The CIO of a global trading house has adopted a ‘cloud-first’ policy. However, the move has created dramatic variations in monthly bills. Under public cloud it has become almost impossible to predict annual IT operating costs.
The CIO of a global logistics group recognises that despite high levels of security in some public cloud offerings, the ultimate responsibility still rests on his shoulders. Cost is just one factor in comparing cloud arrangements. Security comes a close second.
These and many more interesting cloud insights emerged at a dinner on ‘data security and back-up in the cloud’ sponsored by Solutions and Veritas in London this November. Most of the fourteen IT and business executives around the table were committed to a hybrid on-premise/public cloud arrangement, but many raised concerns over where this might take them and how their CFOs might react.
It is just ten years since public cloud emerged as a disruptive force across the IT services sector. With the advent of powerful new players such as Amazon and Salesforce, many traditional IT vendors such as HP and CSC have been decimated by its effects. Only incumbents Microsoft and Adobe have truly grasped the ‘cloud moment’. Analyst projections suggest that Cloud will overtake on-premise spend by 2025 heralding a revolution in the way IT services are provided.
But what is the customer’s perspective? According to our delegates, take-up has been relatively sluggish despite the many announcements of a ‘cloud-first’ strategy. Most companies are adopting public cloud in their office suites such as Microsoft’s 365, Skype and Google Apps. Equally, Software as a Service (SaaS) such as CRM and HR have begun to chip away at monolithic ERP systems such as SAP or ORACLE. Cloud also provides a convenient platform for Test and DevOps. But for the most part, opinion favoured on-premise for core applications.
Delegates were forthcoming in naming some of the advantages of public cloud that might appeal both to IT and the CFO. This included platform scalability, ability to spin-up new applications and associated businesses rapidly. Also, for those with limited funds to invest in IT, cloud offered an opportunity to swop-out CAPEX for OPEX. In addition, Public Cloud provides a practical and well proven solution to data storage, back-up and disaster recovery.
However, there was considerable debate over the economics and security of public cloud around the table. Most concluded that equivalent levels of security to on-premise are bought at a premium price from cloud vendors. One executive said that he required all his DevOp staff to close cloud-based applications every eight hours to avoid penal ongoing charges. Time to access data in the cloud also appeared to be a stumbling block for companies operating real-time transactions such as trading houses.
We were left feeling that ‘C’ Suite executives, especially the CFO, would have growing concerns about a wholesale transition to public cloud services both from a cost and security point of view. This seemed to reflect current realities around the table.
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This article was written by Roger Camrass, director of CIONET UK and a visiting professor of the University of Surrey, and is based on the conversations during a dinner on ‘data security and back-up in the cloud’ sponsored by Solutions and Veritas in London this November.