Cloud Computing Challenges for the Modern Enterprise

Date:   Tuesday , October 01, 2013

CipherGraph Networks is a provider of secure cloud based VPN services. The company was founded in 2011 and has raised an undisclosed amount from The Social+Capital Partnership.

Business at the Speed of Cloud

The cloud industry is experiencing a growth of 17.4 percent (CAGR). In absolute terms, the industry will grow by an additional $139 billion over the next five years. Cloud security industry is growing at an even faster pace, a staggering 23 percent. The reason for this explosive growth is that cloud has helped a lot of businesses in smart decision making and in general freeing businesses from managing their own IT.

Yet, cloud computing is in its infancy. The world is yet to truly benefit from the cloud. At the root of it is mostly skepticism.
Cloud will Transform every Domain
If you have any doubts about cloud computing completely and steadily transforming your domain, you should think again. Your domain and industry is changing whether you like it or not. Adaptation will not be optional.
“Software Defined x” is taking over the traditional models. The cloud has elastic compute and elastic storage and now there is also elastic security built right into the cloud; people are calling it “Cloud Native Security”. CipherGraph pioneered this technology years ago. It is only recently that people are truly understanding that a model like ours is capable of much higher performance, reliability, geographical redundancy and failover zones; something that is impossible if you host an on-premise datacenter.

Cloud computing gives businesses the ability to move fast and change direction rapidly at very little costs. The cost of making a mistake is incredibly low and it brings powerful tools to the hands of almost any business. Let’s take “Big-data”, which is a buzzword. It is not that people did not understand the power of analytics for business earlier, but the cloud has made this possible at an unprecedented scale and within reach of the smallest of enterprises.

Our own Challenge

When I founded CipherGraph Networks over two years ago, I was often requested by people to explain what cloud computing really is. I realized that people are still confused and not too many understand it. You cannot leverage what you do not understand.
For some, cloud computing was all about virtual machines while to others like Salesforce, it was mainly about SaaS services. The way I define it, as it stands currently is “the ability to use apps and data without needing to manage dedicated infrastructure for each service and to rent this management/hosting”. It’s a naďve way to explain it, but it serves as a good basis for further explanation and refinement.

The ability to only pay for what you consume enables incredibly nimble business. In various ways it is commoditization of IT and everything that is built on top of it. For instance, CipherGraph CAG is an enterprise grade cloud security solution that you can pay for by actual usage. Powerful business tools at a low cost allow you to focus on your business and drop the threshold for entry to the most ambitious business goals.

The Security Impedance

In the recent past, several security breaches have happened to even the most reputed of the organizations, costing them millions of dollars. Security breaches and data loss/leakage are expensive and they tarnish your brand. So, the lack of understanding of security is the biggest inhibitor to cloud adoption.

The CAGR of 23 percent of Cloud Security is higher than cloud industry growth, since security is only now coming to the spotlight. Cloud deployments are not implicitly secure, but neither are datacenters. The sooner you understand that you can easily match your datacenter’s security on the cloud with the right tools, the earlier you can start reaping the benefits. AWS winning the U.S. government contracts is a testimony to the benefits of cloud computing, yet being secure.

Never use yesterday’s tools or anything with fixed capacity/performance for something where the core benefit itself is growing capacity and performance. Hoping to match cloud with a datacenter as disaster recovery may seem like a good idea, but soon the cost of keeping up your fixed infrastructure will get harder and much more expensive. Worst of all, it will preclude you from using cloud technology that has no parallel in the datacenter world. Talk to experts to help you make the right choice, start small, recalibrate based on your needs.

Cloud needs New Perspective

Last decade was all about building infrastructure. People spent disproportionate amount of time estimating their compute and storage needs. To manage this, they expanded large IT staff to manage the datacenters and maintain services. Every change needed to go through a slow process of approval. It was a simpler time, but was expensive and made you decide things an average of three years in advance. The cloud came and changed it all. Setting up a full blown CRM service is a matter of minutes. Some enterprises have spent as much as $0.5 million just in the first year to secure their cloud with hardware and fixed infrastructure. CipherGraph does that at a fraction of the costs without hardware. What’s worse is that their solution is paid upfront and has fixed capacity. If they overrun their estimate or there is a change in technology, it will cost them even more to fix it.

Stay Ahead of the Curve

The battle for cloud and virtualization turf is fierce, and for good reason. There will be a tipping point where the volumes of hardware will drop below a threshold and the only place where it will remain relevant will be niche/highly specialized areas. For everything else that can run on commodity hardware, the tech advances will quickly surpass the capabilities of even the biggest datacenter setups. The cloud growth is exponential and its pace is already unforgiving. You need to start now to stay ahead of the curve.