Blog | Reasons to use the Cloud and AI in Drug Discovery

Reasons to use the Cloud and AI in Drug Discovery

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Over the past few years, businesses are digitizing their operations on vast scale, and pharmaceutical sector is no exception to this. Digitization comes with its own set of challenges such as gathering massive data, analyzing it and using the analyzed data to decipher complicated data challenges. Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to overcome these challenges. Organizations are using AI technology to handle immense volumes of data with better automation, generate data driven insights, mimic human intelligence and much more.

The wide range of benefits offered by AL is increasing its adoption in almost every business. Today, many leading pharma companies are leveraging AI technology to enhance their processes of manufacturing, drug research and development. A news portal predicts that nearly 50% of global healthcare companies will be adopting AI technologies by 2025.

But why are pharma companies increasingly adopting AI? What is the role of AI in drug discovery?

Let’s get to know through this article. Read on to understand the role of AI in drug discovery, how AI is helping modernize the traditional drug research method and how the overall drug discovery process has become faster, better and cheaper with AI technology.

Applications of AI in Drug Discovery

Why are pharma companies using AI in drug discovery?

The traditional process of finding medicines is complex, lengthy, and expensive. The time taken for developing a new drug varies from 10-14 years with an investment of about 3-4 billion USD. This time and cost estimation covers all the phases from research to manufacturing of a drug. However, by using the true potentials of the various resources of AWS cloud, and the state-of-the-art artificial intelligence algorithms and techniques, we can significantly reduce the time and cost to an extent. Some of the AI aspects that contribute to quicken the drug discovery process are:

• Data analytics capabilities of AI in drug discovery let researchers to swiftly navigate through loads of data points that can help gauge the target molecules’ capabilities.
• AI in drug discovery is expediting the analysis of massive medical data sets, generate data-driven insights, and predict future needs.
• Predictive analytics capabilities of AI contribute to identify and develop accurate chemical compositions, speed up trials and decide which new drug to manufacture.
• AI is contributing to manufacture good quality medicinal products, filter and employ best-matched patients for clinical trials and enhance the protection and efficiency of drugs during clinical trials.

All these aspects are accelerating the whole process of drug research and development making new drugs available in market at less cost and in shorter time. That's why pharma companies are increasingly using AI in their drug discovery and development programs.

As per a recent survey the global artificial intelligence (AI) in drug discovery market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.6%. Some of the major reasons leading to the increased use of AI in drug discovery are detailed below.

Discovering a novel drug includes several batches of design, chemical combinations, testing, and clinical trials. Screening huge sets of molecules to identify the correct one having the potential to be a drug takes a lot of time. AI in drug discovery helps researchers to quickly navigate through billions of chemical and molecular compounds to find a potential target.

The drug discovery cycle includes various stages, and the initial stages of this cycle are the most time and resources consuming. AI can be used to make these stages more efficient and rapid and given below are some of the drug discovery stages which AI can expedite:

Target identification. This stage includes finding role of the best suited therapeutic target (gene/protein) in a disease. It follows a trial-and-error functional method.
Drug molecule design. An inventive process of designing a new medicine as per the knowledge of the identified target.
Chemical combination. A huge number of chemical compounds are quickly produced on a small scale in small reaction cells.
Drug screening. In this stage, potential medicines are identified and optimized before filtering candidates for clinical trials.
Clinical Trials. A research study performed in people to evaluate a medical intervention. This is a primary testing way to find out if a particular new drug is safe and effective in people.   

Pharma companies are using artificial intelligence to optimize the manufacturing of drugs. This is done by managing waste or supply chains with the help of AI-enabled predictive analysis. 

AI in drug discovery contributes to predicting the finest combinations of chemicals for a drug composition with its possible outcome. Using AI in drug discovery allows researchers try several different chemical compositions and explore their possibilities for being a drug.

The predictive analytics capabilities of AI in drug discovery help researchers filter the right patients to participate in clinical trials. Artificial intelligence selects the best candidate for the trial based on patient’s medical records, demographic information, or ethnicity. To generate valuable insights, AI also contributes by monitoring and collecting data about the drug's effects on a patient.

How is Cloud Computing Accelerating Drug Discovery?

Virtual screening plays a vital role in the process of drug discovery. But the practical application of virtual screening is expensive as it needs the use of computational servers, graphical systems, and costly modeling software platforms. This is where cloud computing can help to build a cost-effective solution. Cloud computing is budget-friendly, elastic, and fully managed by the provider. Therefore, it will be economical to use cloud as a substitute to these massive internal resources required for using virtual screening.

Today, many leading cloud providers in the market are offering healthcare exclusive services such as CentralReach, Amazon Comprehend medical, NextGen Healthcare HER, etc. AWS offers a whole range of services for medical data processing, analysis, and storage. These services help to extract and understand unstructured medical data. You can store, transform, or query the health data in minutes. With these features, researchers can quickly generate insights that can be further used in drug discovery and development. 

Pharma companies are using cloud-based services on a large scale to:

• Extract important health information from the unstructured medical text such as diagnoses, prescriptions, and reports.
• Determine relationships between extracted health information
• Relate the information to medical ontologies like ICD-10-CM, RxNorm, and SNOMED CT
• Automate and lower the cost of processing unstructured medical text
Analyse and make predictions with extracted medical data
• Create a chronological view of patient’s medical data and much more.

Overall, medicine companies are optimising the cloud to cut down cost and time needed for launching new drugs to the market. 

Conclusion

Artificial Intelligence is accelerating drug discovery and development by contributing to the faster processing of immense data, better drug design, impelling modernization, enhancing clinical trials, and supervising drug management. This will eventually reduce the new drug’s cost and time to market. Just like any other sector, healthcare and life sciences are also exploring the plethora of benefits that cloud computing offers.  

Leveraging the cloud and AI in drug discovery is helping to turn impracticality into reality. However, many organizations are still skeptical about using these technologies. Some of the major challenges in adopting artificial intelligence by pharmaceutical industry are a lack of substantial amounts of data or budget for small companies, lack of skilled staff that can operate cloud and AI-based platforms, etc. These challenges can be solved with the help of industry experts and service providers who can help you design the right AI or cloud strategy in line with your business goals that too within your budget. Looking at the value adds that AI is capable of, ignoring to adopt it will only delay the huge benefits that AI can bring to your business.  

Do you want to explore the immense possibilities that AI can bring to your business? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your company.  

Book a 1-hour free consultation with pricing details.  

 

Blog | Better Together. Better World.

AWS announces Minfy as Amazon Healthlake Partner. Better Together. Better World.

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Technology has revolutionized the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry. This has led to unprecedented ways in which the quality of human life has been enhanced: whether it be through early detection of diseases, steadfast treatments, rapid drug discoveries, or genome studies; many short-term and chronic diseases have found their magical potion aka cure.

Minfy has a history of expertise in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industries and continues to work with our customers to unlock various novel insights, find patterns from a plethora of human body parameters, and identify abnormalities from medical images. Drawing insights from such complex data can radically transform the preventive healthcare industry.  The need of the hour is a place where all this structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data can be organized, analyzed, managed, and used for feeding the machine learning models for predictions.

This is where Amazon HealthLake comes in, and Minfy is excited to announce that it has been selected as an Amazon HealthLake Launch Partner for the Amazon HealthLake Partner Program. This service allows healthcare providers, health insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies to store, transform, query, analyze, and share health data in the cloud. Amazon HealthLake offers various features for storing, transforming, searching, and analyzing data, saving both time and energy while providing smooth efficiency and high accuracy.

Some of the vital features of Amazon HealthLake and its potential benefits for the Healthcare industry are mentioned below.

Secure and compliant data storage:

Amazon HealthLake supports data in the Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR R4) industry standard. With the use of HealthLake import API, importing files from S3 storage to the HealthLake datastore including lab reports, clinical notes, and insurance claims, is quick and easy. Amazon HealthLake’s data store creates a complete view of each patient’s medical history in chronological order and helps index all information to easily search without any hassle.

Amazon HealthLake is a HIPAA eligible service that allows for encryption with customer-managed keys. Customers can rest assured knowing that private health information (PHI) can be encrypted at the datastore level. You can control user access based on user needs with column level security to power AI/ML analytics.

Meaningful data transformation:

Integrated medical natural language processing (NLP) transforms all raw medical text data in the datastore to discern and extract meaningful information from unstructured healthcare data. Integrated medical NLP, which Amazon HealthLake leverages via Comprehend Medical, can automatically extract entities (e.g., medical procedures, medications), entity relationships (e.g., a medication and its dosage), entity traits (e.g., positive or negative test result, time of procedure), and Protected Health Information (PHI) data from medical text.

This transformed data is comparatively more mature and readier to be used to capture a patient’s medical history. What previously took hours or even days to capture and analyze can be done within minutes.

