Why Indian enterprises need not fear Cloud adoption

by Darinia Khongwir    Mar 21, 2013

Cloud

The demand for cloud-based software is rising rapidly because the approach allows companies to start using new programs faster and at lower cost than traditional products that are installed at a customer’s own data center.

“The cloud is really the hot sector of IT right now,” and U.S. companies have a big interest in countries harmonizing policies instead of chopping the cloud into pieces, said Robert Holleyman, president of the Business Software Alliance.

But at the same time, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), still lag far behind developed countries in policies considered critical for the future of cloud computing, but each made some progress over the past year, reported Business Software Alliance.

Vietnam, Indonesia, China and India have pursued policies that threaten to divide the cloud, either by trying “to wall themselves off or by imposing local requirements that are antithetical to the very underpinning of cloud computing,” Holleyman added.

According to IT advisory firm Gartner Inc, the public cloud services market is forecast to grow 18.5 per cent in 2013 to total $131 billion worldwide.  “The continued growth of the cloud services market will result from the adoption of cloud services for production systems and workloads, in addition to the development and testing scenarios that have led as the most prominent use case for public cloud services to date,” said Ed Anderson, research director at Gartner. “Evidence of this growth is found in the increasing demand for cloud services from end-user organizations, met by an increased supply of cloud services from suppliers.”

But with the India and other of the BRIC nations still lagging behind in Cloud adoption, it would seem that CIOs of Indian enterprises are still wary of this hype cycle. While, analysts believe that although cloud adoption will continue to grow globally in 2013, it will still revolve around private cloud projects and it will take a while for public cloud to witness large scale adoption. A new research by analyst firm TheInfoPro indicates that nearly 50 percent of its respondents have planned some internal cloud projects in the next one year. “The Cloud has really become synonymous to internal transformation, as adoption of technologies like virtualization and efforts to radically standardize and consolidate have all been classified as ‘cloud’ initiatives,” said Peter Foulkes, TheInfoPro’s Research Director for Cloud Computing.

The solutions available today come equipped with wizard-driven Cloud data masking functionality for protecting data privacy in the cloud, not just on-premise. Users can leverage and reuse industry-proven, pre-built data masking algorithms to quickly define custom data masking rules to flexibly support specific security, privacy and testing requirements
-Tony Young, CIO, Informatica

One of the essential requirements for cloud computing is uninterrupted and high bandwidth Internet connectivity. So, the usage of cloud computing would only increase in developing countries if there is reliable internet connectivity—not only at the large company level but also for the small and medium-sized enterprises.

 “If enterprises  are to use cloud computing solutions for business critical functions such as their digital marketing, HR management, CRM  etc. then it’s critical that they can reach the cloud at all points of time and the speed of access of this data does not cause productivity issues in the organization,” said Srishti Sofat, General Manager, Responsys.

Internet penetration, though a prime driver for Cloud adoption, it is not the prime hindrance by a long shot. According to Tony Young, CIO, Informatica, the hosted model raises a few questions on data privacy and data governance including: Is confidential data safe from unauthorized access in motion (on its way to and from the Cloud) and at rest (sitting within the Cloud solution)?  Who is accountable in the event of a data breach? What are the risks that need to be shifted to the cloud provider? How do you ensure that information is accurate, secure and reliable, when it is stored and accessed across cloud and the many devices that tap into it?

“Users of cloud computing services need answers to these questions to be assured (and reassured) that their business-critical information endures the same (if not higher) level of security and control as in an on-premise environment. More education across the industry on the capabilities of available Cloud-based integration and data management solutions needs to be promoted to allay these concerns,” said Young.

He said that the highest risk of data breaches is reported to have resulted from insider negligence and organizations can now depend on data masking solutions to limit the unnecessary exposure of sensitive data in application development and test (sandbox) environments. 

“The solutions available today come equipped with wizard-driven Cloud data masking functionality for protecting data privacy in the cloud, not just on-premise. Users can leverage and reuse industry-proven, pre-built data masking algorithms to quickly define custom data masking rules to flexibly support specific security, privacy and testing requirements,” said Young.

With concerns over data access, there are software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that offer enhanced security and administration features that support broader cloud integration deployments and strengthen IT governance control. “For instance, there are now hybrid security options for storing connection credentials on-premise, behind your firewall or in the cloud; Administrators can define blackout periods during which no integration, replication or data quality jobs will run to ensure IT control and simplify the management of upgrades,” said Young.

To address cloud data quality and master data management (MDM) challenges, a set of focused cloud services is available to reliably automate CRM data cleansing, validation and consolidation of data from external systems and multiple Salesforce organisations. Users can also easily build data quality rules into their cloud integration processes with pre-packaged templates, to ensure that the business is working with the right data at the right time.

“Trust is a key concern with any new technology trend. There needs to be more widespread education for the industry on available cloud-based integration and management solutions, which are proven in their capabilities. Setting up an industry framework on how organizations can adopt cloud-based solutions while ensuring compliance to their internal policies (such as data privacy) will help. Defining clear rules around how data will be accessed and managed will give organizations reinforced confidence of using the cloud, and thereby create new opportunities for cloud solution providers to fuel their future innovations,” opined Young.

He said that more and more data will continue to move into the cloud domain for reasons of easier sharing within and outside of the enterprise, and for lowering the overall cost of managing data such as from reduced hardware investments. The right approach to cloud data integration plays a key role in effectively aligning business users with IT. Enterprises can only gain full value from enterprise data—whether it resides on-premise or in the cloud—when they are able to access, integrate and trust the data. 

“While the concerns around the feasibility of cloud-based solutions for enterprise business management will remain, instead of dismissing the technology, I encourage organizations to start small pilot projects to test feasibility of specific use cases and then progress as the results start to show and confidence grows,’’ added Young.