Piyush started ESDS in 2005, making him a first-generation entrepreneur, through his experience in a variety of roles across ESDS. He has built a reputation in the IT industry for his exceptional ability to build and grow business and nurture long-term relationships.
The COVID-19 crisis is undeniably one of the worst crises in this decade. Many have mentioned this in the same breath as the Lehman brother crisis. Globally, there is a high-crisis situation, be it the stock exchanges of the world, industries such as travel and hospitality, logistics and supply chain, manufacturing, telecom, auto, drugs and pharmaceuticals, MSMEs and retail. According to Dunn & Bradstreet, the pandemic has a massive impact on human lives, and a severe demand shock will be seen throughout the year. In India, the same report estimates that we will see a fall of 0.2 per cent in its GDP in terms of points in the fiscal year 2020 sending it down- spiralling to 4.8 per cent.
However, as per a recent Deloitte Global report, the IT spending continues to be positive and forecasts indicate continued demand for cloud infrastructure services and a potential increase in spending on software. Companies such as Microsoft, Cognizant, Amazon Web Services have jumped almost 500-800 per cent increase in their cloud data services. The same report also forecasts increased demand for communication equipment, telecom services as organizations such as Cisco and Aviva have seen an increase in their products and services portfolio due to the Work from Home being the norm now.
Another aspect which will boost IT sales and services is the fact that most organizations lack a substantial Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Due to enhanced remote work scenarios, IT service providers will play a more important role in future BCPs. Services such as setting up a resilient, flexible and secure work network, disaster recovery systems, corporate security will only create more demand for IT services going forward in 2020. The telecom industry will also see a sharp spike in demand due to COVID-19. The need for faster data transfer at homes, automation and enhanced connectivity will ensure 5G arrives in India faster than anticipated.
Opportunities for Cloud Solution Providers
During this time, more and more companies are looking to invest in hands-on technology. Technology that focuses on connecting individuals seamlessly is the need of the hour. Our patented eNlight Cloud services also have seen a drastic uptick in terms of demand. We have seen significant growth for our enterprise eNlight Cloud solutions. There are some serious opportunities created for Cloud providers in the market, however, there are some shortcomings too.
For Instance, operating a large-scale data centre amidst these crises is not an easy task. Maintenance, governance and handling sensitive data is difficult especially when the whole country is in lockdown. An interesting aspect about data centres is that though, in technological terms, the government considers Cloud providers as core and essential services and therefore have levied special exemptions on data centre providers.
We, on a large-scale work with several governments such as Maharashtra, Smart city projects across the country. Our servers maintain up-time 24X7 and that has its own set of challenges with logistics, supply chain amongst other things. Security, data protection and maintaining the highest standards in terms of disaster recovery, backup-support and helping our clients to migrate work-from-home efficiently is another major challenge which we faced. While the initial days of the lockdown were a bit challenging, we managed to run our systems and servers seamlessly and help all our clients work from home and ensure 24X7 up-time.
Importance of a Secure Cloud Infrastructure
Cloud security solutions safeguard data, networks and access by securing connections between cloud-based SaaS offerings and users. Notwithstanding the size of your business, whether a small enterprise or a large corporation, provided you have access to the internet, you remain susceptible to cyberattacks. While Cloud service providers ensure you get maximum protection and security features, an additional safeguard is required to ensure data protection.
Some of the ways companies can ensure utmost cloud safety is by:
- Companies should ensure that the Cloud provider incorporates intense security features by improving the monitoring and tracking of various attacks such as DDoS, Malware, ransomware, data breaches etc. Additionally, they should make sure the real-time firewall updates are strong enough to block unsafe traffic.
- Secondly, companies need to make it imperative that their Cloud providers offer 24/7 live tracking and security of websites through tech support and multi-layered encryption of data and communication.
- Apart from securing data, networks need to be careful about tracking cookies and other malware. A tracking cookie is an attachment which latches itself to a host computer and prompts advertisers to pop up advertisements basis of your search and results. Tracking cookies not just slow down your computer, but also attract other tracking cookies in bundles and some of them are malware which might damage or corrupt your data.
- Apart from these, companies need to ensure all of their data is being backed-up real-time on a secure server and the company’s IT personnel should always have the administrator rights to be able to modify, alter and back-up data on the core Cloud drive in times of emergency. This speed up the process of decision making and recovery management in case the cloud provider gets compromised or under attack.
Cyber Security During COVID-19
With the onset of a pandemic, financial crisis or a global recession, we have witnessed over the years that cybersecurity also faces a threat. The same stands true in the wake of COVID-19. Now is the time when a lot of DDOS attacks, malware, and ransomware will make its way to the corporate networks to inflict mayhem.