Better decision support by better search capabilities:

Amazon HealthLake supports FHIR Search and CRUD operations. In other words, the users can create, read, update, and delete pieces of information for more comprehensive and rich datasets. Even the electronic health/medical records (EHR or EMR) can be indexed into Amazon Kendra for an accurate representation of the medical history of the patient by ranking the content using Amazon Neptune knowledge graphs. With this semantic search, the query will fetch data that have context, unlike any other lexical search.

As the search results improve, the efficiency of comparisons between medical records and notes increases. When the medical records are well organized, then the shared clinical characteristics with the use of Neptune allow users to view metadata associated with patient notes in a simpler and standard view. This early intervention and efficiency of healthcare providers give more time to consult with patients better and allows a comprehensive check with a proper prescription to sustain a healthy life and hence move towards preventive care.

Detailed analysis and more promising predictions:

It is worth noting that Amazon HealthLake can seamlessly leverage Amazon SageMaker to build machine learning or deep learning models that can solve healthcare and life sciences challenges by interpreting the results via visualization techniques. Amazon HealthLake also connects to Amazon QuickSight to create dashboards by exporting and normalizing data to quickly explore patient trends. This can help find better insights, patterns, and anomalies in the health data. This will further enable regular interventions by healthcare providers to prevent a particular disease in its early stages itself.

Amazon HealthLake’s streamlining of data analytics and AI/ML model capability accelerate data insights for healthcare industry stakeholders. Several AWS cloud services can be used in conjunction with Amazon HealthLake, including Amazon Sagemaker to train the ML/DL models, Amazon QuickSight for visualization, Amazon Polly for telehealth, Amazon Kendra to search using natural language, and last but not least Amazon Rekognition to understand the medical images better, and these services can all be integrated to make the complete healthcare system exponentially efficient. Minfy is ready to leverage these services to deliver results to our customers and solve Healthcare and Life Sciences’ most challenging problems.

Blog | Kubernetes to Architect Cloud-Native Apps.

Leveraging 12 Factor App Principles and Kubernetes to Architect Cloud-Native Apps

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Businesses are embracing app modernization on a vast scale. The reason can be to meet greenfield necessities, make business future-ready, or to upgrade monolithic legacy applications. On their journey to modernization, businesses are using containers and Kubernetes as primary technologies to modernize the design and distribution of their applications. The key business goal remains the same, which is to have an all-time-available work system in place. A system that is scalable, portable, flexible, and reliable. Architecture based on microservices and Kubernetes, and the 12 factor app methodology can help achieve such a system.

The 12-factor app style of development surfaced about 10 years ago, much before containers. And, since then the 12 principles of the 12 factor app have become a universal standard for cloud-native app development. The 12 factor app development stages offer a set of guidelines for a proper outline for developing modern microservices. And, Kubernetes is known for being an orchestration platform for containers used to deploy and control these microservices.

The 12-factor app principles:

• Has only one aim: to offer a course of action for cloud-native application development and deployment. They ensure that happens by making applications highly scalable and disposable.
• Help you and your team to embrace DevOps and microservices in the app development process.
• Simplify the process, which increases the development time and reduces the time to market.
• Were designed to build Software as a Service (SaaS) applications by alleviating the difficulties associated with long-term software development.

This article explains how organizations are leveraging the 12-factor app development method and Kubernetes to architect cloud-native apps. Understand how 12 factor app is helping businesses to modernize by establishing scalability, resiliency, robustness, mobility, and reliability across their applications. Let’s get started.

Leveraging 12 Factor App Principles and Kubernetes

 

1. A single Codebase for Applications, Multiple Deployments

A 12-factor app methodology states that only one Codebase or a set of code repositories should exist. These are deployable multiple times but never have many codebases. If there are any shared codes, they should be factored into libraries and called through the dependency manager.

Multiple deployments of a codebase are possible by making it active across all instances. The only difference is the versions, which are also tracked in the version manager.

Once the code base is in place with the 12-factor app approach, it can be built, released, or run in separate phases in the Kubernetes environment. Kubernetes and containers have text-based representations. The predictable system states are managed by automation tools in separate files. It is better to manage such evolving artifacts with source control. Using a version control system such as Git can help eliminate the introduction of sudden changes and facilitate tracking the changes added to your system.

2. Declare and Isolate Application Dependencies

The 12-factor app methodology uses the declaration and isolation method for application dependencies. Declare any dependencies explicitly and also check them in the version manager. This approach makes it easier to get started and enhances repeatability. It also becomes easy to track any changes made to the dependencies.

Another approach is to package the app and all its dependencies into a container. This makes it possible to remove the app and all its dependencies from its environment. In addition, it ensures that the app functions as expected regardless of the differences in development and staging environments.

3. Archive Config as Environment Variable

As per 12 factor app principle configs should be archived as environment variables (env vars) but not constants. Env vars are easy to change as the need arises for new code deployments without changing the codes. This flexibility quickens the native-app development process.

Additionally, you can manage env vars independently every time you deploy them. It also becomes easy to scale up as the development process progresses towards completion and deployment.

The 12-factor app strictly separates the application configuration from the code. Kubernetes ConfigMap supports storing configuration by declaring it. This can be helpful for production and development environments that need different configurations to deploy the same code.

4. Backing Services: As Attached Resources, Easy to Swap

Backing services include support applications and systems that your application needs to connect and communicate with, such as databases. They are usually grouped as attached resources that should be accessible when needed.

Modern applications that are microservices-based use backing services. These backing services are handled as attached resources in the 12-factor app. Due to this, in case of any failure, you can simply change the attached resources and not the whole application codebase.

Backing services in the 12-factor app methodology are configurable and easy to change. You can change them from one state to the next as the need arises. The switching is possible by just slightly changing the configuration.

It is the best practice to separate the backing services (such as logging, messaging, databases, third-party services, caching, and others) from the system. And then interact with them through an API. Sticking the APIs to consistent contracts will let you change the basic implementations without highlighting them to clients. Kubernetes ConfigMaps can be used to store connection information to skip building the container image again, in case of any revision in the connection information.

5.  Split Build, Release and Run Phases

The 12-factor app methodology distinguishes all the stages of cloud-native app development.

• They changed the codebase to deploy it. And once the first stage is completed and the next starts, you cannot alter the code in the previous one.
• You should build deployable components independent of the environment in the first stage. The second stage involves taking the reusable components already developed and combining them with a specific configuration to match the target environment.
• The last phase is the run stage. It involves packing the entity created in the previous one in a container and running it in the target environment.

Organizations prefer to automate the development and testing tasks with CI/CD toolchains. Splitting your CI/CD pipeline into a series of sequential tasks can increase productivity. It helps to provide greater insight into failure and improve accountability. For example, dedicate a pipeline exclusively for building a container image at a time. After that, to run the container instance, you can perform the testing, promoting, and deploying of that image.

6. Stateless Processes

The 12-factor app methodology allows you to run cloud-native applications in the environment as one or more processes. The only restrictions are that they should be stateless and never share data. That enhances scalability and portability across cloud computing infrastructure. Data compilation is done during the build stage. Any other thing that requires persistence forms part of the backing services.

Containers are short-lived and when the container goes away, the data inside the container ceases to exist. The state of containerized workloads must be reduced. This helps to maintain a good user experience while remaining unaffected by application scaling.

7. Port Binding to Export Services

This stage of 12-factor app development involves binding your packaged application to a port. You can use the Kubernetes service object if the workload is exposed internally to the cluster. Otherwise, you need other methods such as node ports, Ingres Controllers, and OpenShift routes.

Packing your application inside containers makes networking and port collisions easier by reducing the workload on hosts. Software-defined networks in Kubernetes platforms take over many operations.

8. Concurrency and Scalability

Scalability is one of the primary features of any cloud-native application. That is usually done by deploying more app copies instead of enlarging them. To achieve this, the 12 factor app methodology uses a simple yet reliable operation.

The developer designs the app to take on different workloads by assigning processes varying tasks. An example is an application where a web process handles HTTP requests and a worker processes a long-running background activity.

The pod-based Kubernetes architecture supports the scaling of application components as per varying demands. With the 12-factor app’s stateless processes element, scalability becomes a consistent function that can help to gain an expected level of concurrency.

9. Disposability: Robust Cloud-native apps

According to the 12-factor app methodology, all processes are disposable. They should have minimal startup time, shutdown gracefully, and be immune to crashes and failures. All these capabilities make scaling easier, enhance faster app development, and make the deployments more robust.

The app should create new instances when it needs to and take them down as necessary. It is this 'disposability' property that makes cloud-native applications more robust. In microservices, processes are disposable. That means, in case any application stops working unexpectedly, users stay almost unaffected and the failures are managed gracefully. You can also use Kubernetes ReplicaSets to uphold the stage of availability for microservices by specifying the max-to-min bounds for the number of replicas.

