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SoftArc Engineering Ltd is a civil engineering company which works across Australia as well as in Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea. The company is considering the following strategic proposal:

  • They plan to close down the Brisbane data centre rather than update or replace the older infrastructure. The existing data and services in that data centre would be moved to the Sydney data centre, which has the most up to date infrastructure, as well as capacity to expand.
  • They plan to move all their Web Services into the Cloud in order to provide an increased level of HA (High Availability) as well as a better degree of flexibility in supplying data to their customers and employees.
  • They also plan to use the Cloud Infrastructure to increase flexibility and availability for some of the LoB (Line of Business) applications that will continue to run on their own internal infrastructure. However, they are hoping to take advantage of the Cloud infrastructure to help manage and balance demand on internal resource use.

The Board of SoftArc Engineering is contemplating this strategy as a way to increase the company’s flexibility and responsiveness, particularly for its remote area and overseas operations. The Board also expects to achieve significant savings on the cost of maintaining their ICT infrastructure by closing the oldest existing data centre. This would entail retiring the infrastructure in that data centre rather than having to update it.

SoftArc Engineering has again approached you to advise them on this strategy. You have already advised SoftArc Engineering that this strategic approach will mean that they will need to design and operate a “Hybrid Cloud” methodology, where part of their data centre is “on premise” and another part in a Cloud. 

SoftArc Engineering also plan to run a Risk and Security Workshop to assess the risks, security issues and possible methods of control that will be required with this “Hybrid Cloud” approach. You will be required to organise, run and facilitate this workshop.

The Board is also concerned about how this strategy will affect their BCP (Business Continuity Plan) and their backup and disaster recovery strategies. 

  1. Describe which Cloud architectures you would employ to assist SoftArc Engineering meet the Board’s strategy?
    1. Describe each of the architectures that you would use, along with your reasons for deploying it. 
    2. Describe the benefits and issues that would be the result of your deployment of these architectures.
  2. Describe the risks that you see associated with this new Hybrid Cloud strategy. You should name and describe each risk that you identify, and then describe a possible control for the risk. This may be presented in a tabular form. 
  3. Describe the general Information Security steps and controls that you would recommend to the Board to secure the Hybrid Cloud. You will need to explain to the Board your reasons for recommending these particular security steps. 
  4. Discuss briefly what you would recommend should be included in SoftArc Engineering’s BCP as a result of their adoption of a Hybrid Cloud approach. You will need to consider, as a minimum, the issues of application resilience, backup and disaster recovery in a Hybrid Cloud environment. This section should be no more than 2 pages. 
  5. Discuss the requirements that SoftArc Engineering will need to consider in order to conduct remote server administration, resource management and SLA management for it’s proposed IaaS and PaaS instances.(it may be useful to consider Morad and Dalbhanjan’s operational checklists for this section). This section should be no more than two to three pages in length. 
  6. The SoftArc Engineering board has decided, as an initial step, to move their SharePoint instance and their SQL Server 2012 Database servers to the AWS cloud in order to begin the migration process, and test their strategy.

1. Describe the steps that you would include in the plan to migrate these services. 

2. What are the critical points and issues that you see occurring at each of these steps? Explain why you see these points or issues as critical.

1. Simple cloud bursting – SoftArc can deploy part of its IT resources to a remote facility owned by a service provider based in a given region. It lowers the risk of migration and thus is a convenient solution (Memon, 2015).

                                         

                                                                             Fig: Cloud bursting

2. Auto-scaling hybrid design – An agile structure that has a dynamic network tier design. Because of this design, application resources can be varied based on the needs of the user. This horizontal adjustment enhances flexibility and mobility of the applications (NGINX, 2015).

                       

                                                                             Fig: Auto-scale hybrid design

Benefits

Issues

Minimal migration risks

Security concerns

Cost efficiency

Data compatibility issues

Increased flexibility and mobility

Increased network considerations

Benefits

Issues

Highly scalable

Compatibility issues

Minimal expansion costs

High implementation costs

Adaptive to users needs

Extended requirements including specialised experts.

(Right scale, 2017)

Risk

Control

Security – Cloud computing is still in its infancy stages of development which predisposes it to many security threats. Moreover, it’s difficult for IT personnel to maintain the security of multiple platforms that require different access and management control

Preparation is the key to solving security problems, SoftArc should implement a strategic plan for meeting the needs of both platforms. Moreover, this plan should include the best practices of security control.

Compatibility issues – Cloud resources such as those of PaaS lack renowned standards of implementation which outline the multiple protocols used with them

Establish a common standard of operation with the service provider. Moreover, the organization can implement open standards that are more compatible with other IT resources

Integration problems – If SoftArc IT resources are extensive it will be difficult to isolate and move them into a new environment. Moreover, the collaboration between cloud and in-house facilities may fail.

Implement low risk architectures such as cloud bursting where resources are slowly shifted to the new platform (Hewlett Packard, 2016).

Loss of control – A new environment presents new challenges such as tagging and tracking resources e.g. data.

Establish a resource management system that tracks all the resources owned by the organisation.

