Strategy

Embracing the cloud revolution

By Derek Lister, Director Systems Integrators, SSE Enterprise Telecoms
Strategy
Published: 18 October 2017

So much of what powers business relies on cloud technology. Recent statistics from the Cloud Industry Forum suggest that cloud adoption amongst UK organisations now stands at 88%. However, despite the clear trend towards cloud-based infrastructures, there are still key issues preventing enterprises from putting full faith into the cloud.

Namely, security and availability.

Unless businesses are willing to accept the large capital cost that comes with a totally private, on-premise cloud environment, they typically resort to a cloud connection over the public internet to access the flexibility and scale afforded by public cloud offerings like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure. However, this very approach is the key to the concerns that exist around putting critical information into the public cloud. In many cases, connecting to these services opens up security concerns, potentially putting businesses in breach of their own IT policies, as well as those of legislators. For smaller businesses in particular, the cost of lost data, coupled with fines and reputation damage, especially with GDPR on the horizon, means a breach could cripple business activity.

A similar concern is the latency and outage problems that come with over-the-internet connectivity to public cloud services. When using these solutions, businesses can’t choose the path their data traverses. There is always the risk of decreased throughput and increased data consumption charges – neither of which are conducive to a good worker or customer experience or to the business’s bottom line.

Put simply, businesses need a reliable route to the cloud – one which does not come accompanied with unexpected costs, unforeseen connectivity issues or lax security.

The cloud evolution
To understand the true benefits of private cloud connectivity, it’s essential to understand why it’s a necessary evolution of cloud, and why embracing cloud is vital in the first place.

The 2017 State of the Cloud report found that, on average, cloud users are running apps in four different clouds. And are likely to be experimenting with a further four. It shows us that businesses are increasingly comfortable with cloud computing and are beginning to understand exactly what works for them.

When defining a cloud strategy, businesses must recognise that it’s not just about the cloud itself. Instead it’s about the services that sit on top or alongside it that can have a drastic impact on overall performance. Clearly, the benefits and reach of cloud are wide-ranging. But there are five specific advantages of a private cloud connection:

  • Operational agility which provides the ability to easily scale bandwidth up or down as required, enabling greater flexibility.
  • Improved security thanks to the expertise that cloud providers can bring to bear and because cloud encourages businesses to develop strategic cloud plans.
  • More efficient business continuity as cloud offers a more affordable alternative to costly infrastructure and expertise which businesses currently employ.
  • Improved productivity as cloud computing enables users to work from any location and on any device enabling increased collaboration between members and teams while also providing the ability to access, edit, share and create documents without needing to be in the same room.

Make your public cloud work harder with better connectivity
With the advance of cloud technology and the many benefits associated with it, now is the time for businesses to review their IT strategies. Part of that will mean a move away from ageing, legacy equipment and a move towards cost-efficiencies and improvements in productivity with the flexibility that holistic cloud use can offer.

And herein lies the channel opportunity. The need for reliable, high-capacity access is untapped. It’s the missing link. Increasingly, vendors are offering a solution in the form of a private dedicated Ethernet connection to a chosen CSP via their core network, typically terming it as cloud connectivity solution or ‘Cloud Connect’. At the same time, they can enjoy fixed quarterly bills and no large outlays. Importantly, these business benefits are not contingent on using a particular service platform or cloud provider. It works for anyone, anywhere – substantially boosting the potential of the cloud.

Gartner suggests that by 2020 “Cloud Shift” will affect more than $1 Trillion in IT spending. Clearly, the financial clout behind cloud spending is not slowing down. So, businesses also need to give sufficient thought to how they actually get information to the cloud in the first place.