10. Dev/prod parity: Carrying out Development and Production Similarly

The 12-factor app methodology bridges the gap between cloud-native app development and production. That makes it possible to continuously deploy or roll out new features. Also, developers can write code, deploy, and review the app’s features. This process is usually fast, and completed in minutes or hours.

For organizations that pack workloads into containers, initializing the container image in one environment, it shall run on any infrastructure or environment. But there are chances of environmental drift. Consider standardizing the same distribution of Kubernetes across all environments to eliminate this. It helps create a consistent experience for container platform users.

11. Logs are Event Streams

The 12-factor app methodology does not require routing and storage, writing, or managing of the application’s output or log files. Any running process writes its event stream to STDOUT without buffering. A developer views this stream in the foreground of their user interface. This helps to determine how the app behaves and draw conclusions. The event streams also make it easy to troubleshoot or debug an application.

12. Run Admin Processes as One-off Processes

With a 12-factor app methodology, admin and management tasks such as database migrations, scripts, and batch programs run as one-off processes. They are treated as long-running processes. They also utilize the same dependency isolation methods as the app’s usual processes.

It is best practice to isolate the application administrative tasks such as data restore and backup, caching, or migration from the application microservices and carry them out as separate processes. You can use Kubernetes jobs to execute these mundane administrative tasks that are part of the application lifecycle.

What are the Business Benefits of 12 Factor App Methodology

The 12-factor app methodology is the how-to guide for creating cloud-native applications. Many giant tech companies, such as Amazon, Heroku, Microsoft, and others, make use of these 12 principles as they technically help them to enhance business agility by expediting innovation and go-to-market capabilities. With these 12-factor principles, you can design and maintain a robust and modern app architecture required for cloud-based applications.

This methodology is the solution for developers developing the following:

Software-as-a-service solutions

 

Cloud Applications

 

Distributed software solutions

 

Microservices

 

With the 12-factor apps methodology, you can create cloud-native applications that are:

• Suitable for deployment on modern cloud platforms, minimizing the need for servers and server administration
• Enabled for continuous deployment with minimal differences between development and production
• Scalable without significant change or effort
• Capable of using declarative formats for setup automation.

Conclusion

Web applications, platforms, and frameworks using the 12-factor app methodology have generated measurable business outcomes with enhanced productivity in the past few years. This guidebook is suitable for DevOps and cloud app development, which should be a blueprint for developing resilient, scalable, portable, and maintainable applications. Considering these 12-factor app principles with Kubernetes ensures you build a robust solution for your business.

However, this methodology is not the ultimate solution for everyone. Whether or not it works for your business depends on your business model and needs. So, you should not worry if your software development process deviates from the principles of 12-factor app methodology. You are good to go if you understand the reason and the expected outcome.

Do you want to learn more about 12-factor app development principles and its real-time use cases? Contact us today to know how we can help your company.

Book 1-hour free consultation

 

 

Blog | 5 AI Solutions Transforming Healthcare in 2022 and beyond

5 AI Solutions Transforming Healthcare in 2022 and beyond

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The world's life expectancy has increased as a result of various advancements in healthcare facilities. However, as the world's population ages, healthcare systems must contend with a rise in demand for their services, growing costs, and a staff that is under pressure to meet patient needs.

With the growing population of senior citizens and the adverse effects of climate change, there will be a huge rise in health-related issues. It will lead to a higher influx of patients with various needs to several healthcare institutions. To tackle this meteorically rising need and the economy behind it, healthcare systems need to transform their service deliveries from episodic to management-focused long-term care.

But how can healthcare systems achieve it effectively?

This is where healthcare AI solutions come into play. Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions have the potential to handle these challenges and empower the healthcare industry to be future-ready.  By introducing new innovative ways of tackling operational challenges, AI solutions are and will be transforming the healthcare industry in 2022 and beyond.

However, before moving on to discuss various AI solutions in healthcare, let's first understand how AI solutions sync with the definition of healthcare systems

What are AI Solutions in Healthcare?

It is quite known that artificial intelligence (AI) is the capacity of computers and other machines to think, learn, and behave very similarly to humans. The employment of cognitive approaches like AI algorithms in medical situations is referred to as artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in healthcare. Very often to predict certain medical outcomes, AI solutions in healthcare are used to build quick response and effective analysis platforms against huge chunks of medical data.

Industry Application of AI Solutions in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is already using AI solutions for better clinical decisions and faster operations. In healthcare and life-science companies, AI solutions offer several advantages over traditional analytical methods. AI solutions can make healthcare systems more precise with the ability to understand training data, which further helps humans get unprecedented insights into treatment variability, care processes, diagnostics, and patient results.

Over the last few years, AI solutions have significantly contributed to the healthcare industry. From providing better service to patients to performing advanced analysis and treatment AI solutions are fueling healthcare institutions to achieve better growth and revenue. Now, let’s take a closer look at 5 healthcare AI solutions that are transforming the healthcare industry as a whole.

 1. AI & Machine Learning (ML) Solutions for Medical Imaging & Diagnosis

"Medical imaging" refers to a variety of methods that are used to examine the human body to discover, monitor, or treat several disorders. Leveraging AI solutions, medical imaging and diagnosis can be done with better precision and accuracy. Unlike humans, AI solutions can help in better recognition of intricate patterns of various human body ailments. Few real-world applications of this can be:
•  The algorithms at the core of the AI solutions can expedite the process of reading complex images from CT scans or MRIs.
•  AI solutions-based Machine Learning (ML) platforms in healthcare are helping to analyze MRI a shorter timeframe right from the symptom onset. It finally helps in detecting many life-threatening diseases at an early stage. For example, a brain MRI analysis with AI solutions based Machine Learning (ML) platforms helps identify tissue changes reflective of early ischemic stroke.
•  Doctors can perform better and more accurate disease diagnoses with the help of automated image diagnosis systems.

Using these AI solutions in your healthcare institutions, you can directly boost healthcare expert’s productivity. Additionally, using these AI solutions in healthcare, you can ensure that your highly skilled staff spends time treating more patients rather than evaluating medical pictures.

2. AI Solutions for Next-Gen Patient Screening

AI can be helpful in pre-screening patients long before they arrive at a hospital.
• Instead of sticking to conventional pre-screening questionnaires, healthcare institutions need to enable AI solutions-based speech and text-based interactions. It will lead to faster screening and better management of a higher volume of patients.
• Reinforcing ML with AI solutions will further help to identify novel trends and enhance patient complaint diagnosis. In comparison to a preset or static survey, AI solutions like chat-bots can easily replicate the expertise of a real-world healthcare practitioner.
• Adopting AI solutions-based Natural language processing (NLP) applications allows your potential patient to speak or write to a doctor about their symptoms. The AI agent and patients will quiz one another to mimic a conversation between a doctor and a patient.
•  AI solutions can provide virtual health assistance to help advise a patient on how to proceed with their medical care. It includes timely reminders about check-ups, whether to visit the emergency room, schedule a consultation, or take an over-the-counter medication. If the patient needs medical attention, the AI solution can recommend a doctor based on the patient's location, availability, and insurance information.

In cases of health emergencies or growing accessibility issues in urban areas, AI solutions in healthcare can be a revolutionary innovation.

3. Predictive AI Solutions for Preventative Healthcare

Preventative care, as the name itself suggests, is any procedure or method that defends against any probable health issues. Today, the term "preventive care" solely refers to regular medical checks, immunizations, dental cleanings, etc. Leveraging predictive technology of AI solutions can significantly enhance ongoing preventative treatments and boost overall healthcare infrastructure.

• Smart wearables like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, etc. work on the basis of AI solutions coupled with sensors. These smart fitness wearables can support preventative care in the healthcare sector.
• Information on heart rate, activity, nutrition, VO2, and sleep is automatically supported by these devices. With add-ons, these devices can now measure blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight as well.
• Preventative healthcare is possible by using the data from these wearables to identify potential health issues even before they occur. This information can be used to build analytical models that will help in making accurate predictions regarding certain illnesses.
• These models are able to gather data from wearable sensors in real-time, alerting users when they have reached a threshold calling for preventative medical care.

The gadget-based healthcare AI solutions help share data with the physician for a detailed medical understanding. Additionally, it can help offer better care by spending less time on the patient's symptoms and background.

4. AI Solutions for Healthcare Data Management

The healthcare industry has to deal with a huge pile of data. This increases the chances of straying imperative data. Big medical data comes with bigger data management challenges. It can take years to process this data, connect significant data points, develop an appropriate diagnosis, or support new medicines’ discovery out of this huge data.
• Data is an asset to every business, and hence, it should be of top priority to preserve it. AI is helping many healthcare organizations to realize important data points from health records’, analyze  and then present it for easier examination and maintenance of patient records.
• AI solutions when deployed in healthcare, can lead to easier data processing and bring quick visibility into patterns, which can be very daunting for any individual.

