Emerging Insurance Practices: Cloud Computing
The insurance industry is continuously looking for the simplest, most efficient method of providing consumers with the best service, while at the same time trying to reduce overall operating expenses. While insurance providers explore the right options for their business, one thing is certain, cloud-based environments are low-risk solutions that enable applications to increase business value. From Cisco research, we know that running desktop applications in the cloud can be attractive because it reduces complexity and increases security.
Aside from the insurance industry, other financial services institutions struggle to find a business structure that provides the desired flexibility and market savings necessary to provide excellent customer service. However, with the help of cloud computing and unified communications, these challenges are being overcome. Due to recent success and proven low-risk functionality, insurers are gradually adopting cloud solutions to help guide business operations and initiatives. In fact, Gartner is predicting that the cloud system infrastructure market to grow by 47.8% through 2015.
Cloud computing is changing the way organizations store and access large applications and data. Cloud capabilities provide a way to increase capacity or add capabilities quickly without having to invest in costly infrastructures or training new personnel. Cloud computing also helps extend an organization’s existing IT capabilities by allowing for subscription or pay-per-use services.
In order to achieve the business flexibility that insurers’ desire, investing in cloud computing may be the easiest solution. Through a traditional non-cloud-based transition, insurers are likely to spend millions of dollars upfront on on-premise hardware for the new infrastructure. Then, they must work around application development, which can turn into a lengthy customization and implementation process.
Cloud computing in the insurance industry is increasingly showing signs of being a necessity. Through internal cloud computing, computing applications, platforms and infrastructure are delivered as a bundle of services to users within a private business. One of the greatest benefits that internal cloud-based computing provides insurers is the ability to create a virtual server easily and deploy business-user-configurable cloud software solutions quickly. Virtualization allows that software or hardware to run more than one application at a time, so as a result, insurers can launch new products and services faster than ever before.
Another method of cloud computing that insurers may want to utilize is an external cloud computing integration model or Software as a Service (SaaS). Instead of buying servers and procuring space in the data center, cloud computing increases business value because it can be turned on the next day. It can also take away a lot of the upfront costs that can be risky to insurers by allowing for pay-per-use that enables the agility and flexibility that insurers want. One of the biggest selling points for external cloud computing is the potential to reduce IT support costs by outsourcing hardware and software maintenance and support to the SaaS provider.
How can you tell if your organization is ready for cloud-based technology solutions? Cisco is leading the way for cloud computing solutions in the insurance industry by helping evaluate organizations’ readiness with assessment services. It’s important that insurers rationalize applications, and create their own cloud-based strategies and capabilities – that allow for taking advantage of private cloud within an organization, public cloud and hybrid cloud models. Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and servers unify computing, networking, management, virtualization, and storage access into a single integrated architecture. This unique architecture enables end-to-end server visibility, management, and control in both bare metal and virtual environments, and facilitates the move to cloud computing and IT-as-a-Service with Fabric-Based Infrastructure.
For more information on how Cisco is leading the way for insurers to incorporate a cloud-based infrastructure, visit www.cisco.com/go/insurance and view the two case studies below:
- Princeton Insurance case study: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/princeton_insurance.pdf
- Seven Corners case study: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns340/ns517/ns224/seven-corners.pdf