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Cloud services alleviate interface problems when going digital

Björn Lorenz08/01/2017

For many medium-sized companies the security concept is relatively simple: The server sits somewhere in a dark room. A firewall protects it from the dangers of the internet. Mobile access is only possible via VPN tunnels. These are technically complex, but in most cases things have gone well so far. So why change anything? 

The digital transformation requires open systems

Cloud & Integration

Seen through the lens of security concerns, this attitude is understandable. However, business models will change in the course of going digital: There will be new products and services; we will work more closely with partners and suppliers, customer requirements will rise. In the future, sensors will report a machine’s condition, and in logistics geo-tags will track the location of vehicles and goods. However, this only works if you open up the system landscape to the outside world a little, which has been shut out so far. This is the only way to integrate suppliers, inform customers, and automatically commission package services. However, more openness means inevitably more interfaces. At this point, the foreheads of many IT managers are starting to wrinkle.

Existing infrastructure alone not future-proof

Interfaces and connections are a risk for traditional IT infrastructures. They represent a gateway that could allow attackers to gain access to enterprise servers and the operational software landscape. Sure, you can protect yourself. But that takes a lot of effort. In addition to this, the average life expectancy of an interface is frighteningly short. For the sensors, for example, technical development is fast-paced. And at the same time prices continue to fall. The devices should be replaced rather sooner than later - and with them the corresponding interface has to be replaced, too. This is hardly compatible with the rather cumbersome management of an inward-facing, isolated ERP system. So there are good reasons to do some things differently in the future. 

In the cloud, integration is more efficient

The best option is a direct route into the cloud. No, it's not about outsourcing the ERP system. It is about using the cloud as an integration platform. If there is a perfect place for such a data hub, then that is where it is. The cloud does not care where the connected systems are physically operated and who is accessing from where. Instead of having to spend a lot of time looking after countless interfaces like a flee circus, there is only one connection: the one to the cloud provider. Here, the professionals take care of the maintenance, care and security of the different communication channels. In addition, cloud solutions are used by many companies. This results in significant economies of scale in interface maintenance. 

More efficiency and security

How well such concepts work can be observed in e-commerce: Here, online integration platforms organize the exchange of data between the ERP software on the one hand and the countless online marketplaces on the other. Instead of connecting to Amazon, eBay, Zalando & Co. individually with great effort, there is only one channel. This saves massive implementation and operational costs. And as far as security is concerned: Large, specialized data centers reach a much higher level of security than any medium-sized company could ever achieve. After all, data protection and data security are their core business.

COSMO CONSULT has years of experience with cloud-scenarios. Our experts like to consult you with the possibilities that are revealed with the use of cloud-services. Just call us or send us an e-mail. We will be happy to talk to you and find a solution together to help your company benefit from a cloud solution aswell.

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