5. AI Solutions for advanced Healthcare Drug Discovery

COVID-19 has shed light on the creation of vaccines and technologies like AI, ML, or DL have proved to be of greater help in expediting the vaccine discovery process. It has taken a year and more for the world to discover the vaccine. It has only shown that the processes for identifying vaccines and pharmaceuticals are labor-intensive, expensive, time-consuming, and usually unsuccessful.
• Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly using AI tools like DL to develop and test new drugs.
• It needs a lot of data analysis to develop new pharmaceuticals since there are so many possible chemical combinations. AI solutions being exceptionally faster and quicker at handling enormous data volumes can accelerate the entire process.
• AI solutions can help create more medicines that are authorized in less time and at cheaper costs.

AI solutions can help bolster clinical efforts toward faster drug discovery. This will lead to faster market release and subsequent cost & time savings.

Summary

• AI solutions in the healthcare sector can help every healthcare worker to view patient data and other information to provide accurate diagnoses and treatment suggestions.
• AI solutions let healthcare institutions gather huge data sets like clinical trial data, claims data, demographic data, etc. Deploying AI solutions can lead to faster data processing which will probably take years if done through the conventional methodology.
• Using Ai solutions in the healthcare sector can lead to the discovery of necessary data patterns and insights, thus, potential for further scalability.

The above, plus various other benefits of AI solutions, have made it a turning point in the healthcare field. Whether in the form of machine learning that aids in the development of  medicine, patient prescreening, in-treatment communications through NLP or AI solutions like imaging analysis, AI solutions are already outgrowing the conventional methods and are bound to grow more in coming years. Explore how our AI solutions are modernizing our clients’ healthcare operations and helping them achieve big in their business. Do you want to know how AI solutions can benefit your healthcare company? Contact us today to learn more.

Book a 1-hour free consultation with pricing details.

Blog | Adopting DevOps Culture When Migrating to Cloud

Adopting DevOps Culture When Migrating to Cloud

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Cloud computing necessitates substantial flexibility for businesses in order to reduce barriers to entry into a platform that is scalable and enables rapid innovative growth. The tough part begins when platform owners have to choose the type of migration procedure to use to move their platform to the cloud. Even a straightforward lift and shift depends on a lot of variables, and needs restructuring and planning.

There are many different approaches for platform migration to the cloud. The main objective is to give your business speed, agility, and the ability to experiment in an economical way, regardless of how the migration is addressed, whether it is through the refactoring method or down to the typical re-host technique. A migration may cause downtime or prevent your company from fully optimizing benefits of the cloud if it is poorly planned or executed.

While migrating to cloud, there are possibilities of encountering inconsistencies along the way, conflicts with different existing policies and the legacy or core services that are about to change. Therefore, migrations demand an in-depth, granular planning and cross-disciplinary awareness of platform minutiae, along with meticulous, detailed preparation, assistance and advisory from domain professionals (platform architects, operations experts, developer resources) with team collaboration and cooperation.

Today, many advanced technology teams are evolving their DevOps processes to address these inefficiencies, bridge the gaps between disciplines, and realign previously disparate interests. Let see how automation and DevOps are becoming viable goals on roadmap to cloud migration for businesses offering a great platform to pursue the most awaited cultural shift.

Why Adopt DevOps Culture

The use of a set of cultural concepts, practices, and technological tools collectively referred to as "DevOps" improves an organization's capacity to deliver applications and services at high velocity—that is, to change and improve products more quickly than with conventional software development and infrastructure management techniques. Due to this quickness, firms can better serve their customers and increase their marketability. Your ability to successfully migrate to the cloud may be greatly impacted by using a DevOps approach.

Furthermore, DevOps supports a flexible experimentation phase, adaptability, and an agile engineering culture. In DevOps, the iterative aspects such as develop, test, deploy, scale, failover, and recover are designed to be streamlined. The key DevOps concepts of shared accountability, agility, transparency, and minimal risks through automation have been shown to be essential for handling complicated projects like corporate platform migrations.

DevOps enables businesses to achieve change quickly by combining the heritage culture and practice with a set of paths. Ultimately, by successfully competing to the industry expectations, organizations can attain their business ambitions better and produce more significant ROI with DevOps.

Establishing a Mature DevOps Practice in Your Organization

Modern development teams immediately deploy each developer's changes to enormous environments many times a day. Deploying more frequently and in smaller increments can reduce significant risk during deployment. Lower change deltas reduce the time it takes to find and resolve issues, which is further reduced by rapid feedback loops enabled by extensive automated testing of each change increment.

Companies were able to perform more tests at a lower cost and iterate more quickly as a result of the use of automation by DevOps teams to move their infrastructure and workload to the cloud. Here is a list of elements that support developing a mature DevOps practice inside your organization to assure continuous improvement to your software and services and meet your business goals.

1. Encourage a collaborative culture

The successful collaboration between the operations and development teams is the first and most crucial tenet of DevOps. The DevOps team can concentrate on achieving the organization's common goals and serve its purpose by forming a unilateral team. The main idea behind this notion is to make sure that the team works well together and communicates with one another so that they can exchange ideas and work through challenges.

In this approach, silos can be broken down and people, processes, and technology can all work together to achieve corporate goals. Such specialized teams can generate a fluid experience through process alignment, which can support a culture of innovations and deployments throughout the whole business.

2. Automate as much as you can

The necessity of the era is automation. Continuous development is necessary to satisfy client needs as consumer awareness grows. With this in mind, significant progress has been made in terms of implementing technologies that assist automation as well as optimizing other processes, such as configuration management, the CI/CD pipeline, and others.

Several procedures can be automated during the automation phase to operate effectively with the available resources. This may entail setting up new systems, developing new infrastructure, deploying software, and running numerous tests for functionality and security compliance.

DevOps enable teams to create their own automated procedures and expedite development and deployment processes. In addition, while maintaining their dependability, machines can be effectively trained to distribute software more quickly than they often do.

3. Make data- driven decisions

Success is the result of making wise choices over time. By always pursuing alignment with product and technology objectives and vice versa; business strategy and financial planning cycles must adjust to the reality of constantly changing markets. This calls for a more thorough, data-driven decision-making process at all levels.

4. Utilize Infrastructure-as-a-code strategy

Every development effort should be cloud-native, use an infrastructure-as-a-code methodology, use tools like AWS CloudFormation, and reduce reliance on manual processes by utilizing the appropriate public, private, and/or hybrid cloud infrastructure. With this method, you can configure, manage, grow, and recover from problems while eliminating manual labor and human error. Eventually, the entire infrastructure lifecycle will be totally automated.

5. Encourage tool-driven teamwork

Deep, effective, tool-driven teamwork amongst knowledgeable, cross-functional persons working as members of a team that carry out a product development and operations lifecycle is a trait of mature DevOps teams.

6. Adopt a customer first approach

Brands that don't continually innovate cannot satisfy the requirements of the consumer. For the same reason, brands must act like lean start-ups that innovate as the times change. Continuous improvement, which focuses on performance, speed, and cost of delivery optimization, is a key component of DevOps. Adopting DevOps necessitates a strong organizational commitment to ongoing improvement. Continual experimentation combined with a strong dedication to ongoing learning results in continuous progress. The effective business will discover how to ask questions and reduce the likelihood of making incorrect assumptions.

To satisfy their customers' needs, DevOps teams are always on the go. The information acquired through automated procedures can be examined to see whether performance goals are being fulfilled, which will eventually result in customer satisfaction.

7. Establish a culture to support consolidated responsibility

Traditionally, developers and operations teams used to operate independently with little to no communication. On the contrary, the DevOps environment compels both the teams to collaborate in order to accomplish shared objectives and function as a single team. But now that the DevOps culture has changed, this idea is approached differently. A space for everyone and everything is provided inside the teams, and inefficiencies are eliminated.

Migrating to Cloud with DevOps Culture

Early adoption and adherence to DevOps methods allow for low-risk migration implementation. DevOps offers a range of immediate and long-term business benefits, including repeatability, accuracy, much fewer deployment risks, and shorter iteration cycles - all of which are critical for employee engagement, operational efficiency, security architecture, and competitive advantage.

Here are few best practices that helped organization to successfully implement the cultural changes required to adopt DevOps when migrating to cloud.

Best Practices to Inculcate DevOps Cultural Shift When Migrating to Cloud

1. Emphasizing the hiring process

DevOps, at its heart, unites development and operations teams that have been divided for a while due to your outdated software development life cycle (SDLC). To ensure that employees collaborate and effectively provide solutions to the market, DevOps mandates that enterprises change their strategy.

Reviewing the selection criteria for new employees is one method to guarantee a focus on people and culture. Since generalists are better able to manage the constantly changing demands of development, DevOps teams place more emphasis on employing them. As DevOps approaches grow, generalists will need to embrace a software development perspective.

Organizations can opt for hiring generalists who are open to adopt a software developer’s mindset easily.

