Few would argue that, by now, cloud computing has well and truly come of age. But what does that actually mean for firms considering a move into the cloud?
According to Steve Blanche, chief technology officer for Ergo, the cloud has fully arrived as a means of doing business in Ireland. In particular, he said, the IT industry is entering a new period in which business people have begun to have faith in the technology, in its security and in its reliability.
“Considerations around security and reliability have melted away, and people are moving to the cloud en masse in terms of mail platforms, data platforms and collaboration platforms. It just makes so much more sense and lends itself to the direction everybody is going in, which is embracing the digital workplace, mobile applications and working at various times of the day or night,” he said.
“The reality is that when it comes to executive-type jobs, nobody is really doing nine to five any more. That’s gone out the window. We have to answer email during our dinner and breakfast, and take conference calls in the car when we are going different places and so forth. We are not bound to offices, we are definitely mobile and we are definitely operating outside the realms of traditional work hours.”
For better or worse, this is rapidly becoming the working landscape that many professionals find themselves operating in, and it is powered by cloud and mobility services.
“People are just adopting it in their droves. But, at the same time, larger customers are looking at moving enterprise applications out of their traditional on-site data centre services and private environments. They are taking sundry services like back-ups and putting them in a cloud service so they don’t have to invest in additional disc, tape and archiving of all of that data,” said Blanche.
“Managing the lifecycle of that data in-house or outsourcing it is becoming easier. Putting it online takes care of all that — you can set retention periods, and create policies around the type of data that gets stored. In addition, we are introducing factors like rights management where everything gets tagged, so that it is in compliance with the general data protection regulation (GDPR) that is coming in next year.”
This is an important incentive for companies struggling to know how to deal with the obligations that GDPR will expose them to.
“A member of the public can say ‘I want you to delete all your data related to me’ and you can do it, revoking access to all that data in the back-ups and archives as well. You have got to make it quick, easy and automated to remove that kind of access for the data compliance that is coming online,” said Blanche.
GDPR is a big concern for Irish companies at the moment, including for those that offer services which can be used to make firms compliant. They have to make sure that they, too, are capable of meeting the regulation demands
“We have a programme of work internally to make ourselves GDPR compliant, and obviously our customers are also asking us for our expertise. But it is a massive load of work in order to put that compliance in place. It’s important to say that it’s also the right thing to do because it’s a fact that there have been abuses and misuse of data in the industry, especially personal data, in the absence of regulations,” said Blanche.
“We’re also all operating in a world where cyber threats are out there, and identity theft is one of the biggest of those cyber threats. This move to a more privacy-sensitive world has to be done, and history will look at the introduction of the GDPR as a responsible and ethical thing. But it is also a major inconvenience for everybody to suddenly be faced with.”
Blanche believes that cloud technologies can be a substantial help in helping companies become GDPR compliant.
“When you have a substantial degree of automation software running in your organisation from the likes of Microsoft, for example, then it helps a lot in organising your data. How do you keep track of the data you collect; how it is stored; how long will you keep it for, and when staff leave, what happens to the data they collected? Is it automatically deleted? Is it archived for a certain period? You could automate all of that so much more easily in the cloud, because all the back-end complexity has been built by the cloud providers,” he said.
To learn more about how cloud computing can benefit your business, talk to one of our experts here today.
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