architecture built around containerised and serverless services brings a whole host of benefits. Instead of physical hardware to set up, maintain, and fix, you can outsource all your technological needs to a public cloud, like Microsoft Azure. This is generally far easier and more cost-effective than opting for a private cloud.
Containers are a particularly effective solution, providing a faster, more portable, and more scalable approach to application management. Since they can be run on any operating system or infrastructure — or moved from one to another — without the need to refactor for each environment, they’re an extremely cost-effective way to
maintain applications. They’re scalable as your business grows, ensuring business-critical tasks can be carried out in an efficient way.
There are other perks, too. Microservices architecture also helps to reduce risk by allowing you to build and deploy in smaller, iterative changes. At the same time, containers’ faster start-up times provide a better user experience.
While you might be aware of the various benefits of containerised applications, implementing them in a way that’s suited to the specific needs of your business is a whole other beast. Technology partners like Talk Think Do can build or modernise applications that are cloud-native, scalable and adhere to the needs and regulations your organisation has.
Further reading: Want to learn more about containerisation and the huge benefits it can bring your business? Take a look at our article: What Business Leaders Need to Know about Containerisation.
Easy to use remotely
Hybrid work is another aspect of digital transformation that has been turbocharged in recent years, with the pandemic forcing businesses to adapt fast. According to a McKinsey report, the shift to remote work has happened a staggering 43 times faster than anticipated prior to the health crisis.8
Hybrid work hasn’t come without its challenges, but it’s also brought a whole cohort of benefits, including:
- Increased productivity, as teams work from where they feel most comfortable.
- More diverse teams, as talent can be sourced from all over the world.
- Increased collaboration, as teams are more comfortable to jump on a call with someone than they might have been to approach them in an office.
To maximise the benefits of hybrid work, businesses must ensure that they have the right technology to facilitate it. In many cases, companies’ data needs to be distributed worldwide in real-time, without middlemen, gatekeepers, or siloes.
Cloud-based applications and cloud storage are ideally suited to hybrid and remote work in a way no other application solution is, allowing easy and fast access to data regardless of location.
This not only allows for more efficient workflows across hybrid teams but also creates flexibility and satisfaction among employees, who can stay productive and connected regardless of location or time.
Like it or not, hybrid work is here to stay. While that fact raises both challenges and opportunities, the only way to mitigate the former and harness the latter is with the right technology — and that means cloud-native applications.
Applications need to support hybrid work for more than just internal teams. Consumers are moving online, and want the systems they engage with to be optimised for use anywhere. This was what Explore Learning was looking for when they came to us.
How we enabled digital transformation at Explore Learning
Explore Learning, a leading UK private tutoring provider, didn’t have an in-house software development team and was reliant on a software as a service (SaaS) provider for critical business systems. This setup wasn’t an ideal solution, so they turned to Talk Think Do for help.
We built a Microsoft Azure cloud-native solution tailored to Explore Learning’s unique needs. The new solution gave them full access to their own data, as well as the option to own their intellectual property rights. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we optimised the solution to work seamlessly in a remote-first landscape.
Explore Learning was able to retain staff throughout the lockdowns, while their learning programmes continued to support families through this difficult period. Today, Explore learning continues to benefit from this technology, with one third of their users continuing to opt for fully-remote learning, and the remainder using a hybrid way of working.
For the full story, take a look at the case study: Enabling Innovation with an Inside-Out Digital Transformation.
Talk Think Do helps make cloud applications a priority
Despite the benefits we have outlined in this article, prioritising cloud-based app development may seem like a big commitment, or at least a daunting change. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right technology partner guiding you, the shift to cloud-native applications can be smooth and seamless.
This is exactly what we offer at Talk Think Do. With end-to-end support, we take away the hassle and risk of technological advancement, empowering your business to achieve more with cloud-based applications. We focus on your specific needs as a business, setting you up with the support and guidance you need to realise your goals.
If you’d like to find out more about how Talk Think Do could help you prioritise cloud-based application development and drive business success, get in touch today and book a free consultation.
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