Home Business Insights & Advice Ensuring a smooth and effective edge deployment in the cloud

Ensuring a smooth and effective edge deployment in the cloud

by Sarah Dunsby
19th Apr 24 10:08 am

Cloud computing isn’t some sort of fad or limited to a few select industries—the ability to access a range of computing services, including databases, data storage, and servers, has applications in almost any industry, from retail to healthcare and finances.

However, even with all of the benefits businesses get by moving to the cloud, there are limitations and what they can accomplish. This is when a successful Edge deployment can help push innovation even further. Successfully navigating edge deployments in the cloud doesn’t require an IT degree, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow.

Steps for ensuring an effective edge deployment

Even though Edge deployment in the cloud isn’t difficult, it’s also not plug-and-play ready. There are some steps to follow to ensure everything goes smoothly. After all, one of the primary reasons for combining Edge and cloud technology is to push innovation further and not make it more difficult.

Identify uses for edge computing

Keeping your data closer to the source is a pretty good reason to consider Edge deployment in the cloud—however, it’s not always the best reason to deploy the technology. Instead of getting excited over being able to access data in real-time, think about how the technology can be used in your business processes.

A good place to start is with your business model. Do you have a robust remote workforce that is constantly accessing cloud applications? What about your products? Do your products depend on receiving and relaying data in real time? If so, things like reduced latency, easy data access, flexibility, and connectivity are items Edge computing can help improve.

But, if your staff rarely uses the cloud or your devices aren’t dependent on real-time data, Edge deployment may not be a priority.

Choose the right type of architecture

Without the right architecture, your Edge deployment is going to run into some issues. Instead of reducing latency speeds, you may end up doing the opposite, and this is just an example of what can potentially go wrong if you’re using the wrong architecture.

Most organizations opt for either a cloud-based or on-premise architecture, and both have their best uses that can affect which is the right option for your business:

  • Cloud-based Edge is a good option if latency isn’t a primary concern. Instead, you want to improve centralised control. This type of architecture gives you centralized control and management. However, it’s not a great choice for applications demanding responses in real time.
  • On-premise Edge focuses on reducing latency. If your applications require rapid responses, this type of architecture can deliver. A potential downside is the increased risk of cyberattacks around the perimeter of your system/network. You’ll probably need to significantly boost your cybersecurity practices.

There is also a third option; you can go with a hybrid architecture, this way, you get centralized control and lower latency. Cybersecurity is still a concern with a hybrid mode. Latency may not be as low as with on-premise Edge architecture.

There’s almost always a trade-off regardless of the architecture you choose. This means the right type often comes down to what your business absolutely needs and what you can consider giving up.

Connectivity requirements

You already know connectivity is key. Without connectivity, your systems and networks are useless. Connectivity refers to bandwidth and you need plenty to ensure your services and infrastructure are supported. So, how much bandwidth do you need to support everything, including Edge deployment? The answer varies by industry.

An energy company will probably run smoothly when its bandwidth supports latency speeds of around 10ms. And yes, this is low enough to keep most avid gamers happy.

Energy companies can access, collect, and analyze data in real time, which means Edge deployment needs to take place in customers’ markets. For example, the bandwidth will need to be able to support Edge deployment in neighborhood substations. The deployment can’t be limited to the main energy hub.

When it comes to industries manufacturing and supporting self-driving (AI-powered) cars, latency speeds need to be lower than 10ms. Your deployment may include adding micro-edge centers. Where the micro-edge centers are located can vary. Some examples can include support from 5G wireless networks.

Figuring out the connectivity requirements is an important step toward ensuring a smooth and effective Edge deployment.

Look at your in-house IT abilities

Edge deployment isn’t exactly a new technology but it’s also not a common skill, and skill gaps in IT departments are a growing problem that’s only expected to get worse as technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. There’s a good chance your IT department has a few gaps in its skill set and this probably includes Edge computing.

Don’t worry, the gap in IT skills doesn’t mean letting go of your current team and bringing in new graduates. Instead, take an inventory of your team’s existing skills. Edge deployment requires several skills, and your team may be more equipped than you or they fully realize.

Some of the necessary skills include data engineering, computer networking, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. There’s a good chance you can cross most or all of these skills off the list. What skills you’re missing in-house can be easily outsourced to consultants and managed service providers.

Data security

If your business is handling consumer information, data privacy and security laws apply. You must meet specific compliance regulations to avoid potential fines and other penalties. For example, HIPAA applies to the healthcare industry and California has rules protecting consumers’ private information. These are only a couple of examples of existing data privacy regulations.

As noted earlier, your Edge deployment architecture can affect your existing cybersecurity protocols. To stay in compliance with industry standards, you need to take a look at how Edge deployment will affect your security. This will probably mean putting more robust measures in place. Your IT department will be vital to ensuring your data security after an Edge deployment in the cloud.

A successful edge deployment in the cloud is possible

Deploying Edge technology in the cloud is definitely doable, but it will require careful planning and a few changes to your current practices and protocols. While it might take a bit of effort to get everything set up just right, the advantages of a well-executed Edge deployment make the effort worthwhile.

With faster processing times and improved data management, the benefits can significantly enhance your operations and give you a competitive edge.

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