What is Cloud Integration?
Cloud integration refers to the process of connecting different cloud-based applications, services, and systems to create a seamless workflow. This process also refers to joining cloud-based and on-premises/ local systems to create a ubiquitous environment.
This process can be used for various purposes, such as connecting customer relationship management (CRM) systems to marketing automation platforms, integrating e-commerce platforms with shipping and fulfillment services, and connecting financial systems to cloud-based accounting software.
Why Use Cloud Integration?
The primary purpose of cloud integration is to enable different applications to communicate with each other and share data, making it easier for users to manage and access information. Overall, it is a powerful tool that can help businesses improve their operational efficiency.
Other benefits of cloud integration include:
- Reduced operational costs
- Accelerated time-to-market
- Improved customer experience
- Better internal communication
- Minimize human error
Cloud integration has become popular as more businesses adopt a hybrid approach, using a combination of SaaS and on-premises applications. This has created a greater demand for modern cloud data integration techniques that can effectively and securely connect these disparate systems.
Types of Cloud Integration
In cloud computing, integration can be achieved by creating connections between cloud-based applications, on-premises applications, or a combination of both. These integrations can address various business components, including data and applications.
Cloud Data Integration
Cloud Data Integration combines data from various sources and stores it in a single data repository. It involves extracting data from disparate sources, transforming it into a unified format, and loading it into a cloud-based data warehouse or data lake for further analysis.
Cloud Application Integration
Cloud Application Integration connects two or more different cloud-based applications to facilitate seamless data exchange and communication between the applications. It involves integrating various applications and services to create a unified system that can perform complex business processes.
Which One is Better?
Deciding between data integration and application integration is determined on a case-by-case basis. The two are quite similar in their functionality, with the main difference being the downstream applications that are usually involved and the teams that have access to those applications.
Consider how you want to treat your data with these questions:
- Which data do you want to move?
- When do you want to move that data?
- How much data do you want to move?
- What do you want to accomplish with that data?
Data integration is done in large batches, only a few times a day, whereas application integration transports smaller data sets in real-time, instantaneously.
Data Integration vs Application Integration
The primary goal of data integration is to provide a consolidated view of data, which can be used for better decision-making. Data integration combines and analyzes static data to ensure quality and remove redundancies. This method is used to integrate massive data sets across multiple databases and applications to ensure all data is accessible and reliable.
The primary goal of application integration is to improve business agility by enhancing workflows and providing real-time reporting. Application integration involves applications sharing requests, commands, and other mechanisms to trigger business activities. It facilitates instantaneous access to the same information for people across the organization, regardless of whether the information is being updated from different locations.
Cloud Integration Challenges
As mentioned above, integrating business into the cloud has become popular for various benefits. However, those benefits do not eliminate the possible challenges with the integration process. Below are some common challenges to be aware of.
1. Data Security
Although the cloud is generally considered more secure than on-premises solutions, it is still important to have a comprehensive cloud security solution that includes user authentication and authorization, data encryption, and data backup and recovery.
2. Network Latency
Cloud environments are preferred for their scalability, but high network latency limits their effectiveness and puts a firm cap on the data integration workloads that can run. Hybrid clouds that use wide-area networks (WANs) instead of local-area networks (LANs) may become clogged. Organizations can address this challenge by designing efficient cloud data integration architectures or by using software agents to compress data and limit communications.
3. Lack of Standardization
Various components of cloud platforms, applications, and resources use different data schemas and formats to interact with one another.
Data protection regulations including GDPR, CCPR, and HIPAA continue to multiply. Compliance with these regulations involves adhering to all the standards and providing proof of compliance periodically through audits and reporting. Choose a cloud integration platform that gives insight into data sources, usage, and access to ensure compliance and respond to privacy requests efficiently.
5. Choosing the Right Architecture
There are generally three main options for cloud environments:
- A public cloud is a cloud service offered by a third-party provider.
- A private cloud is used solely by a single organization.
- A hybrid cloud combines elements of both public and private clouds.
In addition, many companies may adopt a “multi-cloud” approach, employing multiple cloud providers’ services (e.g., different vendors for cloud computing, storage, and software).
In addition to selecting the appropriate cloud architecture, you must strike the right balance between cloud and on-premises solutions. Legacy systems may need to remain on-premises, requiring seamless integration between environments. Because of this, it’s recommended to choose a cloud integration solution that can operate on public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises infrastructure.
Ready to Integrate Your Business Into the Cloud?
Choosing a third-party provider like IP Pathways to integrate your business into the cloud can give you peace of mind that your data is in good hands. At IP Pathways, we provide a consultant-led approach to tackle all the considerations and steps of cloud integration. Our team of IT consultants and engineers take the time to listen to your goals, and then work to design, implement, monitor, support, and manage custom solutions that help you achieve them. We understand that every business is unique, and we strive to become a strategic technology partner that can truly understand your needs.
At IP Pathways, we understand how difficult it is to scale on your own. But what if you could move past the issues currently holding you back? Good news–you can! We identify opportunities in your organization to leverage technology to spark greater growth starting now. Our tailored solutions turn IT into a strategic investment rather than a cost center. With the right tech, you can move faster, innovate, and gain a competitive edge.
Our engineers have deep technical expertise and experience. They architect, implement, monitor, support, and manage custom technology solutions for organizations using only the highest-quality and best-in-class systems. As a result, projects are completed on time and within budget, ready to deliver the results you need to fuel your organization forward. Contact Us