With benefits such as increased accessibility, efficiency, flexibility and scalability, it’s no surprise the marketplace has been adopting cloud in droves. But these benefits of cloud aren’t the only ones that companies experience. Often times, the true value of cloud comes with how it’s implemented and managed, since these aspects set the foundation for innovative use cases.
As cloud has grown both in maturity and popularity, cloud-based reporting features have also emerged to the forefront. Some have even become prerequisites for companies when selecting cloud providers. Here are four reporting features that many increasingly can’t go without:
1. Security log event management
The threat landscape has grown substantially in recent years with the connectivity of mobile devices and the rise of new technologies that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT). While this connectivity is great for user convenience, it also presents increased risk of breaches and data exposure. Network endpoints and devices represent points of vulnerability and possible cyberattacks, so utilizing tools like security information and event management (SIEM) systems to monitor system-wide log data for security risks is essential to a maintaining a secure cloud environment and early detection of possible attacks.
Cybersecurity is an important consideration of any technology adoption, regardless of infrastructure and applications. With cloud being more accessible and faster-moving than legacy alternatives, it’s even more imperative to ensure the security of crucial datasets. Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s) have met these concerns with massive scale and useful technologies that not only serve to secure cloud environments but also give actionable information to IT teams in the management of their systems. One example of this is security log event management, which automates traditional log management to identify unauthorized users.
The more efficiently and accurately IT personnel can review alerts from their log management platforms, the better equipped they will be in identifying and acting upon potential compromises. This is easier said than done, but an effective modern security plan should include the technical and professional capability to apply this strategy.
2. Application performance and infrastructure monitoring
Application performance monitoring (APM) is an exploding area given the proliferation of applications migrating to the cloud. APM’s were around before the cloud became prolific, but the placement of apps in the cloud has fueled the need for better, constant and simultaneous monitoring of applications and cloud infrastructure. Tracking the health of critical applications not only enhances the product release process, but it also guards systems against possible downtime due to bugs or critical failures. A microservices architecture allows APM’s and infrastructure monitoring to supervise the entire stack in real-time, which in turn enables cloud IT teams to identify and isolate problems with code or infrastructure very quickly. Today’s teams need a myriad of reporting features that connect with this area; however, including debugging, root cause analysis, service mapping, alerting, and other useful machine learning-enabled reporting.
APM and infrastructure monitoring keeps an entire organization healthy and functioning. The more an organization capitalizes on the speed and power of the cloud, the more vital these types of tools and reporting are. Both the rising popularity of cloud and the growing practice of DevOps and agile project management now enable organizations to rapidly deliver new product releases, which means organizations can more quickly respond to the needs of their customers.
3. SaaS platform for system efficiency of the environment
Many Cloud Service Providers (CSP’s) have difficult-to-manage native consoles and related reporting that can generate invoices. However, these invoices can be hundreds of pages long, difficult to decipher, and hard to view consumed services and related costs to act upon potential savings. Additionally, many customers have now adopted multi-cloud strategies creating added complexity in reviewing performance, costs and compliance. These challenges can now be handled by a number of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) companies, which have streamlined expense, governance, and other data into a single pane of glass to simplify management and give users improved visibility of their multi-cloud performance. Depending on the platform, users often receive insights into recoverability metrics, testing certificates for proof to auditors, and clone management platforms for duplicating VMs or making changes in a controlled environment.
With the right platform, users and managed service providers gain a holistic view of everything, even with multiple clouds running and several workloads to keep track of. Having this all-in-one location for analytics, predictive metrics, current spending and other relative insights means users can gain business intelligence to make educated decisions for the organization. As you can imagine, this helps to make cloud a valuable resource for IT and business leaders alike.
4. Voice of the customer
One common trait of any successful business is being able to understand customers and adapt to meet their needs. The best organizations have upended their industries all together by paying close attention to customer personas and desires for convenience. Increasingly, organizations want to utilize their customers’ unstructured feedback, be it text-based or non-text based, to help understand their customers’ needs and attitudes. Take the rise of app-based ridesharing for example.
As market pressures drive companies to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics more and more, cloud has increased the ability of these technologies. Now, we’ve reached the point of being able to do “voice of customer” analysis, which further enables companies to more accurately track and measure customer behaviors. This type of reporting can be done in both automated and text-based analysis. Increasingly, doing “voice of customer” analysis helps organizations fully understand their customer needs, which leads to improvements – even radical innovations – in what organizations ultimately deliver to the marketplace to better serve their customers.
Finding the Right Fit
With employees all over the world using a variety of devices, the need for agility and accessibility has never been so urgent. These demands, paired with increased functionality and more consistent reporting requirements across industries, have given cloud even more of a foothold on modern business.
A good place to look when determining which cloud environment and infrastructure posture is the best fit for an organization is a strategic service provider (SSP). Partnering with an SSP allows you to identify the most valuable data for analysis that will result in the most impactful reports.