Latest Cloud Opinions
Getting end-user experience right is an ever-growing concern for enterprises – and for good reason. 90 percent of users would stop using an app due to poor performance, while 88 percent of consumers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience.
Think about Netflix, Uber or Facebook, if the app is slow to respond, customers won’t even think twice before taking their business to Amazon Prime, Bolt, Instagram – and that’s major revenue lost. Even if you aren’t the likes of Amazon, performance issues that aren’t resolved have the potential to wreak havoc on a brands revenue and reputation. In fact, 98 percent of organisations say that a single hour of downtime could cost them over £80,000.
If the past decade in enterprise IT was owned by cloud, then the next ten years will arguably be defined by our attempt to secure it.
The degree to which cloud has absorbed applications and data is well-documented. While companies are consolidating with hybrid deployments, according to some estimates, 91 percent of organisations have moved some portion of their workloads to the cloud.
As this new territory grows, so too does its attack surface. Organisations need to be armed and ready, yet many are getting into sloppy habits, particularly when it comes to basic data storage practices. Between June 2018 and May 2019 over 2.3 billion files were found on misconfigured or non-secured cloud storage technologies. As cyber security company Forcepoint has framed it, as more companies become “cloud smart,” a large number appear to remain “cloud dumb,” at least when it comes to security.
The oversight is partly because we naturally focus on the ways a new tool can make our lives easier without first considering its side-effects. True, it’s not only a matter of failing to get the basics right. Like with any new technology, it has taken time for us to grasp the multitude of ways that the cloud can leave companies exposed. Compounding this problem is the pace at which cyber hackers conjure up new means of attack.
In a recent article, I wrote about the amazing customer experiences to be had in airports such as Changi and ways to enable that customer experience. Here, I propose to extend my stopover by looking at what goes on landside, rather than airside, and how one carrier is leading the way in using the latest digital tools to reimagine operations.
Just as Changi embodies how airport operators are reworking the customer experience, Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is a template for how smart use of data, communications and infrastructure can reinvent the back-end processes that enable passengers to move swiftly from point A to B.
“Unlike many other organisations, Oxfam can’t predict when the next disaster will happen and when we need to ramp up or deploy new systems” says Nick Mitrovic, CTO of the charity. Technology staff at charities, government bodies, international organisations and some private sector firms know this scenario all too well. When disaster strikes, a co-ordinated response is needed fast. “At any given time, on average, our teams are responding to more than 20 emergencies worldwide.”
Over the last five years, global cloud adoption has grown at an astonishing rate. To put this into context, a recent study by Bitglass into 2019 cloud adoption trends found that almost 90 percent of businesses have now deployed some sort of cloud-based infrastructure or tools to aid productivity and performance.
As more and more sensitive data enters the cloud, it’s critical that businesses invest in the necessary security tools in order to protect it. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be the case. The same study found that only a third of the businesses who had adopted cloud solutions had implemented even the most basic cloud security tool; single sign-on (SSO).
The world of enterprise software development came of age with the emergence of ‘single purpose’ software applications aligned to a specific business function. It started with accounting programmes in finance, but with time, many areas such as manufacturing, supply chain and inventory management also benefited from the emergence of purpose-built applications.
Monolithic structures like ERPs, for instance, were designed to increase efficiency by transmitting information across business functions. Problems started creeping in, however, when businesses customised these applications to cater to their own unique requirements.
More often than not, increased customisation rendered these applications slow and clunky since they were too rigid to scale, making frequent iterations difficult. The IT department that was supposed to incite productivity became the reason for falling behind.
The Internet of Things (IoT) may still be in its relative infancy, but it’s gradually building apace – as more enterprises begin to uncover the power it possesses when looking to harness data.
From manufacturing to healthcare, or logistics to financial services, more industries are becoming aware of its critical capability to process and convert information into rich, meaningful real-time analytics, in order to do everything from flagging potential issues with infrastructure to tracking demand for services and understanding consumer behaviour.
IoT adoption shows no signs of slowing down either, as its implementation has proved to have helped many firms stay ahead of the curve and have the correct operational efficiencies in place – all of which can be adapted, and evolved, to successfully provide useful knowledge to operate more efficiently in a challenging economic climate.
Just about every business today relies on people who write code. The problem is that hiring good developers is difficult. It may even be the most difficult thing a business will do.
The reason developer hiring is such an important topic (and something many businesses find challenging) is that unlike many other professions, good developers can be many times more productive than their peers.
As we approach the new decade, business agility is more crucial than ever. Innovation is constant and customer expectations are constantly evolving. Businesses simply must adapt if they are to survive. A recent study by Oracle and The Confederation of British Industry highlighted just how unrelenting this change is, with half of the largest FTSE100 companies disappearing from the index since 2009. Many businesses are struggling because they are stifled by complex and disjointed back-office systems, which put the brakes on their ability to innovate.
When we published our selection of cloud predictions last year, most predicted container orchestrator Kubernetes to consolidate its stranglehold over the container space and, correspondingly, modern cloud infrastructure.
Last November, one of the most extensive customer surveys bore this prediction out. In its study of thousands of companies, cloud and infrastructure monitoring company Datadog found 45 percent of its customers were using Kubernetes. And if that wasn’t evidence enough, just reflect on VMware’s announcement in March that it plans to transition its enterprise virtualisation platform to a system that runs and runs on Kubernetes. In reality, Kubernetes’ centrality to cloud was put beyond doubt just four weeks after we published last year’s roundup. In January, IBM steamrollered into 2019 with a $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat that saw the company’s popular Kubernetes implementation OpenShift integrated into IBM’s new multi-cloud strategy.
It is in this context that most of this year’s experts consulted their cloud crystal balls. Rackspace’s Lee James predicts 2020 to be a year of stiff competition between enterprise IT giants jostling to deliver a Kubernetes solution that dovetails with customers’ multi-cloud goals. On the other hand, Stephan Fabel of Canonical says end-users will start to understand the limitations of Kubernetes, and accordingly, utilise it more strategically. Lastly, Pivotal’s Michael Cote expects companies to use this experience to establish a singular, overall Kubernetes strategy.
In recent times, cloud platforms have rightly taken their seat at the forefront of mainstream IT plans, alongside on-premise servers. Cloud’s ability to enhance business agility, deliver cost savings, open new streams of revenue, improve application performance and unlock routes to leverage emerging technologies is widely acknowledged.
As a result, businesses have adopted cloud in their droves. Yet while the technology is thriving, the sheer myriad of choices available can make it a daunting task for IT managers when looking to find a cloud platform which meets their specific organisational needs.
In order to tap into cloud’s potential, it is imperative for any business to understand the elements of cloud technology and the benefits that it brings to the table.
But it is equally important that businesses don’t fall for the myths that persistently surround cloud.