Six Cloud Integration Myths That Need to Be Busted

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    On-premise data integration is inherently more secure than cloud integration, right? Wrong, says Deepak Singh, founder and CTO of Adeptia, a data integration software provider in Chicago.

    According to Singh, that’s just another cloud integration myth that’s creating confusion as companies weigh the merits of their enterprise integration options. In a recent email interview, Singh debunked what he says are six common cloud integration myths.

    Myth No. 1: On-premise integration provides better security than cloud integration. In reality, on-premise and cloud solutions both experience similar security risks, regardless of whether the solution is in the cloud or not. Oftentimes, cloud integration or integration platform as a service (iPaaS) solutions have stringent security designed directly into the technology, making the solution even more protected.

    For example, a cloud integration solution from a savvy vendor will likely have:

    • Quarterly penetration and security vulnerability tests and scanning.
    • SOC 2 or SAS 70 security compliance testing and certification.
    • Intrusion detection mechanisms.
    • Application and network firewall security to handle hacking and denial of service attacks.
    • Specialized security expertise on the maintenance team.

    These are specialized capabilities that enhance the security of cloud solutions. However, companies that have their integration solution on-premise may not have these attributes. If you buy into this myth, your misguided cloud insecurity could hold your business back from increased efficiency and speed.

    Myth No. 2: Cloud integration saves money. This myth has some legs, but it depends on how a particular business defines and prioritizes “money.” In other words, is money now more important than money later? Is reducing capital expense more valuable than reducing operating expense? The initial expense of cloud integration is lower, but at some point in time, the subscription costs will eventually exceed the costs that would have been associated with an on-premise solution.

    Also, cloud integration-as-a-service prices will differ depending on which options your business chooses. Cloud integration providers often have tiered packages with different options, like syncing apps on demand or hybrid integration (i.e., connecting applications in the cloud to on-premise applications).

    In the end, it comes down to your strategy. Not all integration solutions provide what you need for your particular initiative, and choosing the wrong solution, cloud or on-premise, can result in higher costs, regardless of platform.

    Myth No. 3: You will struggle to access internal databases through a cloud integration platform. This is often true, but only because most cloud integration offerings don’t provide “hybrid” integration, or allow for a connection between a cloud application and an on-premise application (i.e., behind a company’s firewall). But if you choose a cloud integration platform with a “bridge” or “agent” capability, then the internal databases and applications can work well with cloud integration solutions.

    Myth No. 4: Cloud integration provides you with the latest, most advanced technologies. Cloud technology isn’t always better. It’s common for vendors to simply port their on-premise technology into the cloud, instead of designing a completely native architecture that would maximize cloud benefits. Essentially, some vendors offer their normal on-premise integration tools in the cloud, and call them “iPaaS” solutions. A true cloud integration solution should have:

    • A Web-based user interface, not an Eclipse-based code-generation tool.
    • A true multi-tenant environment, not the need to be deployed on a dedicated basis for each customer in the cloud.
    • A simpler wizard-based approach for business users, not a developer tool for IT.
    • A subscription and usage-based pricing model, not-long term contracts or commitments.

    Myth No. 5: Cloud integration provides fewer capabilities than on-premise integration. Cloud integration can actually provide deeper capabilities than on-premises integration. This is because cloud integration solutions tend to be updated more frequently, and the updates provide access to more capabilities, app connections and features over time. Conversely, on-premise integration solutions tend to be hard to upgrade without a major effort, and they are limited in their ability to support new technologies and business needs.

    Myth No. 6: Cloud integration promotes shadow IT. While there are some consumer-type cloud integration tools that promote self-service integration without going through IT, the best cloud integration solutions will enable IT to provide governance, control, compliance and security, while simultaneously giving business users the ability to perform the integration operations. They do this by giving IT the ability to “lock” connections so they can only be modified by certain authorized users, thereby improving IT’s ability to handle errors and rerun connections.

    A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.

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