Q&A: Enterprises to shift more critical applications to the cloud, says Barracuda

February 4th, 2015 | by Aaron Tan
Q&A: Enterprises to shift more critical applications to the cloud, says Barracuda

Even though cloud computing has gone mainstream, there’s still room for growth in the industry as enterprises start to shift more critical applications to the cloud, according to Barracuda Networks, a provider of security and storage products for businesses.

In this month’s Q&A, we got hold of Jeff Hurmuses, area vice president and managing director at Barracuda Networks in Asia-Pacific, to find out more about the state of adoption of cloud computing in the region and which cloud projects are likely to cause the greatest disruption this year.

(Note: The responses have been edited for brevity and house style)

What is the state of adoption of cloud computing in the region? How long would it be before the adoption rates hit a plateau?

The state of adoption of cloud computing has been rapidly increasing in the region. Over the last few years, we have witnessed more and more Asian companies investing in the cloud technology for their businesses. The adoption rate will continue to grow and cloud computing will become a foundation of computing technology moving forward. This is due to increased globalisation of companies and the advantages that cloud computing can bring, including the huge cost-savings and the increase in convenience, flexibility and efficiency among employees.

Industry analysts have continued to predict a continued growth in the cloud industry in the coming year ahead, with the industry expected to grow by more than 20 per cent on the back on increased security and reliability efforts among industry players and the interest in hybrid cloud. While the growth of the cloud industry will eventually slow down in the future, the industry is expected to continue its steady growth in Asia over the next few years.

For 2015, we expect to see an increase in cloud adoption in the Asia-Pacific region. Momentum around adoption of cloud resources for primary workloads will continue to accelerate as companies look to optimise IT management solutions. This has been a trend with startups and very small companies, but the value proposition really starts to look appealing for mid-sized and large companies in 2015. In 2014, many companies evaluated the cloud platforms for use. In 2015 we will see that work turn into real deployments.

What is next after the cloud in enterprise IT?

Cloud is a broad term. Different aspects of cloud will impact the enterprises at different points in time. At this time, enterprises are moving their low risk systems into the clouds. After they achieve confidence in deploying these applications securely they will look for similar optimisations for their more critical applications.

On the consumption side, many applications that organisations currently deploy in-house will become resident in the cloud and may become more cost effective to use, rather than hosting those enterprise applications in the organisation’s own data centre.

Cloud projects are expected to cause the most disruptions in 2015. Can you provide some examples of what those projects might be?

The two biggest disruptions would be the availability of enterprise-class applications in the cloud which would force organisations to evaluate whether they want to continue using the existing applications that are hosted in their own data centres or evaluate the cloud based enterprise level applications.

The second disruption is leveraging the cloud scale infrastructure to host the non-critical or semi-critical applications in the public cloud. These include data crunching applications for big data analysis, as well as third party apps like video streaming of major events.

Cloud security standards are still evolving. Meanwhile, what can the industry do to better address the security concerns that companies may have about the cloud?

Increased security standards, threat detection and preventive measures are fundamental for the cloud industry to grow. This is why it is not surprising that in a recent report published, cloud security is the strongest-growing area in the general network security market.

While cloud security is still a top concern, as more and more organisations are moving to the cloud and witnessing real benefits the perceived risk of using cloud services among C-level executives and IT leaders is going down. However industry players will need to continue developing updates and solutions in order to increase the confidence for the cloud.

At Barracuda, we have been working round the clock to ensure that our product and services are able to help our customers to address security threats and to protect their data while enhancing network performance.

In terms of cloud security standards, the three main issues that need to be addressed are:

1. How is data encrypted in transit and at rest? It is not sufficient to only encrypt the connection and ignore encrypting the data in the cloud or vice versa.
2. We need to have the data centres themselves audited for security.
3. What are the compensation controls? For example, is the data stored in a distributed manner so as to ensure that if one data centre goes offline, will the data still be available?

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