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How Businesses Can Seize the Cloud Opportunity in Times of Crisis

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Cloud has become an inevitable part of almost every organization’s growth strategy today. While organizations were already using cloud computing to accelerate their digital journey and enhance growth, it came to the rescue of millions when the COVID-19 global pandemic caught the world off guard altering the normal course of life and businesses in a matter of days. A recently released Deloitte-CII report titled: ‘Cloud nine of growth: The journey of digital transformation’ makes some interesting observation on the state of cloud computing, its challenges and huge untapped potential for the digital enterprise.

anoop nambiar deloitteIn a recent conversation with CXOToday, Anoop Nambiar, who leads Cloud Engineering and Transformation practice for Deloitte India Consulting, highlights some of these findings and explains how enterprises can use cloud technologies to seize the emerging opportunities and thrive in the new world order.

What do you see as the key barriers to cloud adoption among enterprises at present? How is India responding to the challenge of cloud adoption?

India is one the largest growth markets when it comes to cloud adoption and cloud enabled business or technology transformation. In India public cloud end-user spending is predicted to reach $4.4 billion by end of this year, as predicted by Gartner. The market can be generally segregated into 4 segments – large enterprises, SMBs, startups and government and public sector units.

While some enterprises have tasted success in getting their applications on cloud and are building successful business models around cloud, others are still lagging behind in leveraging the power of cloud.  Extent and maturity of adoption are different for these different segments.  While startup ecosystem has largely adopted cloud due to low entry costs, faster time to market and cost effective consumption models, large enterprises are on the other side of the spectrum.  We can see government and public sector accelerating their use of cloud whether it is GovCloud or Hyperscalers based solutions.  SMB’s see the opportunity in cloud adoption as it reduces their time to market, increases scalability, flexibility and offers a lower cost of entry.

Despite all this, cloud is still largely seen as a cost play and that needs to change to drive enterprise wide cloud adoption and to see it as a driver for modernization and transformation of various parts of any enterprise.

What should businesses understand about the security and privacy risks that cloud computing presents?

While there are general concerns around how secure public cloud can be, experience shows that public and private cloud providers have made extensive investments in making their products and offerings highly secure and are often mapped to various regulations around security, privacy and data protection.  When it comes to securing data storage and ensuring residency, major cloud players are providing state of the art encryption and shielding services along with having servers, locations and availability zones established within India in order to ensure local compliance.

How confident are businesses in leveraging cloud infrastructure that is controlled by MNC Hyperscalers as mentioned in the report?

The confidence in cloud infrastructure and services offered by MNC hyperscalers are growing as more and more of Indian organizations are adopting them into their tech and business landscape.  We also notice that some of the Indian enterprises skip a generation or two and adopt a cloud first, digital first approach. Such success stories also provide comfort to others while they ponder cloud adoption.  Concerns related to data hosting locations are now quelled as all major MNC hyperscalers do have their server locations and available zones established within India.

Do you think Indian businesses are prepared to keep pace with advances in cloud technology especially in times of crisis like the global pandemic?

 We believe India is at the cusp of being transformed into a digital nation that is enabled by cloud.  This means new workloads are being added to cloud on a daily basis and these workloads majorly are from the data and analytics space along with any associated applications/servers being migrated. The pandemic also drove the need for cloud adoption as it offered a faster, scalable, remote and democratic medium for conducting business.  If we look at new AI/ML implementations, organizations have understood that cloud offers the fastest path to solutions that generates the needed insights for the organization with minimum investment and with an enhanced ability to fail fast and disrupt traditional way of doing business.

Security being a key challenge with cloud computing, who takes the ownership in case of a cloud security breach, especially in a multicloud environment?

 Cloud implementation approach, security in cloud and how data/applications reside on cloud usually are based on a shared responsibility model prescribed by the cloud provider. A shared responsibility model, well understood and carefully adopted will reduce the risk of security breach and data loss. When an organization moves to a multi-cloud model, this complexity multiplies. A good multi-cloud strategy will involve careful segregation of workloads and establishing what type of workload sits on what cloud, how they can communicate with each other without exposing any gaps in security and data exposure.  This also spells out roles and responsibilities shared by users and providers.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com