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Opportunities and challenges

In 2015, Sirris helped dozens of software companies exploit the opportunities offered by the cloud to develop innovative solutions quickly and efficiently and distribute them to large numbers of users.

The era of home servers and applications physically installed on machines is over. Servers are now provided remotely (in the cloud), and a growing number of applications are being developed in this environment: 91% of new software is cloud-based (IDC, 2014). Sirris has tasked itself with educating Belgian businesses about the opportunities of cloud computing, as well as the challenges it poses.

“Thanks to cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS), even small start-ups can release new software globally in a very short time. We help businesses to seize this opportunity but also to manage the associated challenges.”

Projects started in 2015

  • SeCloud: In 2015, Sirris launched the SeCloud project focusing on the security of applications developed in a cloud environment. The confidentiality and integrity of data processed by such applications is one of the main challenges for the companies that market them. The SeCloud project brings together experts from the Brussels research community, who explore how to incorporate these aspects right from the design stage (security-driven engineering). Sirris is working specifically with research groups from Erasmus, UCL, ULB and VUB, on issues relating to architecture, infrastructure, programming technologies and processes..
  • W3C: Sirris became a member of the World Wide Web Consortium in 2015. Over 400 companies work within the consortium to promote the compatibility of different web technologies and draw up future standards. As a member, Sirris can act as an interface between the needs of Belgian companies and the future standards being developed. We are particularly involved in the working group on geographical location data (Spatial Data on the Web).
  • C3PO: This ITEA3 project aims to provide a cloud-based collaborative platform for city design which supports interactions between all stakeholders (citizens, municipalities, architects, etc.). The platform will give these stakeholders access to a wealth of useful resources for co-designing and developing urban projects. Sirris is the project’s technical coordinator, focusing mainly on  platform design.

Which projects are we working on now?

Sirris is working on the following issues, among others, in 2016:

  • Security-driven engineering: How to develop secure cloud applications?
  • Application Programming Interfaces: How to prevent risks associated with the use of third-party infrastructure in the cloud?
  • Technological Stack Engineering: How to optimise software development in a cloud environment? What processes, technologies, principles to apply?
  • Hyperscale: How to reach large numbers of users quickly to make the application economically viable?
  • Hypercare: How to identify changing needs in order to develop a service exactly tailored to user expectations?

Moments of inspiration

  • Innoviris Brokerage Event: Innoviris launched an €8 million programme in 2015 to support five information security projects, including Sirris’s SeCloud project. The launch event took place in September 2015, attended by State Secretary Fadila Laanan. At the event, Sirris brought together 50 or so academic and industrial players to compare the state of the art and actual practice in cloud application security.
  • In partnership with LSEC, Agoria and iMinds, Sirris organised more bootcamps to help software companies explore the possibilities offered by the cloud. Each bootcamp focuses on a specific challenge shared by six to eight companies, such as data protection or pricing, and adheres to a tried-and-tested two-day format. The first day features presentations of best practices by experts. Participating companies then have two weeks to apply these to their own businesses, after which they meet up for a second day to share their solutions with the experts and their peers and receive practical and pertinent advice. Five bootcamps were held in 2015, attended by some 40 companies.

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