“What was working in 2020 may not suit the needs in 2021. The speed at which many companies had to shift to the cloud has allowed for errors and inefficiencies.” says Jim Demetrius, Cloud Infrastructure Architect at TBI, in an exclusive interview with EnterpriseTalk.
ET Bureau: What has been the impact of COVID-19 on demand for cloud services?
Jim Demetrius: When the pandemic hit, businesses globally scrambled to adapt to working remotely. They needed to quickly find solutions that kept their businesses running and functioning as smoothly as possible, including rushing to the cloud. In fact, the global cloud services market was valued at $264.8 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $927.51 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 16.4%.
Something that arose in 2020 that industries are continuing to experience are businesses taking advantage of AI and CPaaS with SMS technology and more customers continuing to move their on-premise voice to the cloud. The reasoning for this movement of equipment is straight forward as many businesses realize that they could not easily access their infrastructure during the pandemic, which could prove catastrophic in the event of an issue occurring.
This will continue to be a popular trend moving into 2021. As businesses are still figuring out how much of their workforce is willing to opt to work remotely permanently, that will determine the amount of equipment they move out of the traditional business location.
ET Bureau: What kind of impact is widespread implementation of remote working having on cloud software and cloud security?
Jim Demetrius: 76% of American CEOs say their company will need less office space in the future. With the switch to remote working, there have been various changes to business infrastructures when it comes to the cloud.
What sticks out is the acceleration of voice and team collaboration tools. With the implementation of remote work and many businesses shutting down or shrinking their commercial spaces – some indefinitely – these tools have been deemed essential to the modern workplace.
Companies are also choosing a variety of cloud options to best suit their business needs, such as moving to a private or public cloud or even a colocation facility. Working in a virtual setting has also allowed businesses to redirect costly expenditures for real estate to be used to transform and grow their businesses as a distributed workforce.
As for cloud security, the method for securing the work-from-home employee will fall into two buckets: companies moving to a full zero trust security model resembling SASE or the cheaper option where existing solutions will be adopted to a greater degree.
For companies unwilling or unable to afford moving to a full zero trust architecture, there will be primarily DNS security and endpoint protection. In this case, businesses will be looking to fill the gaps with cyber security awareness trainings, providing their users the knowledge to avoid what falls through the cracks.
ET Bureau: In what ways can businesses effectively alter their cloud strategy to be the most successful in 2021?
Jim Demetrius: What was working in 2020 may not suit the needs in 2021. The speed at which many companies had to shift to the cloud has allowed for errors and inefficiencies. With almost everything falling under the cloud umbrella now, it’s hard to decipher what the company actually needs moving forward and what was a short-term solution to a pain-point experienced in the early days of the new remote working culture.
This is why it is necessary for businesses to carefully reevaluate their current infrastructure in order to be the most successful this year.
Moving the business to a managed hosting provider or cloud provider of some type will help to alleviate large capital costs and improve the availability and durability of systems that run the business.
ET Bureau: What are some of the major challenges – from a technical and business perspective – for businesses when looking to migrate to the cloud?
Jim Demetrius: As the year progresses, the last thing businesses want to worry about is how their business’s infrastructure is running and the serviceability needs of that equipment. That being said, a challenge for these leaders may be finding the perfect agile and protected space, whether it be colocation, managed hosting, public cloud, or private cloud, to move their on-premise equipment to.
Before making this decision, it’s important to get the disaster recovery and business continuity plans in place and up to date. To maximize on cloud investments, businesses must be strategic.
Although attractive, some cloud capabilities may not be well-suited for the business and run the risk of costly, uncontrolled expenses. Businesses benefit from doing research on the setup that best fits their needs and seeking out expert advice when necessary.
ET Bureau: Do organizations go into migration plans without enough knowledge of cloud providers, technical demands, etc.? What is the advice you would give businesses worried about making the wrong decisions like vendor lock-in?
Jim Demetrius: The best way to avoid making the wrong decision or choosing the wrong vendor is to consider the business reasons for needing cloud services. One of the biggest mistakes made when migrating to the cloud needs the same resources that businesses did with their own data-center.
It would be advisable to first start assessing the business continuity plans if they are not sure what to do with the business systems. Ask the important questions; what will one do in the event of a failure of the current systems? Is there a DR plan to recover and run business-critical systems that keep the workforce productive, active, and bringing in revenue? If the answer is no to either of these, doing a self-assessment can give a better understanding of where the business stands.
Investing money into an assessment, whether it be cloud, network, security, or voice, will pay itself back and reveal areas in need of improvement that are often overlooked while running day-to-day operations.
ET Bureau: What are some of the cloud trends that businesses need to look out for in 2021?
Jim Demetrius: Moving into 2021, businesses will continue to execute plans to move to cloud solutions and colocation solutions as they make sense. Members of all departments will need to give input on what they need to run the business so strategic decisions can be made. These moves toward cloud compute usage and smarter data center solutions will include COLO, Managed Hosting, Public/Private Cloud, and Hybrid, to name a few. These allow companies to save money and maintain a more durable solution in running their business.
5G for business will also be leading the charge and will bring speed and agility to backup solutions and reach remote locations that were previously isolated. There may also be the continued growth of IoT devices and the generous amounts of data they create. Now that there are more cost-effective technologies like 5G and edge compute at our disposal, businesses will be able to grow and prosper in locations other than metropolitan areas that had them tied to services in the past.
Jim brings over 30 years of experience to TBI and has worked with fortune 100 companies to provide IT solutions that allow them to grow their business securely and cost-effectively. He’s an accomplished Solution Architect working in all aspects of the IT lifecycle for business; solutions of focus include complex managed hosting, cloud, colocation, and hybrid computing.