While cybersecurity rules are consistent for domestic and corporate users, it is important to have separate rules and policies for domestic users and corporate users. Today when everyone is working from home, it is quite easy to click on an unknown site or open an unsolicited email and next thing you know is you are a victim of ransomware or a malware attack. As per a recent report, the threats pertaining to corporate cybersecurity attacks have increased by up to 22 per cent. The need of the hour is for IT companies to anticipate the vulnerabilities and already create patches and updates, so the vulnerabilities don’t stay there for long. In these trying times, companies are looking for IT partners and consultants as compared to a product concept.
Another concern which companies face is using third party free software that has no encryption of data, for example, being a video conferencing or presenting an important project or merely connecting over a video call. Secured VPN network and encrypted video channels are something that very selective companies are offering to their clients. But going forward, this is more of a necessity than a luxury and should be necessitated by most of the companies from their technology partners.
Digital Transformation in India
With large scale organizations, not just governments, the processes and the kind of approvals that are required to implement new technology are intense. While large scale, PSUs and government agencies are well-versed with what boost in tech can do to their productivity, it takes a while to implement these technologies. For this to work out to the best advantage, companies regardless of their size need to be agile and quick in decision making.
Digital transformation is a multi-fold process where recognizing the need for new technology is just the start. The implementation part is where companies need to expedite their processes. Compared to some large-scale companies, we have had better output time in terms of implementation with major Smart City projects and multi-city district commissions.
The Future of Cloud Computing
The concept of Cloud computing has been around since the 90s and now has significantly evolved to an estimated size of $210 Bn globally. As per Nasscom, the consolidated Global Cloud computing is almost 10percent of the global IT Spend in 2019 and estimated to grow at CAGR 16.5 per cent and will touch $370 Bn by 2022.
There are three types of popular Cloud services which are popular today: Private Cloud, Public Cloud and Hybrid Cloud technology. While Private and Public Clouds are great to work with and have their benefits, overall Hybrid cloud is here to stay. Major companies today such as Starbucks, Walmart, Flipkart are opting in for Hybrid Cloud technology which is a composition of two or more Cloud Service providers and are unique and act independently. Consider this as a mutual fund investment with a diversified portfolio. You mitigate your risk and spread it across the system.
Going forward up to 80 per cent of large businesses will be opting for a Hybrid-Cloud portfolio as the need of the hour is to maintain 24×7 up-time.
Having discussed the serious disruptor, some other trends which we shall see in the Cloud in the years to come are:
- Edge Computing will be the new wave of disruption: Governments and companies are opting for the local and regional Cloud service providers. Edge Computing refers to essentially setting up a data centre or providing Cloud at the source of the data. This helps in boosting the potential, privacy, security and compliance to policies.
- Machine learning and Real-time analytics will play the role of Tech consultant: How much Cloud data does my company require? Many global Cloud providers have dedicated Machine learning bots, Real-time analytics tools which map each company’s usage in the past year. Feeding this data into their algorithm and then generating a report on user’s utilization, bandwidth and other aspects helps to answer the above relevant question. Machine learning is one of the crucial roles going forward for prescribing the Data need of a company.
- Use of multi-immersive technologies and storytelling to demonstrate Cloud data requirements: Companies such as Microsoft, Amazon AWS are utilizing AR (Augmented reality), Virtual reality, Mixed reality to story-tell and break down the hardcore technology services that they are offering. Visual storytelling through AR, VR is an exciting way to engage CXOs, CTOs and demonstrate the utilization of Cloud and its benefits for their company.
What Should CIOs and IT Executives Keep in Mind?
In recent times, the trend of SAAS (Software as a service), PaaS (Product as a service) has been interchanged with new-age thinking of CaaS (consultation as a service). Today, companies in the advanced markets such as the UK, Germany, South Korea, and the US are outsourcing Cloud data decisions to third part technology professionals. These third-party consultants act as technical support and provide- real-time hands-on support to companies in terms of their data needs, troubleshooting, disaster recovery and backup, Managed Cloud services amongst others.
CIOs, CXOs and CTOs in India are migrating to Cloud computing and seeing the benefits that it brings to their companies. But to cash in on the extra competitive edge, key decision-makers also need to move to the trend of outsourcing and investing in the CaaS model. The right technology partner will assess the company’s needs, recommend the right Cloud partners and manage to efficiently save thousands in operational costs. Basis the next 5 to 10 years of requirements, a company should either scale up and increase data spends or vice-versa. This same model is relevant across other technology offerings as well.
Finally, increase the focus on the kind of customized services/ consultation your technology partner and data service provider offers. A one glove fits all approach doesn’t seem to fend well in the long run as each enterprise is unique in its way. (As told to the Editor)