Cloud, Security, and Innovation: Debunking the Myth that Cloud is Only for Large Enterprises

Are you under the impression that the cloud is only for large companies? Troy Collison, CIO of Weinstein Properties, is here to bust that myth! Troy’s organization successfully migrated to the cloud despite being a smaller company with limited resources.  Now, he and his team are benefiting operationally.

Weinstein Properties manages over 60 properties but has faced downtime and stability issues in the past due to classic situations, such as aging hardware and networking issues like the dreaded spanning tree protocol failures. Moving to the cloud was seen as a solution to these issues and provided access to knowledgeable staff and resources. As a smaller organization, Weinstein Properties did not have the expertise or resources to manage a tier-one data center. Cloud providers offer better stability and security services that are difficult to match for on-premises data centers. Different cloud providers offer different levels of services at different prices, so it’s important to think about it from a capex versus operating expense perspective.

Cloud services offer increased foundational stability and security, which can benefit the business operationally and eliminate concerns about maintenance tasks such as fire suppression testing or infrastructure validation. Using a managed service provider allows the company to focus on critical aspects, such as the security of infrastructure and services. For example, the company uses tablets for teamwork and navigation. With the support of a managed service provider, they can focus on the security of the tablets and use a mobile device management platform.

By having a managed service provider take care of core components like edge routers, infrastructure security, and patching, the company can focus on more specific targets to improve operations. An in-depth analysis was conducted to evaluate various capabilities within the infrastructure. They partnered with a technology vendor to structure the implementation of each component and validate it through testing. The move to the cloud was done in phases over time, with validation and consideration of dependencies and edge cases. They chose Azure as their cloud provider because it made sense to continue and support their existing Microsoft infrastructure, and they have had good success and stability with it. Troy notes that Azure’s services are valuable for a smaller organization that may not have the resources for deep technical troubleshooting. The organization plans to continue exploring and learning about other Azure services, including better infrastructure management, monitoring, logging, and security.

Leadership consistently thinks about what makes sense for growth and the ability to respond quickly. Cloud technology provides stability and support for growth and operational perspective. Spend time reading and researching major cloud providers and their capabilities, analyze the technical perspective of cloud migration, and consider how to approach the business message of changing how IT budgets and spends money to avoid spikes in Capex expenditures.

Cloud migration can benefit IT and the business by moving towards a well-supported and proven technology direction. In Azure, the network security groups are set up to be locked down by default, requiring identifying specific resources and services to open up. This approach ensures that only the necessary pieces are opened up externally and not everything, which differs from traditional network security. There are many aspects of external router management, such as updates and patching, that are taken care of by cloud dynamics. Azure’s setup guides users to err on the side of more security than less security.

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