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Protect data on the cloud

Rising demand for flexible working modes means enterprises need to have data available always—anytime, anywhere yet tightly secured

With nearly 25% of all IT workloads being managed on the cloud today, and the number expected to double by 2021, it is evident that the traditional on-premises IT environment is undergoing a profound change, said Arun Parameswaran, managing director, VMware India.

The business landscape today is changing constantly and a significant number of forward-thinking Indian enterprises are adopting new-age technologies, such as social media, mobility, cloud computing and analytics to enhance business agility and efficiency. Among these, cloud computing seems to be the most discussed and adopted technology in the enterprise sector. The worldwide cloud computing market is expected to grow to $191 billion by 2020, according to analyst firm Forrester, up from $91 billion in 2015.

There are numerous advantages of cloud computing: lower cost, faster time to market, and increased employee productivity. More and more employees use public cloud applications to discuss work-related topics today. However, the security of data on the cloud is a key concern.

While most enterprises are getting better at protecting themselves against traditional threats, new threats mean that IT security is amongst the top business priorities. A recent study by VMware, the $7-billion US-based cloud infrastructure and business mobility firm, points out that while enterprises —large, medium as well as small—are keen to adopt cloud computing to enhance business agility and efficiency, information security and cloud services is expected to have maximum impact on businesses in the next 3-5 years.

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Cloud security matters

The study, conducted by market research firm Kantar IMRB, identifies key CIO priorities in India for the next three years. As per the research findings, even though enterprises are progressively looking for a modern business environment, they are concerned about having a proper security environment in place owing to the open nature of the Internet and increasing cyber threats. Almost 86% of organisations see their IT budget increasing over the next three years and 80% of businesses are willing to invest time, money and skill on cloud services.

The study surveyed IT leaders and decision makers from a number of Indian companies across various verticals, ranging from medium-sized enterprises to very large organisations. The survey was conducted across five industry verticals including manufacturing, banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), government/ PSU / defense, IT/ ITeS/ telecom and other services such as media, healthcare, retail and other professional services.

“With nearly 25% of all IT workloads being managed on the cloud today, and the number expected to double by 2021, it is evident that the traditional on-premises IT environment is undergoing a profound change,” says Arun Parameswaran, managing director, VMware India. “Today, CIOs play an extremely essential role in their organisations’ IT, and it is of utmost importance to have enterprise data available always—anytime and anywhere while tightly secured.”

Minimising risks

Companies are willing to invest time, money and skills on cloud services, and currently the adoption of the public cloud is high compared to that of private/hybrid cloud. Only basic data such as emails, messaging services, CRM are stored on the public cloud owing to data security concerns.

The study findings reveal that very large enterprises (80%), large enterprises (83%) and medium enterprises (82%) are likely to invest in private cloud. Likewise, a high majority of them are also keen to invest in public and hybrid cloud.

While business and performance is a key priority, the study indicates that IT security is now a major concern and has gone up the business priorities list.

Around 87% of respondents in the IT/ ITeS/ telecom sector; 55% in the manufacturing sector; 64% in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI); 53% in government/public sector/defence; and 65% from other services agree IT security is amongst the top business priorities.

Interestingly, despite increase in IT budgets in very large enterprises, CIOs are unhappy as the budget is either insufficient or not aligned properly. The findings also indicate that respondents from the government (70%) and BFSI (67%) feel that budget for security should increase by 25% over the next year.

Technology and market trends are forcing rapid changes to enterprise IT —especially in regard to how corporate networks are secured. Companies increasingly store sensitive data on the cloud. The cloud is here to stay, and companies must balance the risks of cloud services with the clear benefits they bring. The good news is that Indian CIOs are revving up their act to fortify their digital frontiers, even on the cloud.

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