Validating applications as cloud compatible with security, testing

How can I ensure apps are cloud compatible?

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A lot of attention goes to choosing which applications to deploy in the cloud, but beyond this, companies need to devote time to securing and testing apps to ensure what works on-premises will work just as effectively in a cloud environment.

Applications may be validated as cloud compatible, but remember that in all forms of cloud computing, physical security is lost because the application and its data reside in someone else's data center.

The applications you choose to migrate to the cloud may include confidential information of all types, including encryption keys and log-in information for intercomponent exchanges -- even confidential data coded as an internal table. This information will have to be secured in some way before the application is migrated.

It's also important to verify that any management and compliance practices that depend on exercising management interfaces that are part of an application will still run when the application is moved to the cloud.

Finally, all of your application lifecycle management practices, but especially deployment and redeployment practices, will need to be updated to reflect that the application is hosted in the cloud. This is particularly true where an application is accessed by other applications via an application programming interface (API).

When it's time to deploy an application, the process must proceed in a way that minimizes risks and validates both business and technical assumptions in an appropriate way. Most companies will run a technical pilot that tests the interfaces of the application, the management of the components and their performance, and the integration of the application with users and other applications and databases.

This is also the first place where it's possible to test cost assumptions by linking accumulated costs to data and CPU usage.

The technical pilot would normally be followed by a functional pilot or field test to validate the performance of the application as well as the cost assumptions at scale. Only when this has been done would the application be considered ready for production.

The steps may sound tedious, but over the long run following them can save you headaches in proving your business case and sustaining worker productivity.

About the author:
Tom Nolle is president of CIMI Corp., a strategic consulting firm specializing in telecommunications and data communications since 1982.

This was first published in August 2013

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