2. Sharing accountability

Development teams have been plagued with application outages all the time. DevOps teams are further motivated to incorporate methods that guarantee continuity by the pressure to please customers and ensure application uptime.

Set high priority on delivering workloads and applications that are extremely robust, and then hold the company responsible. Teams are more inclined to collaborate and tempers are less likely to flare when simple KPIs like Mean Time to Production, Deployment Frequency, and Mean Time to Recovery are established.

3. Considering learning and training as an ongoing activity

Many SDLC procedures are made clearer by DevOps. Simple operations become programmed and flexible. This increases operations' predictability, effectiveness, security, and sustainability to the fullest. Automation frequently serves as assistant for these procedures and methods. Make continual training a part of your DevOps adoption plan to establish the expectation of continual improvement.

Leaders need to give the necessary tools so that their staff can stay up to date with the rest of the industry when new technology and best practices are developed. This covers actions like earning certifications and gaining practical knowledge of certain DevOps technologies.

4. Working together towards a single objective

The mechanics of cooperation in a DevOps system is another topic of research. DevOps breaks down silos and forces stakeholders from various business divisions to collaborate, therefore it promotes empathy and mutual understanding as fundamental team principles that help people work together toward a single objective. To encourage communication and collaboration among team members, organizations can find it advantageous to participate in team-building exercises.

Final Takeaway

•  The DevOps ecosystem consists of a diverse range of frameworks, technologies, and cultural elements.
•  However, as history has shown, processes change through time and tools are always being changed. What will endure are the cultural shifts that fuel the adaptability required to change along with the ecology.
•  In order to support self-organizing teams based on products and applications, organizational adjustments must be undertaken, with leadership encouraging and facilitating cooperation. DevOps is fundamentally about empowerment and autonomy.
•  Many migration projects have generated measurable and anticipated outcomes with continuous testing, complete automation, and the application of modern software development practices of DevOps.
•  The goal of producing software more regularly, with less work, and fewer errors has been pursued by developers for many years. Finally, we have the methods and tools needed to make this a reality.
• As per a survey, organizations practicing DevOps generates a higher quality deliverables with greater deployment frequency and faster time to market. Hence, despite its challenges developing a DevOps is worthwhile, due to the increased satisfaction it offers to the developers, managers, and customers.

The cloud migration phase offers a big opportunity for organizations to improve processes, applications, culture and move towards adopting DevOps. It gives a chance to change something that is not beneficial anymore, stagnant and unnecessary. If your organization is going through the same phase, feel free to try the DevOps possibilities to bring that necessary change in your organization and witness the amazing benefits that come with it.

Do you have DevOps questions in mind? Contact us today and learn more about how we can help your company.

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Blog | 7 Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud Governance

7 Reasons Your Business Needs Cloud Governance

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Moving from an on-premise IT system to cloud-based services can be a daunting task. This transformation can result in security challenges and other problems. However, businesses have to embrace this new technology for the benefits that come with it.

Adopting cloud-based IT infrastructure without proper cloud governance in an impromptu manner may lead to more drawbacks than benefits. Cloud grants agility and new speed to innovation like never before by making it easier for teams to deploy assets or provision infrastructures at a press of a button. But these benefits of the cloud come at the cost of new risks that cloud governance can help to diminish. As cloud services can burn a hole in your pocket, it is imperative to set up well-organized cloud governance that considers security and compliance, data management, company assets, configurations, applications performance, budget, operations and much more to enable optimal use of the cloud for an organization in a dependable and secured way. That is why a business must consider cloud governance.

Proper implementation of cloud governance helps in risk management, cost optimization, productivity improvement, and enhanced data security. Read on to understand what cloud governance is and why your business needs it.

What is Cloud Governance?

Cloud governance consists of rules and protocols devised by organizations and businesses to help improve data security and risk management. These rules ensure all operations run smoothly and allow employees to use and deploy new cloud systems more conveniently.

Cloud governance also makes the transformation from on-premise IT infrastructure to cloud flawless by considering all factors. All employees also have seamless access to cloud infrastructure and systems. The approach additionally encourages collaboration where necessary. That’s why it is paramount to include cloud governance in your business.

7 Reasons your Business needs Cloud Governance

You may need extra time to design and implement the best cloud governance. But if you put in the required efforts, you can get many benefits. These are the reasons why your business needs cloud governance. Let’s explore just a few of them.

1. Cloud Governance Helps Regulate Accessibility

IT cloud infrastructure is remotely accessible to all employees in an organization. Uncontrolled access to data can cause data integrity and security issues. Security can be a concern for cloud-based IT systems without rules and protocols. That is why cloud governance is a necessity to restrict accessibility.

Cloud governance allows employees to only access the section of the system they are permitted to, which also applies to cloud applications. That way, dishonest and rogue applications can never interfere with sensitive architecture. Cloud governance makes it possible to decide who has access to what and how the data acquired is used.

Additionally, you can regulate data and monitor activities in real-time. So, any data breach is timely reported to the system administrator, and necessary actions are taken on time.

2. Enhances System Security

Data security is another concern when migrating to the cloud. It can increase some risks to the system and operations, such as data storage, system maintenance, and others. Cloud governance is here to help minimize these risks and make the cloud system more secure.

Putting protocols in place ensures proper data management in the cloud. Data integrity and confidentiality can be maintained with well-laid out rules. It also enhances visibility and control over who accesses what information and outlines how that information is used.

3. Slashes Operational Costs

You no longer have to hire IT specialists to track accounts, check compliance, and analyze operational costs the traditional way. Cloud computing has made it possible to automate everything, including controlled access and policies.

You can reduce operational costs by preventing non-compliant activities with proper cloud governance. Additionally, you can keep shadow IT in check, eliminate unnecessary expenses in infrastructure. It is the best way to keep any project under budget and only carry out the ones vital for the operation of your business. Setting the right cloud governance enables organizations to a kind of creating automated guardrails that will take care of all cloud aspects from budgets to policies management. You get automated responses for any cloud activity that happens, this lessens the load of pulling analytics for each and every cloud action, which in turn adds to your company’s cost saving by reducing the need of workforce.

4. Reduces Compliance Risks

Security compliance audits and assessments have become mandatory for all businesses. Your business operations and security system can be out of order if you don't have cloud governance. Moreover, not many organizations are unaware even data and security compliance exist.

Cloud governance helps businesses to make a long list of security compliances. That will ensure you always comply and avoid hefty fines that regulators impose on noncompliance. It will also help you audit your data policies and usage from time to time. Your employees will always know how to access and use data collected from your clients.

5. Easier Resource Management with Cloud Governance

The main reason for using cloud governance for your business is to better manage the cloud resources. It helps to seamlessly offer accurate control without breaching any security protocols.

With proper cloud governance, your business or organization can manage accounts and grant access to users accordingly. This approach enhances data security and helps to organize and maintain cloud resource allocations. You can group them into departments, projects, cost centres, and other categories relevant to your business.

Proper cloud resource management aids in better cost tracking and addresses most security concerns. There is also controlled access to those cloud resources.

6. Promotes Teamwork

Cloud governance avails resources to team members, making them feel motivated to handle the tasks. Besides, most of these processes are automated. So, employees will have more time to do what they like doing the most. The result is improved productivity in the team and organization overall.

7. Diminishes Shadow IT

Shadow IT systems involve any IT resources not defined within the IT departments. It becomes difficult to track them and determine their costs because they are often not captured in the reports. Shadow IT can happen to any business or organization regardless of its structure.

If your employees cannot access the cloud resources or don’t know how to find them, the chances and risks of shadow IT become high. That can increase security risks and inflate management costs. Cloud governance offers the best approach to prevent that from occurring. It details protocols to be followed to request and access resources without compromising other system operations.

Conclusion

Cloud governance is helpful to businesses of all sizes. It can curb shadow IT, reduce risks, enhance data security, improve cloud resource management, and provide access control. You should consider implementing cloud governance if you don’t have it yet.

However, you must understand you will never find a universal solution for cloud governance. The implementation process and management depend on your organization’s needs and structure. Also, you need to continually adjust your cloud governance to ensure policies and new rules are updated.

Till date, we have helped many organizations in creating a comprehensive cloud governance mechanism and achieve improved data security, secured data accessibility, better resource management and more cost savings. If you have cloud governance on mind, talk to Minfy’s cloud experts.

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Blog | Cloud Computing & Education: 7 ways Cloud is Overhauling Ed-Tech

Cloud Computing & Education: 7 ways Cloud is Overhauling Ed-Tech

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Cloud computing is widely adopted in education and other sectors, and the reasons are apparent. In Covid times when education shifted from physical classrooms to online classes, educational organizations such as schools, colleges, and universities got a chance to leverage cloud computing and its benefits. The cloud-enabled learning and coaching centres to connect the students and teachers virtually, save spending on textbooks, eliminating the need to buy or own servers and data centres, and many other capabilities which were not possible with the traditional approach. Moreover, they need not to worry about their study materials, documents safety, or files security as they are safe on cloud. With cloud technology students, teachers, and other working staff don’t have to confine themselves to the physical classrooms for lessons. Teaching and learning is happening remotely, and services are accessible through any internet-connected device.

