2016: The year of divide and conquer in the cloud

Every year since 2008, we’ve been told that we’re in the year of the cloud. I’m both amused and frustrated by the discussions on the cloud at times, especially when they fail to consider the realities of adoption.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Every year since 2008 has been Year Of The #Cloud, are we done with that yet? ” user=”comparethecloud”]

I do not believe the cloud should be compared to a four letter word, far from it, but it can’t be the best at everything, for every business requirement. According to Rightscale, 82 percent of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy, however, most predictions and statistics fail to point out the amount of a business’s operations choosing to adopt cloud technology. I’m certain that 82 percent aren’t simply migrating everything to the cloud. Could some of these organisations just be adopting cloud at the departmental level? A handful of employees might have just found an effective cloud-based tool that assisted with a particular task.

I agree that cloud adoption is rapidly on the rise. Growth in demand is evident, and according to IDC’s Dan Vesset spending on cloud technology will grow 4.5 times faster than for on-premises equivalents in 2016. I also believe 2016 will be a year when enterprises closely examine the data and applications they are using in the cloud, and the business implications. Migration to the cloud impacts regulatory compliance, operational performance, and systems integration. As such, I expect adoption decisions to be more nuanced in 2016. Enterprises will look at what they can shift to the cloud, what might work best in a hybrid environment and the tools that may be better placed on-premises.

Migration to the cloud impacts regulatory compliance, operational performance, and systems integration

Consequently, 2016 will be the year of data classification and data management. One major reason for this has been the growth of concern around security. In just one week in October 2015, we saw three significant data breaches in the UK alone: TalkTalk, British Gas and Marks & Spencer. On top of this, just last month the European Union announced that it had agreed on a proposal for a Network and Information Security directive, aiming to better protect European citizens’ data. This follows the ruling that the Safe Harbour agreement, the means by which data was transferred between Europe and the United States, was invalid and in breach of European law – and is being replaced by a more rigorous framework known as the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. The result has been an increased focus amongst the business community on information, how it is being stored and the safest means to transfer it.

[easy-tweet tweet=”#Data classification and management are becoming increasingly important when deciding on #cloud solutions”]

In this environment, data classification and management are becoming increasingly important when deciding between public cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployments when determining where to store and distribute company data. Interestingly, in research examining the most influential factors for enterprises considering data transfer, key cloud benefits and selling points such as any time access to data are cited as less important than issues of compliance and software integration. The research highlights demand for clarity of data over the productivity benefits of the cloud.

Making a decision on how to house data, without clear classification based on thorough considerations to the business implications may mean future issues or vulnerabilities. An effective cloud or hybrid migration must include an examination of the types of data different departments of an enterprise are holding. What data is used for, who needs access to it, how much control they are required to have over it, and how much latency is tolerable are all critical factors.

Classifying data in this way, putting it into boxes, will in many cases reveal issues with moving entire enterprises to the cloud. These could include anything as complex as compliance, to something as simple as compatibility issues.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Putting #data into boxes, will in many cases reveal issues with moving entire enterprises to the #cloud” user=”comparethecloud”]

Ultimately, choosing an approach to managing data requires a divide and conquer approach. The decision is no longer about which is more secure. Cloud, on-premises and hybrid approaches each have their own benefits and require an evaluation of business needs. On-premises models offer the additional component of control over an organisation’s network, cloud models can be quickly deployed and scaled fast to meet changing needs, often making them more cost efficient as a result, and hybrid models combine the best of both these models.

In short, I expect 2016 to be the year organisations get to grips with the cloud vs. on-premises debate and choose to divide and conquer, producing bespoke solutions based on their unique needs.

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