What is the future of the public cloud?

Jonathan Birch is the EMEA Practice Head of Infrastructure and Architecture at NTT DATA, a Global IT Innovator delivering technology-enabled services and solutions to clients around the world. He is passionate about using IT to achieve real business outcomes. It is Jonathan’s belief that if a company cannot create business value from IT initiatives, then they shouldn’t be undertaking them in the first place. Jonathan has helped companies including Network Rail and Belron to plan and execute business intelligence and data warehousing projects. He has also advised a number of organisations on their IT strategy, including Transport for London, the Rural Payments Agency and the British Council. Jonathan has over 25 years years experience working in IT and management consulting. He spent 11 years working in industry with ICI before moving into the IT and business consultancy sector. He held positions at CSC, KPMG and BearingPoint before joining NTT DATA in 2011.

This year will see the turning point for the public cloud, as a result of repeated security infractions and regulatory issues.

Companies are beginning to realise that they need a secure and stable infrastructure, which is both fast and flexible. They need to think about systems that allow them to ramp up resources, as well as scaling them down depending on business needs.

For many service providers, 99% uptime is seen as good, however as the role of service providers becomes even more critical, that one per cent of downtime isn’t good enough anymore.

This is what is starting to be seen with the public cloud. The fundamental question is, what infrastructure would you run your important business system on and how risky are you willing to be with business data? 

The public cloud emerged as a quick and scalable utility that could revolutionise enterprise IT, however, due to repetitive data breaches and repeated downtime, the public cloud has been highlighted as disposable. Data breaches are fairly common stories in the media, and are usually dramatised, with millions of people’s personal data being stolen each time. The Yahoo! eHarmony and Linkedin stories are oft-quoted, but the real extent of data breaches is often greater.

The public cloud’s open and shared services approach always raised security concerns, and the fact that data can be stored anywhere in the world raises regulatory issues around data protection and ownership. For this reason, businesses simply cannot trust the public cloud’s offerings.

In the future, we will see the private cloud’s status increase. It continues to grow in popularity, especially with financial services institutions and global corporations. The private cloud is a much more secure form of data storage, which is why is has become so popular with these types of companies. With the level of flexibility now offered by private cloud providers, it is a more compelling proposition for hosting important business systems and business information.

Establishing their own personal infrastructure allows these companies to keep complete control of their data, while still achieving the flexibility benefits of running services through the ‘cloud’.

Companies are looking to invest in a service that matches their required business outcomes. They are looking to move away from traditional data centres and move towards an option whereby you can pay solely for the data and computing resources that you use. Companies want a predictable financial transaction, which can easily be paid off each month and aligns with their business outcomes.

Companies are looking to move away from outsourcing the provision of infrastructure and applications. Instead they want a supplier with SLAs relating to the availability of their business services.

The private cloud is the only solution that can securely protect a company’s information assets. The future of cloud is to deliver an end-to-end service and not just component parts. Suppliers who can supply SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, management consultancy and in-house processes will be the only ones truly able to deliver the outcomes that businesses require.

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