Katie Armstrong, head of marketing at private cloud provider brightsolid, talks about the security issues and the collaborative possibilities of the cloud.
What are the security issues surround the cloud?
Like with anything online today, there are always security issues. It’s about anticipating the event before it happens and good service providers help with that with things like DDoS protection.
The physical location of data needs to be fit for purpose too and protect against things like power outages, fires, or even natural disasters. Recently we were accredited by IT Governance and awarded our cyber essentials plus certification that’s based on five key controls: secure configuration, boundary firewalls and internet gateways, access control and admin privilege management, patch management and malware protection.
The security breaches you hear about on the news paint a scary picture of cloud, it would be better to hear about the great solutions and technologies are minimising these large-scale security breaches too once in a blue moon.
How has the cloud market evolved over the past few years?
What’s notable is that a lot of cloud strategies, particularly in terms of applications, are driven by employees. The change to the way people work has created a need for flexibility, mobility and accessibility and cloud collaboration tools like Dropbox, Google Drive and OneNote are a necessity.
Service providers quickly realised years ago that not all clouds are created equal, there can’t be a one size fits all approach and so now there are far more options available – almost like a pick and mix approach. Putting some data in ultra-locked down dedicated environments and other things in public clouds for economic value.
What are you seeing in the market right now?
A key thing we are seeing is a shift to hybrid. The experts say hybrid cloud will be worth $50 billion by 2017. True hybrid models allow customers to choose what the right first step to cloud is by defining what data and which systems sit where. This means choosing a combination of private cloud, public cloud, and/or your own site - tailoring your estate depending on the needs of your business and data. This model is ideal as it helps organisations dip their toe in cloud without throwing everything they have into it.
Whether they admitted it or not, some businesses have been confused about what ‘the cloud’ actually means. How is this changing?
We’ve seen the market shift from a fear of the ‘unknown’ to a much greater level of understanding and confidence in cloud technologies. Generally, we have seen a growing understanding of what cloud actually is – moving away from the ‘access your data anywhere, anytime’, towards what’s really exciting about true cloud: on-demand self-service provision, elasticity and infinite development opportunities for apps.
How does the cloud help collaboration and remote working?
What we’re working towards right now is a network of inter-connectedness between all kinds of organisations, particularly in government, local government and the NHS.
This means that companies will be able to plug into applications and speak to other organisations. Things like the meet me room we have in Aberdeen for our customers in oil and gas allows data to be shared securely, sometimes for a limited time only, with anyone else who can patch into our network or who sits in our data centre.
The collaborative possibilities in cloud are endless and we’re moving from and inter-company collaboration model – which is really a pre-requisite for survival now – to a cross-company collaboration model. Our vision is to help unify companies across Scotland by providing a secure environment for sharing resources, apps and data.
What would you say to anyone not interested in using or selling cloud services?
Before you think about technology you have to think to yourself. “Is my company going to be here in five years’ time”? Honestly? You have to think about what steps you have to take to ensure that you have the correct provision of resources, instant delivery of great customer service, the ability to allow your workforce to be autonomous from anywhere.
After thinking about these things, then it’s time to look at what technology you need to make that a sustainable reality. Often, cloud technologies are the vehicle.
Brightsolid is a private cloud provider with its own data centres in the North East of Scotland. Its customers can choose a hybrid approach, including burst-ability into Azure-enabled environments from either dedicated or virtual private clouds.
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