When software providers seek a cloud provider

vom 15.01.2021

14.12.2020 I by Marie-Kristin Barkei / Elke Witmer-Goßner

In the course of the GDPR, archiving and deletion obligations are a topic that companies from a wide range of industries have to deal with. SMEs in particular are challenged to digitize processes on the one hand and to meet the legal requirements without legal background knowledge on the other.

In this context, the question also arises for email and document archiving as to whether the operation of an independently managed archiving solution or a cloud-based software-as-a-service variant is the right choice for one's own company. SaaS models are particularly useful when workload and storage capacities need to be adaptable at will or companies want to gradually approach digital archiving solutions and therefore prefer a fast introduction and a flexible pricing model.

However, software providers of such solutions must also first decide on a suitable cloud infrastructure, as the example of archiving specialist Inoxision and its cloud offering inoxisionNOW shows.

Demand determines supply

On-premises solutions are traditionally installed on the company's own servers and were the usual approach for a long time, especially for archiving services, due to data security concerns. This meant that the data was not passed on to third parties and remained within the company itself. However, due to the additional effort involved in maintaining and servicing the systems themselves and the associated need for a dedicated IT department, more and more medium-sized companies are becoming interested in comparatively low-effort, cloud-based solutions. Due to the increased demand and in order not to lose the technological connection, software providers must therefore create attractive alternatives to their traditional license business today.

Inoxision GmbH from Neuenmarkt in Upper Franconia, Germany, also felt the demand from customers and decided to make its email and document software available from the cloud under the new inoxisionNOW brand. To implement this delivery model, software companies can turn to appropriately specialized IaaS and PaaS providers, via whose cloud infrastructure modern SaaS offerings can be realized and operated.

The right cloud provider: Spoilt for choice

When looking for the right provider, the first glance usually falls on the global hyperscalers. However, large providers, often based in the USA, work with maximum standardization and cannot offer the support and customer proximity that medium-sized companies without specialized IT staff need for trouble-free operation. The familiar problem of a lack of individuality and service support therefore quickly arises here. Due to the high complexity of these platforms, the lack of support is particularly severe here.

In order to be able to react to the demand for cloud alternatives with already existing software offers, IaaS providers specialized in medium-sized businesses with a high service level are therefore usually the more sensible choice. Inoxision opted for the cloud offering of gridscale GmbH from Cologne. Thanks to the open architecture and an easy-to-use, web-based click configuration, the migration of applications to the cloud is particularly straightforward to implement and ongoing IT operations can be managed without any special IT expertise. InoxisionNOW has since been operated on the basis of the gridscale platform.

Both versions of the Inoxision archiving software, whether installed locally or used as a cloud service, are almost identical from the user's point of view and are operated via the same user interface. So if the end customer decides to move his archiving processes to the cloud, the same high level of user-friendliness is guaranteed right from the start, without any functional compromises, even with the SaaS alternative.

Data protection and DSGVO compliance

Due to the legally regulated retention obligations, it will be impossible to imagine companies without easy-to-use and, above all, secure archiving software in the long term. However, especially in view of the data protection and security aspects associated with IT operation in an international cloud, domestic providers such as gridscale with company headquarters and data center operations in Germany tend to be the better alternative for many companies. This is because the German Data Protection Ordinance (DSGVO) and the often particularly strict compliance requirements in Germany at user companies require IT operations at the SaaS provider to be legally compliant and audit-proof.

Of course, this is especially true for the long-term archiving of sensitive business documents and personal data. Violations and problems can also result in high costs and fines, which must be avoided at all costs from the perspective of all companies involved. The Trusted Cloud certification of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) or corresponding ISO security certifications by accredited organizations offer companies valuable decision-making aids in their search for a trustworthy cloud partner.

Flexible storage as a USP

E-mail and document archiving place high demands on data storage. Documents are stored there permanently and e-mails are often moved to the archive immediately. With a high daily volume of electronic mail, cloud solutions are faced with a correspondingly enormous workload. Computing power takes a back seat in such cases, the focus is rather on the available storage in the cloud. This is one of the reasons why cloud solutions make particular sense for this type of software.

IaaS providers allow the storage on offer to scale at will and adapt to an unpredictably larger workload at any time; the maximum capacity is, in a sense, endless. At the same time, it is necessary to be able to quickly filter out and restore specific documents from this mass of archived data, if required, and via particularly powerful retrieval systems. With inoxisionNOW, this is possible almost in real time and with search speeds of well under one second, based on gridscale technology.

 Service and support as the key to success

If companies are planning to make their application available as a software-as-a-service variant, there are a number of things to consider. In addition to the technical selection parameters of the actual platform, this always includes the service and individual support offered by the respective provider - a requirement criterion that is often significantly underestimated. This is because many companies, with their own limited resources and cloud-specific expertise, are dependent here on close and expert support. It is therefore highly recommended that these aspects are also carefully evaluated and individually assessed for the respective company situation before migrating IT operations to the cloud.

The original article in german can be found here.

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