Cloud computing is revolutionizing the education sector in many ways. Let’s take a look at how this new technology is proving to be the game-changer in the education system by changing the traditional ways of teaching and learning.

7 Ways Cloud Computing is Changing Education

1. Universal accessibility through virtual classrooms

Distance learning has been there for many years but was never realized until recently when some education institutions migrated to the cloud. However, most education systems still rely on brick-and-mortar classrooms to offer lessons and lectures to students.

Cloud computing makes it possible to host virtual classrooms. Also, sharing learning resources securely and remotely is possible through this technology. A student in one continent can now interactively attend a lecture hosted on another. Students can also interact and access course materials on their mobile devices.

Due to cloud computing, a student can enrol in any school and attain academic certifications without going to a physical classroom. This is also beneficial to people who are held up with other commitments and can’t attend schools and colleges to complete their education. You can now work and pursue your studies from your office desk or home, provided you are connected to the internet.

2. Cost saving on students' data storage and maintenance

Educational institutions are increasingly experiencing challenges with data storage and management systems. The number of students enrolling at every level is increasing, and managing their personal information requires resources. You are supposed to invest in expensive computing hardware and software to run such big educational institutions.

With cloud computing, you no longer need expensive hardware and software. All the information about every registered student is accessible over the internet. This virtual hosting with a pay-as-you-go plan is way much more affordable. Besides, there are many cloud computing service providers to choose from.

3. Cloud brings scalability to educational institutes

Upscaling hardware and software is a big challenge in the education sector. It involves buying expensive hardware and management software to handle the increasing number of enrolling students and traffic hikes. Also, institutions set up classrooms, libraries, hostels, etc.

Besides, these established resources are underutilized when scaling down. An effective cloud-native solution that offers scalability in times of heavy traffic can help solve this problem. A renowned school was facing a similar kind of problem, Minfy designed a cloud-based highly scalable solution to handle the heavy traffic demands during admission times and purge the downtime and expenses involved.

The flexibility of cloud computing makes it the revolutionary solution for education field that learning institutions need. It allows scaling down or up with little or no effect on human resources, IT infrastructure, and physical structures. As mentioned, you only pay the cloud service providers for what you use at that time. That means there will be no underutilization when you scale down during a low activity period. You also don’t have to experience overload during peak usage or due to high traffic experienced during assignment submissions and training registrations.

4. Enhanced data security through virtual applications

Educational institutions are adversely affected by data breaches due to cyber attacks. This problem is even more rampant when you host your servers and computing system locally. Many institutions report data breaches when they experience such attacks. Locally-hosted systems can also be affected by a power outage or server-related problems. Such unpredictable factors can adversely affect learning.

Cloud computing makes education systems more stable. Institutions can offer uninterrupted distance learning services through the cloud and maintain data integrity by using virtual applications such as virtual private network (VPN). The Government of Manipur’s Department of IT were facing security issues with their on-premise data storage, we helped them migrate their mission-critical workloads to AWS Cloud to optimize costs and achieve scalable compute and storage in the cloud using Amazon EC2 and Amazon VPC.

VPN protocols such as IKEv2 automatically encrypt the outgoing data. No one can intercept or alter the information in transit, which means students or the intended target get uncompromised data. Besides, students can also protect their login credentials and other personal information when they use cloud applications.

5. Wide reach to diverse learners through cloud

Diversity is another factor that educational institutions should consider seriously. Many students are locked out because they cannot afford to attend the brick-and-mortar classrooms. That can be due to finances or fear of stigmatization. For example, some adults who unfortunately dropped out of school fear enrolling again to attain their academic mileage for fear of sharing a classroom with children. Besides, they may be committed to responsibilities.

The good news is that cloud computing makes educational institutions take their learning services to potential learners. The distance barrier no longer exists for those already using cloud services. Regardless of age and distance, learners can enroll and attend classes online without the fear of stigmatization or discrimination.

6. Up-to-date learning syllabus available in the cloud

Students may use outdated learning materials because the budget for buying new textbooks is beyond their reach. Technological advancement and redrawing of administrative boundaries make most learning materials obsolete in just a few years. Learning materials published about 5 years ago may have one or more concepts they present inaccurate.

It is less expensive and easy to update the learning materials in real-time when you move to the cloud. That means students always have access to the up-to-date information.

7. Cloud made education affordable

Every student who joins any educational institution receives a long list of textbooks and other learning materials to buy. These are expensive and push parents or guidance to the edge. Some cannot even afford them. Besides, the boarding and tuition fees are usually high because of the complex logistics involved in offering learning services physically.

With cloud computing, learning resources are uploaded to the cloud and accessible to all registered students cost-free. eBooks and e-textbooks can be accessed remotely on almost every internet-connected device. That reduces the learning cost in various institutions that migrate to the cloud.

Why you need Cloud in Education?

Cloud computing is changing education in many ways. It benefits institutions and students, which makes it a powerful tool to advance learning. Adopting cloud computing ensures universal accessibility of learning services, which also reach more diverse students. It is a reliable technology for digital transformation that learning institutions need to cost-effectively and efficiently offer their training programs.

Cloud computing made it possible to cut down the yearly expenses of buying and commissioning IT infrastructure. Now, all learning resources are in the cloud such as virtual classrooms, software, and textbooks, and, are accessible to every student connected to the internet. Distance learning is now possible and available to learners worldwide. Its flexibility and scalability has made it the present and the next big thing.  Schools, colleges, universities, and other learning institutions are embracing cloud for the technology benefits if offers and learners worldwide embrace it for its convenience. Nothing appeals to them as the access to all the learning materials at their fingertips and achieving the academic milestone remotely. Learning institutions that already use cloud computing services are more immune to future changes, and their success is almost guaranteed.

The verdict

The cloud technology is still a new subject for many educational institutes that had to rush to using it due to the need of hour in pandemic. Considering this as an opportunity to learn more about cloud computing will only help the education fields to get the maximum benefits of cloud and flourish significantly in future. Having an expert by your side to easy understand how cloud can help your school, college or university grow more is always an add-on.

Till date, we have helped many educational organizations, coaching and teaching institutes to adopt cloud and supported them in understanding why they need cloud in today’s digital world. To know how we can help you, talk to Minfy’s cloud experts.

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Blog | CIOs and CTOs: Know these Cloud Computing Security Basics, Challenges and Best Practices

CIOs and CTOs: Know these Cloud Computing Security Basics, Challenges and Best Practices

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About 83% of the firms confirm data security in cloud computing environments as the top concern, according to Statista's analysis of enterprise’s cloud computing difficulties from 2019 to 2022. The biggest obstacles in cloud security settings, in their opinion, are controlling expenses, governance, and a lack of personnel or knowledge.

Today, cyber security is a prime concern for businesses. It is of utmost importance to invest in cyber security as your business data is exposed to threats in many ways. But, it gets economical challenging for many organizations to hire a security expert or a chief information security officer (CISO) exclusively for cyber security. In most of the businesses, the CIOs and CTOs are at the frontline to streamline the business operations and solving the rising business challenges. Even CIOs and CTOs seem to overlook the role of cyber security businesses as they may not be knowledgeable of this requirement for smooth business operations or fully aware of the side effects of ignoring it.

Today's CTOs and CIOs have far more responsibilities than they did in the past, their duties and responsibilities are getting more challenging and tougher than ever as more businesses across the world are adopting cloud computing and cloud-based technologies. That’s why it is mandatory for CIOs and CTOs to understand the importance of cloud security, its basics, challenges and best practices, to attain better reliability in business with measurable results.

What is Cloud Security?

Cloud Security is the security mechanisms (policies, technologies, tools, services and controls) that protect the infrastructure, apps, and data housed in the cloud from violations. Data and resource access management, privacy protection, and user and device authentication are all ensured by these security procedures. Cloud security is more about utilizing a cloud safely.

Additionally, cloud security enables firms to be ready for future limitations, which demand compliance with international legal requirements like the GDPR. For instance, businesses must ensure that the cloud is designed with the right architecture in-line with the recommended security/privacy policies, failing to do so may lead to data breaches and significant losses.

Cloud security is a critical aspect that focuses on safeguarding data and corporate material such as client orders, top-secret design blueprints, and financial records. Maintaining your clients' trust and securing the resources that support your competitive edge depend on your ability to prevent leaks and data theft. Cloud security must be of top priority for any business moving to the cloud as it protects your company's data and assets.

