Building for a future ready digital business in the cloud

Cloud evolution does not mean demise of IaaS
Cloud evolution does not mean demise of IaaS
Building for a future ready digital business in the cloud
Building for a future ready digital business in the cloud

In the era of Big Data where industry sectors are caught in a vortex of ‘information overload’, there is a need for businesses to rise to the challenge and become digital, which means embracing platform-based business models. Change is definitely happening, but at what pace?

Eighty-five percent of businesses feel they have two years to make significant inroads on their digital transformation before suffering financially, and/or falling behind. However, the good news is that the majority of global businesses are well on their way to developing formal digital transformative initiatives, and the cloud is key to this.

While the concern over security of sensitive data remains a major issue for cloud adoption locally, which may be an exaggerated fear that CIO’s need to eradicate, the lack of having a well thought out and planned cloud adoption strategy is also a leading issue hampering cloud adoption. In fact, according to Gartner, the lack of a comprehensive cloud adoption strategy is the cause of several dysfunctional behaviours and operational challenges.

While moving to the cloud may simplify and enhance business capabilities and processes, it is still essential that any cloud adoption strategy is aligned with the overall business objectives – as to ensure businesses do not invest in the wrong technology that may be innovative, but not necessarily suitable to what the business wants to achieve.

Choosing the right cloud platform

With the cloud, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The best approach to cloud adoption will be determined by what the business will be using the cloud for. With that said, no single cloud deployment model is ideal for meeting all business needs.

For example, a private cloud deployment model – whether owned and operated onsite, or sourced as a managed service – is often the preferred model for handling sensitive data and applications that are of strategic importance to the business or subject to regulatory conditions, as often the private cloud offers stronger security designs.

On the other hand, public cloud infrastructures are often called upon to handle peaks in demand for computing resources (Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS), for testing (Platform as a Service – PaaS), and for non-critical/niche services (Software as a Service – SaaS). The primary benefits of public cloud services are the flexibility they offer for rapid up and downscaling (of capacity) at large volumes.

However, compared to a private cloud model, public cloud services can be more difficult to tailor to the unique needs of the business and offer fewer security, privacy and compliance guarantees. This must be taken into consideration as a business moves more of its operations into the cloud as part of its strategy.

Considering this, often the perfect cloud environment is one that allows easy and secure consumption of internal services and external solutions. Though achieving this equilibrium can be a challenge, especially if a business has a host of cloud services from multiple vendors, all offering variable degrees of support and security.

A clearly defined cloud adoption strategy from the onset can assist a business in avoiding this challenge. Cloud adoption doesn’t have to be a complicated or fearsome process that is avoided by the modern business needing to gain a competitive edge. Rather, it needs to be a thought out and clearly defined process, rolled out only once an adoption strategy is defined, based on business goals.

By Kevin Krige, Head of Datacentre and Cloud Service at BT in Africa