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SMBs Should Take a Cloud-First Approach to Maintain Business Continuity


Cloud is now an imperative and not a matter of choice anymore – The message has clearly reached all organizations that were not inclined to a cloud-first strategy for long. The pandemic being a catalyst, most agile organizations are meeting today’s challenges by ramping up their use of the cloud. In a free-wheeling conversation with Sohini Bagchi, Editor, CXOToday, Puneet Gupta, Managing Director, Marketing and Services, NetApp India, explains why companies should revisit their cloud strategies to emerge stronger in the post-COVID world, and how organizations, especially SMBs must leverage the full potential of cloud to increase resilience and agility.

What are the key cloud trends in the post-Covid Era?

Even before the pandemic, companies were actively considering transitioning to Cloud given the flexibility and agility it offers.The pandemic swung the momentum towards Cloud and spending on Cloud rose 37% to USD 29 billion in Q1 2020. With epidemiologists predicting multiple waves of COVID-19, this trend is likely to persist.

Generalists are out, Specialists are in: In an environment that is increasingly Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA), companies prefer to engage and trust specialists like NetApp who understand the Cloud environment better than anyone else and can ensure business continuity.

Remote access & availability of data and applications will be more important than ever to ensure business continuity. Companies around the globe are implementing remote work policies and building out safe workspaces that require applications and data to be available on multiple types of devices from almost any location.

Hybrid cloud is becoming the default configuration for most organizations, combining growing public cloud usage with existing on-premises workloads. Organizations will continue to keep workloads on-premises for the foreseeable future, but increasingly recognize the importance of being able to integrate them with off-premises cloud workloads.

Remote access has led to an increase in cyber crime including phishing attacks, ransomware, and industrial espionage. Organizations need to protect their data no matter where it lives. They need to take proactive steps to prepare for ransomware, prevent it, and design an end-to-end framework for data protection and safety.

Pay-as-you-go model is increasingly finding favor with most companies. The challenges of IT purchasing can be exceptionally difficult, with costs for data, infrastructure, cloud, and myriad other technologies. Solutions like Net App Keystone offer subscription models that offer Cloud solutions as a service for a monthly fee with the ability to burst capacity when needed, and the flexibility to grow into public cloud when necessary.

How can enterprises and SMBs leverage the full potential of cloud in the new normal?

With technology advancing at a rapid rate, investing in the right Cloud solution can be challenging, especially for small enterprises and startups. At Net App, we prescribe the 3S mantra to all our SMB partners:

Scalable: Startups & SMBs should be focused on growing their business and building their own data fabric. As companies ‘born in the cloud’, they shouldn’t be spending time and money growing their IT infrastructure and increasing capital expenditure. Instead, they should go with a Cloud specialist like Net App and invest in a scalable solution that can grow as their business grows.

 Secure:  The increase in ransomware attacks and data theft hacks has highlighted the vulnerability of many enterprises. SMBs will need the ability to securely move and migrate data between different locations periodically.

Simple: If the company is transitioning to the Cloud for the first time, we ask them to keep it simple.One doesn’t need to move complete operations to the Cloud. Transition one step at a time and get a real world feel for how the Cloud works out for the organization.

As enterprises move to the cloud and adopt new cloud capabilities faster than ever, which areas now need a rethink?

I primarily see two areas where companies need to rethink:

Cost Model: Opex vs. Capex: The popularity of Cloud has got a lot to do with the flexibility it offers. Companies could afford to have best-in-class solutions without having to invest in on-premise data centers. Now, many companies are moving storage budgets to flexible consumption models. Pay-as-you-go models better align cost with usage, are inherently more flexible and scalable, and help avoid overbuying and over provisioning.

Integrated Infrastructure: It is no longer about the last mile: Gartner has predicted that by 2022, more than 50% of enterprise data will be created and processed outside the data center or cloud. The infrastructures should be as integrated as possible so that edge data can be available to emerging services, whether they live in the edge, the core, or the cloud.The future won’t be about the last mile anymore but the last 30 feet.

Can you shed light on the challenging role of the CIO/CISO as the world is going digital?

The concept of continuous change is endemic to the psychology of most CIOs. In today’s fast-changing scenario, CIOs have come to accept the power of the cloud, its reach, and its resources. More importantly, they believe in the benefits of getting on the cloud – resiliency, flexibility, and agility for a business.

Secondly, in times like today, cost optimization is an important agenda for the CIOs and therefore you see more and more CIOs are opting for subscription-based cloud models. For subscription model to succeed, the CIOs need to ensure they have the right team with the appropriate skill sets. This will aid in scaling business faster, make early wins and manage cost effectively.

What can companies do to bolster cloud security?

With a steady rise in remote working and accelerated adoption of Cloud, companies today are more likely to be a victim of ransomware attack than before. Companies need to have a robust system in place to detect and stop ransomware before it’s too late, protect intellectual property from theft by malicious users and ensure corporate compliance by auditing access patterns to critical data.

This can be achieved through three methods:

  • Attack Classification: Deploy software that automatically detects and classifies threat patterns.
  • Use Machine Learning: Tools that learn user behavior patterns and alert you when anomalies occur.
  • Auditing: Audit actions and activities on your critical data to assess compliance with corporate security policies and exposure to risk.

How is the company helping its customers take a cloud-first approach to maintain business continuity? 

Business continuity is more than just a plan to recover from disaster; it’s a survival strategy for enterprises. Managing IT operations in a world where vulnerabilities, disasters, and threats are increasing makes remote access and availability of data and applications of paramount importance for sustaining an always-on business.

Companies are reinventing business continuity with resilience to weather these disruptive times. Net App enables business continuity through 2 key areas:

Data Protection and Application Access: As more enterprises move online and employees transition to remote work environments, Net App helps companies rationalize their data and application infrastructure, move data between on-premises and cloud to ensure data availability across clouds.

Support an Elastic Workforce and Safe Workspaces: With remote working becoming the norm, applications and data must be available on multiple types of devices from almost any location. Net App helps companies to rapidly build a highly secure, virtual organization by deploying cloud-based EUC and VDI and bolster on-premises capabilities with scalable infrastructure solutions.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at