(Shacklett, 2016)

  1.    Resource allocation method – Isolation helps mitigate security attacks and facilitates the containment of vulnerabilities. SoftArc should categorise the resources owned and migrate the least sensitive resources but house the rest under its roof for extended security measures.
  2.    Deploy alternative solutions – While being facilitated by the service provider the organisation can establish several resource centre in case one of the hybrid sections is affected.
  3.    Layout the basic security measures – Connections to the remote facilities should be done using virtual private networks (VPN) to maintain the authenticity and integrity of the data transmitted. Furthermore, other security control such as firewalls and IPsec should be implemented (Keating, 2017).
  4.    Link in-house resource to the cloud infrastructure – having established the security layout, connect the resources together to form the hybrid system.

In most organisations, BCP outlines the recovery procedures used to assist an organisation to recover from a disaster (Shinder, 2007). The following are the items proposed to SoftArc for its hybrid cloud requirements:

  1.    The potential threat – Preparation facilitates recovery efforts moreover, it encourages resilience as the staff personnel is usually acquainted with the problems through the testing drills conducted.
  2.    The chain of command – Disaster such as data centre fires can lead to panic which can disorient the mitigation procedures. Establishing the chain of command in this situation should never be part of the problem.
  3.    Disaster recovery team – Assign recovery roles based on the expertise of the employees.
  4.    Backup options – These will include data centres, power options and other IT resource recovery procedures.
  5.    Emergency contact details – contacts for independent teams/organizations that specialises in disaster control e.g. a fire station
  6.    Alternative workplace area – In case the in-house facility is affected there should be an alternative environment to conduct business (AWS, 2016)

A lot is at stake based on the outlined migration procedure, to ensure the services provided are up to the requirements, and the resources are accounted for, the following items must be outlined:

  1.    Billing and account methods – SoftArc needs to establish a plan to regulate the cost of its leased resources. The service provider will offer a ‘pay per you use’ resource that must be optimally used.
  2.    Access and security management – an access control requirement that outlines the authentication and authorization procedures to the resources owned by the organisation particularly those at the remote location (remote management).
  3.    Resource management – Tagging requirements where all the resources are tracked using the most convenient facilities.
  4.    System resilience – can the established IT facilities withstand faults and disasters? This requirement may call for recovery procedures such as backup options among other considerations.
  5.    Monitoring management – Collaboration of the resources available through real-time assessments and evaluations.
  6.    System configuration – the actual methods including operational protocols for linking the two IT infrastructures (AWS, 2016).
  1.    Actual steps:
  2.    Screening – assessing the feasibility of the migration including the service model adopted. This assessment should be based on both business and technical requirements.
  3.    Pilot test – migrate a few functionalities to the cloud platform, for instance, SoftArc can move its SharePoint instances without the data involved.
  4.    Data migration – having achieved optimal operation during the testing phase, conduct the actual data migration.
  5.    Application migration – Transfer all the applications and software packages meant for the cloud.
  6.    Optimise the resources – this includes sensitising the staff with the online resources through training. Moreover, enact redundancy procedures (ATADATA, 2016).
  7.    Issues occurring at each stage
  8.    Complexity issues during the assessment and pilot stage – it’s highly likely that not all applications owned by the organisation will be suitable for the cloud. Getting a solution that works for both environments will serve as a major implementation issue (Zivic, 2012).
  9.    Compatibility issues during the pilot test – PaaS is one of the suggested models, its deployment lacks consistent implementation standards which will affect the pilot test and the final implementation method.
  10.    Integration problems – during migration, the in-house facilities will have to contend with the network infrastructure used by the cloud resources. This outcome may lead to problems if different network structures are used (Borovac, 2016).

References:

Amazon web service. (2016). Operational Checklists for AWS. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://d0.awsstatic.com/whitepapers/aws-operational-checklists.pdf

ATADATA. (2016). The five phases of migrating to Google Cloud Platform. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://atadata.com/blog/server-migration/the-five-phases-of-migrating-to-google-cloud-platform

Borovac. M. (2016). Overcoming 5 Key Challenges of Cloud Migration with a Streaming-based Approach. Velostrata. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://velostrata.com/blog/overcoming-5-key-challenges-of-cloud-migration-with-a-streaming-based-approach/

Hewlett Packard. (2016). Embrace risk: secure your hybrid cloud. Protected to innovate with the right mix. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/getpdf.aspx/4AA6-4577ENW.pdf?ver=1.0

Keating. C. (2016). 4 Steps to Securing Your Hybrid Cloud Solution & Business Cloud Storage. Zadara storage. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://www.zadarastorage.com/blog/tech-corner/4-steps-securing-your-hybrid-cloud-solution/

NGINX. (2015). 3 Cloud Architectures with NGINX Plus. Blog tech. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://www.nginx.com/blog/cloud-architectures/

Pulse secure. (2017). 17 Hybrid Cloud Security Threats and How to Fix Them. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://www.pulsesecure.net/lp/hybrid-cloud-security-threats

Right scale. (2017). Cloud Computing System Architecture Diagrams. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://docs.rightscale.com/cm/designers_guide/cm-cloud-computing-system-architecture-diagrams.html

Shacklett. M. (2016). 10 hybrid cloud risk areas that the enterprise must manage. Tech republic. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-hybrid-cloud-risk-areas-that-the-enterprise-must-manage/

Shinder. D. (2007). 10 things you should cover in your business continuity plan. Tech republic. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-things-you-should-cover-in-your-business-continuity-plan/

Zivic. K. (2012). 3 Steps to Migrating Applications to the Cloud. Forsythe focus. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: https://focus.forsythe.com/articles/79/3-Steps-to-Migrating-Applications-to-the-Cloud

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