Mitigating risk and driving agility – how businesses can benefit from a move to the cloud

Sep 01, 2020

According to Gartner research, cloud continues to be one of the fastest growing segments of IT spend. In 2019, the analysts projected that spending on cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS) would grow from $39.5 billion in 2019 to $63 billion through 2021.

Cloud in its various forms has, of course, been around for many years, whether that is in the form of  the virtualization of infrastructure that we saw happening a decade or more ago, to today, when we see full-blown hyperscalers offering multiple cloud platforms. It has been an evolutionary process as technology capability has grown and more and more businesses have felt comfortable with the approach. 

In IT analytics firm Flexera’s annual state of the cloud survey for 2020, 90% of those polled said they're using at least one cloud service in their organization. Of those using cloud services, 93% have a multicloud strategy that combines multiple public and private clouds.    

Even smaller businesses today need to have a cloud strategy. We have seen a significant shift in the way these businesses perceive cloud in recent years. It is no longer about if you can move to the cloud but more about when you can. A lot of the perceived barriers to migrating, especially around security concerns, have now been debunked. Today’s cloud providers can after all, provide much higher levels of security than those smaller enterprises could ever deliver in their own infrastructure environment.

The agitated cry of “where’s my data?” that we used to hear when organizations moved to the cloud has now faded away as much of these concerns are addressed in the hyperscalers’ security offerings. 

COVID-19 drives uptake

The current pandemic has further contributed to the acceleration in cloud adoption. It has caused many businesses to review the limitations and lack of flexibility of their existing infrastructure arrangements. In lockdown we have seen a dramatic surge in the use of cloud-based video collaboration tools. The average number of weekday remote meetings carried out in the NHS using Microsoft Teams reached 90,250 during May 2020. Solutions like Skype for Business, Google Meet and Zoom have also been used extensively by businesses of all sizes. 

These tools have allowed businesses to adapt, survive and thrive in these difficult times. They drive agility, helping businesses to switch operations quickly in order to fight against the virus where needed, or to quickly scale to meet fast-changing market demands. 

"Cloud helps businesses to adapt to changing circumstances much more quickly than if they are relying on their own servers or data centre infrastructure." 

In light of the increased cybersecurity threat presented when entire workforces work remotely, the enhanced security that most cloud solutions offer is likely to further add to peace of mind. Multi-factor authentication, approved sign-ins from mobile apps using push notifications, biometrics, or one-time passcodes, are now commonplace across many platforms, as well as host meeting control features, such as passcodes, waiting rooms, and meeting lock for participants.

Key role of third party support

A company’s first steps on the journey to the cloud should not be taken alone. You wouldn’t attempt a summit ascent on a mountain or a trek through a jungle unaided, so why attempt your first forays into the cloud on your own? In some ways, cloud is no different to traditional infrastructure and it needs to be designed, implemented and secured by experienced people that are familiar with all the nuances of the platform. All the rules and good practices of building traditional infrastructure and operations apply but their implementation will be different depending on the cloud platform you select. Cloud platforms are also evolving at an incredible pace with new features being added continuously and what might be best practice right now might be superseded in a feature release. Staying current is crucial to getting the best out of your cloud choice and that’s why selecting an experienced and certified partner to work with is key to your success and security in the cloud.

Author: Simon Harbour, SAP S/4HANA and Microsoft Azure lead, delaware UK and US

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