Cloud Security Basics every CIO and CTO must know

1. Cyber security insurance is not sufficient

Businesses are learning to understand that cyber security insurance alone won't protect them against all kinds of threats. Attacks by ransom ware are happening more often, and demand is growing. What's more, a "double ransom"—a further payment requested for not disclosing the stolen data—is frequently added to the "single" ransom required to encrypt data. Even worse, they might add a "triple ransom" that specifically targets the people whose data was taken.

2. Selecting a cloud provider as per business needs

You must pick a cloud services provider with the greatest security measures and tools to support your business needs. The most chosen cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. However, there are other additional cloud service providers, such as IBM and Oracle.

3. Cloud may not be a complete security solution

Modern cloud migration methods relieve on-premise systems of some of their workload, but this cannot assure a complete security solution. In reality, there are several instances in real-time where alone cloud solutions were not found meeting the purpose of data security fully. As a result, the decision to move mission-critical data to the cloud is never settled. Many businesses do this by keeping their mission-critical data in their data centers.

4. Basic services are insufficient

Basic cloud services only offer minimal protection that falls well short of what businesses need. Because they represent additional income streams and because clients want reliable solutions, cloud suppliers provide value-added security services.

6 Cloud Security Challenges before CIOs and CTOs in 2022

The lack of distinct perimeters in the public cloud creates a fundamentally different security reality. Adopting contemporary cloud strategies such as automated Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) techniques, distributed server less architectures, and transient assets like functions-as-a-service and containers makes this even more difficult. The various layers of risk and sophisticated cloud-native security concerns that today's cloud-oriented enterprises CTOs and CIOs are dealing with include:

1. Expanded area for data hijack

Hackers now use the public cloud environment as a sizable and very appealing attack surface by taking the advantage of unsecured cloud ingress ports to gain access and disrupt workloads and data in the cloud. Numerous hostile threats, including malware, zero-day vulnerabilities, account takeovers, and others, are now widespread.

2. Automation and Devops, DevSecOps

Businesses that have adopted the highly automated Devops CI/CD culture must make sure that the right security measures are followed and included in code and templates early in the development cycle. Following the deployment of a workload in production, security-related modifications might compromise the organization’s security posture and increase time to the market.

3. Environmental complexities

In today's hybrid and multi-cloud environments, which are the environments of choice for businesses, managing security requires techniques and tools that operate without issues across the private cloud providers, public cloud providers, and on-premise deployments—including branch office edge protection for geographically dispersed organizations.

4. External data sharing

Numerous clients, vendors, and other stakeholders frequently want data to be provided. You must establish security procedures to make sure that data packets are not intercepted and utilized inappropriately as the data is exposed to a largely external conduit.

5. Dearth of control and visibility to cloud

The infrastructure layer is completely under the control of the cloud providers and is not made available to the users under the IaaS model. In the PaaS and SaaS cloud models, the absence of visibility and control is even more pronounced. Customers of cloud services frequently struggle to accurately identify measure and visualize their cloud assets and environments.

6. Poor interfaces

Hackers and online attackers may get access to your infrastructure through weak or insecure interfaces, such as APIs that permit connections from the third-party apps. Outsiders can take advantage of these paths to steal data, change it, and launch a denial-of-service attack.

6 Best Practices to Establish Powerful Cloud Security

In spite of the fact that cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure (Azure), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offer a number of cloud-native security features and services, supplemental third-party solutions are necessary to achieve enterprise-grade cloud workload protection from security breaches, data leaks, and targeted attacks in the cloud environment. The following best practices can help build a powerful cloud security mechanism.

1. Setting additional data protection

Improved data security can be achieved with encryption at all transport layers, safe file sharing and communications, ongoing risk management for compliance, and upkeep of excellent data storage resource hygiene, such as spotting mis-configured buckets and deleting orphan resources.

2. Controlling IAM and authentication across complicated infrastructures

To make updating IAM definitions easier when business needs change, work with groups and roles rather than individuals. Allow just the assets and APIs that are required for a group or role to carry out its obligations. The higher the degrees of authentication, the greater are the scope of privileges. Also, don't forget about proper IAM hygiene, such as implementing strong password standards and authorization time-outs.

3. Applying virtual server security regulations

Strong Cloud Security Posture Management is offered by cloud security companies, which consistently apply governance and compliance standards and templates when creating virtual servers, audit for configuration deviations, and, wherever needed, takes automated corrective action to fix the issues.

4. Zero-trust network security for the cloud

Business-critical resources and apps should be deployed in logically separated areas of the cloud network of the provider, such as virtual private clouds, AWS, Google, or Azure. Utilise subnets to micro-segment workloads from one another, and use subnet gateways to enforce granular security controls. Use dedicated WAN lines in hybrid architectures, and alter access to virtual devices, virtual networks, and their gateways, as well as public IP addresses, with static user-defined routing settings.

5. Threat intelligence

By intelligently comparing aggregated log data with internal data from asset and configuration management systems, vulnerability scanners, external data from public threat intelligence feeds, location, databases; a third-party cloud security vendors add context to the numerous and varied streams of cloud-native logs. Additionally, AI-based anomaly detection techniques help to identify unknown threats. These threats are then subjected to forensics investigation to assess their risk profile. Time to remediation is shortened by real-time notifications on intrusions and policy breaches; in certain cases, these alerts even start auto-remediation operations.

6. Application security

The WAF rules are automatically updated in response to changes in traffic behavior, and it is installed closer to the micro-services that are carrying out workloads. This will granularly examine and manage traffic to and from web application servers.

Conclusion

Modern cloud tools and technology have helped organizations become more sophisticated and data-driven than before. Every second and piece of data is critical in the corporate world of today in order to make wise choices and outperform rivals. As a market leader in cloud services, we assist companies in choosing the best strategy, operating model, and road map by fusing our extensive business and industry knowledge with current insights.

Do you have cloud security concerns? Contact us today and learn more about how we can help your company.

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Blog | Migrating to Cloud: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Trustworthy Cloud Services Provider

Migrating to Cloud: 6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Trustworthy Cloud Services Provider

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Moving business operations to the cloud can reduce costs, speed up workflow, and do away with the need for in-house IT infrastructure and resources. Strong cloud providers can also help distant workers cooperate online, report for duty, and have secure access to vital data. To support infrastructure (servers, storage, databases, networking, etc.), software, or services that offer flexibility, performance, scalability, innovation, and cost savings, businesses today rely on cloud services.

The worldwide pandemic has hastened digital transformation, with 90% of enterprises reporting increased cloud usage as a result of COVID-19 to enable distant work, satisfy the demand for tailored customer experiences, and ensure system uptime. Gartner believes that public cloud investment would approach 45% of total IT spending by 2026, up from 17% in 2021.

How to Pick a Trustworthy Cloud Services Provider

It's simple: data needs security, thus cloud service providers must ensure their security requirements are high. Cloud service providers must adhere to key industry certifications, such as ISO 27001 or other government-initiated cyber essentials schemes. The finest data governance method, backed by a structured service support procedure, continues to be the linchpin of the cloud service provider’s selection.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

There are several certifications and standards available in the market that ensure the data management operations of cloud providers are streamlined. Businesses must map their industry-specific security requirements and choose the relevant certifications. It is critical that suppliers meticulously organize their resources and support services, assuring continual adherence to the needed certifications and standards.

It's possible that you already have a system in place for classifying data that outlines different data categories based on their sensitivity and/or sets rules for where the data is stored. You should at the very least be familiar with the legal or data privacy requirements that apply to personal data.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

In light of this, the location in which your data is stored and the consequent local legislation to which it is subject can play a significant role in the decision-making process. If you have particular needs and duties, you should search for service providers who provide you a choice and control over the location where your data is kept, handled, and controlled. Although cloud service providers should be open and honest about where their data centers are located, it is your job to do your own research.

Check to see if the provider's platform and technology selections are appropriate for your current environment and/or achieve your cloud goals. Do the cloud architectures, standards, and services offered by the provider align with the workloads you have and how you wish to manage them? To make your workloads platform-ready, figure out how much customization is needed.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

A lot of service providers offer comprehensive migration services, including evaluation and planning assistance. Make sure you have a firm grasp of the support that is available, align it with the tasks of the project, and decide who will do what. Service providers typically offer technical staff that can bridge gaps in your migration teams' skill sets.

Choosing the best package needs to be a priority because moving to the cloud is neither simple nor inexpensive. It is advised to pre-define the budget for creating the cloud infrastructure and to adhere to the pre-established comparative standards. All cloud service providers need to be evaluated based on the various price plans and licenses once the company demands have been carefully mapped out.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

Due to the various pricing schemes and discount systems used by the suppliers, it is challenging to compare prices across them accurately. But it's crucial to look for clarity in pricing strategies. Most respectable cloud service providers typically give free trial periods and online pricing estimators so that companies can "test before they buy." And without a question, this is the ideal place to begin.

