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2016 cloud predictions for APAC's IT transformation journey

John Engates, Chief Technology Officer, Rackspace | Jan. 14, 2016
John Engates of Rackspace predicts how the cloud market will change this year.

Even with those advantages, though, it's clear that companies are still wary of cloud security in general. As the report from the Asian Cloud Computing Association notes, "there is no doubt that security is one of the most critical requirements across the board [in APAC]". Some parts of APAC, including Hong Kong, have been slower to embrace the cloud partly because of the size of its finance industry, which is generally the most risk-averse.

Yet the reality is, on-premises IT infrastructure is often far less secure than the cloud.

In fact, a search of the 155 data breaches in 2014 tied to hacking or malware compiled by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse finds the vast majority took place on-premises and in other proprietary systems, while only around 10 percent took place in the cloud.

Data is another reason we'll see continued migration to the cloud. Last year I noted that it's growing exponentially and companies needed secure but accessible ways to store and analsze it. Next year, we'll see more companies pressured, both internally and by the market, to use and monetise all that data. Think of Uber versus the cab industry. Uber uses data to understand who their customers are, where and when they need rides, and to continually optimize their business model.

Cab companies had this data but didn't understand how to put it to use; Uber, born in the cloud, is a data company first, transportation company second. For traditional and enterprise companies to compete, they must back their way into becoming data companies. I recently attended the FutureStack conference, hosted by New Relic, which helps companies see and unlock the potential in their data, and I saw numerous examples of companies surfacing insights from the data already flowing through their company in the form of web and mobile transaction logs and e-commerce data. New Relic themselves have begun to literally transform their own business from a monitoring service to a data and analytics company.

And that's also why the Internet of Things is becoming so powerful. It gives companies access to an ongoing stream of data. Last year I talked about how more items would have sensors on them, collecting gold mines of data that now need to be tapped. In the coming year, we'll see more pressure for interoperable standards among IoT device makers. Will Apple, with its HomeKit and HealthKit standards muscle past Google's attempt with Brillo, Weave, and Thread? Will we see a split ecosystem, a la iPhone and Android? Or will we see an emergence of a viable open source solution?

But security and privacy remain issues with IoT (as they do everywhere). I see consumers lagging while companies and governments climb onboard the IoT train, but I also see those issues as livable speed bumps in the continued growth of our wired and connected world.


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