You can assess a service provider's dependability in a number of ways. First, compare the service provider's performance over the last 6–12 months against their SLAs. While some service providers make this information available, others need to do so upon request. Expecting perfection is unrealistic because any cloud service may occasionally encounter outages. What matters is how the supplier handles the outage.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

Make sure that the available tools for monitoring and reporting are adequate and compatible with your overall management and reporting systems. Make sure that the service provider you choose has developed, documented, and tested procedures for handling scheduled and unscheduled downtime. They should have procedures and strategies in place that detail how they intend to get in touch with consumers during times of interruption, including how to prioritize concerns, communicate on time, and gauge their seriousness. When service faults occur, be aware of the remedies and liability restrictions provided by the cloud provider.

Vendor lock-in occurs when a client who uses a product or service finds it difficult to switch to a rival. Usually, proprietary technologies that are incompatible with those of rivals lead to vendor lock-in. However, among other things, it can also be brought on by ineffective procedures or contractual restrictions.

What to consider when choosing the right cloud services provider

By minimizing the usage of services that restrict your capacity to move or switch providers, you can reduce the danger of vendor lock-in and ensure that your selected provider uses the least amount of proprietary technology. In order to reduce the danger of lock-in, it is ideal to choose value-added services that have equally effective and affordable alternatives in the market.

Importance of Certified Cloud Partner

Working with the certified cloud partners can bring a lot of difference in your cloud journey as compared to others. Being certified partners can make them bring special deals, discounts and offers that your organization can get benefited from and may not be available in market. In addition, you get to optimize your spending, extended support, experts advisory, more flexibility and much more.

 

Benefits of moving to cloud with certified cloud partner

Saving money is made simpler by AWS' pay-as-you-go approach, but cost optimization to its fullest extent necessitates the continuous observation of the resources being utilized and their usage patterns. A competent partner can assess your total cost of ownership (TCO) and make sure you aren't spending money on resources that you don't actually require.

Benefits: For instance, a certified AWS partner offers a thorough Cloud Foundation solution that reduces expenses and increases clarity about exactly where your money is being spent.

In order to retain the availability and performance your users or customers have come to expect from your website or apps when you migrate to AWS, you must consider what data and applications to move and how.

Benefit: certified partner will implement an AWS Migration Acceleration Program to ensure that the procedure satisfies both your business and your technological needs, laying the groundwork for a successful migration.

You will experience the advantages of your relocation more quickly with the assistance of a partner. We've seen that migrations with a partner typically proceed 25% more quickly than those carried out alone and also produce greater business results. The entire organization can more easily transition to the AWS platform with a shorter migration period.

Nearly 500,000 cybersecurity experts are needed globally, according to a survey by the international cybersecurity professional association (ISC)2, which revealed that nearly two-thirds of respondents felt their business's cybersecurity personnel were understaffed. The cost of employing an internal security staff might be exorbitant given this demand.

Benefit: You can hire a team of security specialists through an AWS partner for less than the salary of a full-time employee.

Conclusion

Lack of preparation, ignoring to consider the needs of the company, not evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of various cloud service providers, and not having skilled expertise to develop for the cloud today, are some of the most common reasons behind cloud migration failure in many organizations. Many of these typical cloud failure issues are solvable with the assistance of a trustworthy cloud partner. The finest cloud service provider is one who can adapt to even the most unusual and complex business requirements. A cloud strategy is essential, but it's also critical that the cloud journey plan shall be loaded with clearly defined execution milestones and unmistakable business objectives.

Till date, many organizations got benefited from our cloud native solutions and products with active support from our panel of cloud experts in solving their complicated business challenges, building a comprehensive cloud based system for their business operations and achieved measurable outcomes within planned budget. Do you have a cloud questions? Contact us today and learn more about how we can help your company.

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Blog | Financial Operations/FinOps: A Solution to your Cloud Financial Management Problems

Financial Operations/FinOps: A Solution to your Cloud Financial Management Problems

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Cloud environments are inherently complex, and with rapid cloud adoption, organizations struggle to regulate cloud costs and get their ROI correct. FinOps or financial operations addresses the issue by enabling spend optimization and bringing financial accountability to the variable spend model of the cloud. The enterprise IT spending on cloud adoption is witnessing an accelerating shift to the cloud.

Gartner says the worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services in 2022 is forecast to grow to total $494.7 billion i.e. by 20.4% up from $410.9 billion in 2021. The end-user spending in 2023 is expected to reach $600 billion approximately. The accelerating shift to the cloud stems from the promise of improved productivity and competitive gains. Leading cloud service providers include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud. All cater to businesses from small to medium to large enterprises. While organizations hop on to the cloud bandwagon, they realize challenges in regulating their cloud costs and achieving the correct return on investments with rapidly expanding cloud services and their use.

Cloud spending is becoming a more prominent and visible cost component in quarterly financial reports of organizations, irrespective of size. Questions arise on efficient management of cloud utilization costs and ensuring that it is money wisely spent, and providing planned ROI.

Role of FinOps in tracking Cloud Financial Accountability

Cloud accounting or FinOps helps address the extravagant cloud spend issue enabling spend optimization and cloud spending using operational practices and necessary tools. Today FinOps is an effective means to manage cloud financial operations, cloud financial management, or cloud cost optimizations. It is a cloud operation model that consolidates finance and IT by guiding to profitable cloud operations through processes and practices that provide visibility into cloud resources. With proper implementation, FinOps uses the right cloud accounting tools and approach to provide considerable cost savings, efficient resource utilization, and billing transparency.

Let us take a closer look at some challenges with the cloud and why FinOps or Cloud Accounting is essential today.

Challenges with Cloud Cost Accounting

Firms usually transition from fixed-priced data centers to cloud solutions that are usage-based and adaptive for additional core computing services resulting in a new set of problems. Some of such challenges are as follows:

Cloud spending is less predictable and variable when computing resources are required with options of on-demand scalability. It becomes time-consuming and challenging to comprehend the large volume of data on cloud prices and invoices.
For example, AWS offers Reserved Instances (RIs) in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Duration of reservation and amount of upfront payment are vital components. Between their one-year or three-year commitment options, a longer commitment period offers higher discounts with an upfront payment. With upfront payment, you are pre-paying for three years. But using accrual accounting, the finance teams cannot consider the entire three-year payment as operating expenses for the first year. One needs to capitalize the three years of payments and amortize them over the 36 months. Finance departments need to use appropriate accrual methods or have misrepresentations in their financial statements.
FinOps approach has solutions to track, predict, and optimize cloud costs accurately.
Engineers focus on their special technical delivery, making financial decisions that might be steering away from the established economic and purchasing processes. FinOps helps to implement accountability for all the cloud costs.
Cloud costs must be updated, transparent in associating with the correct departments, and deliver commercial value for success. The need is for economics at the unit level along with real-time inputs and responses for business cases.
Optimizing cloud resources has to be a regular activity, and the expense management activity covers various techniques. Technical experts need to get a centralized view and work on optimizing cloud resources accordingly.
Organizations pursue multi-cloud strategies and may take various packages from different cloud providers. Standardization and consolidation of cloud costs into a single reference source can be challenging.
Cloud FinOps helps increase financial accountability in the cloud's variable expenditure model among disparate teams delivering business efficiency. It enhances cloud expenditures' administration and cost management by establishing and facilitating real-time and efficient control.

Why FinOps?

Cloud infrastructure technologies are significantly different from the familiar on-premises technology infrastructure. Organizations typically use the tried and tested financial model that involves purchasing resources and depreciating and amortizing them over the years. Using a FinOps model, there is a paradigm shift in the company's perspective that focuses on operational expenses of using cloud resources by by-the-minute.

Unlike on-premise solutions with memory space limitations, the cloud offers scalable on-demand memory resources with varying pay-as-you-go usage that risks exhausting allocated financial resources. IT engineers must proactively plan software projects and consider cloud costs a top-class performance indicator.

FinOps is becoming a widely accepted industry practice as firms realize the criticality of driving optimal value from their cloud investments that help boost business outcomes and ROIs.

Getting a grip on cloud cost optimization

As cloud computing costs rise yearly, organizations and their leadership need a proper explanation that demonstrates sound cloud knowledge and justifies the costs. A well-planned implementation of a cloud spend optimization strategy using FinOps can help an organization leverage the benefits of the cloud at optimal prices.

Visibility to Cloud Spends

Having visibility across cloud resources and activities for even the most sensitive environments with a comprehensive solution can help attain immediate cost savings. From analyzing your cloud billing, cloud cost drivers, generating alerts on cloud cost budgets to keeping your cloud spending in check by controlling cloud access and recommending actions for cost optimization – Swayam does it all for you. From small-sized organizations to public sector to large-sized enterprises Minfy customers deploy Swayam for optimizing, governing and managing the most complex cloud infrastructures.

To learn more about FinOps, sign up for a free consultation. We can help you manage cloud finances with FinOps solutions at a 50% discounted cost, sign up know-how.

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