Q: However, there are still some enterprises that prefer to wait-and-see. What factors are hindering these organisations from moving to the cloud? How should enterprises overcome these barriers?
Chong: We see two main factors that affect enterprises' decision to embrace cloud.
1. Rethinking security
As mentioned previously, there are a lot of misconceptions about cloud that are centered on security. When moving from a server-centric infrastructure to an application-centric Cloud infrastructure, security needs to be rethought. Network-based threats, such as SYN floods (a form of denial-of-service attack), are an enterprise's real concern. In addition, many fear losing control to third-party service providers. These are issues that can be addressed by having a strict selection process of cloud service providers and proactive management through service-level agreements (SLAs). Many successful companies have gone into the cloud by looking at their service providers as their strategic partners, instead of vendors. In return, service providers are highly motivated to protect their own reputation by offering the best security available. If in doubt, it is highly advisable to move the application to the cloud first, while keeping the database at the company's own data center.
2. Integration and Management woes
Moving to the cloud requires integration and management. For a homogeneous environment, this is simple. In reality, many enterprises have heterogeneous environments that have grown organically over the years as they constantly add applications and services for employees and/or customers. So integrating and managing different environments, including legacy ones, and applications, which may be highly customised, from data centres to the cloud can be a challenge. When not deployed properly, the adoption of cloud can complicate management and create inconsistent user experiences. A thorough study of one's own infrastructure and using a phased approach to cloud migration can help to reduce integration anxiety. Using clouds as test beds for integration can also reduce impact on actual business or the production environment.
Q: How are the early adopters of cloud in Hong Kong using the cloud?
Chong: Enterprises in Hong Kong often see clouds providing benefits in two main areas: Cost reduction and improved competitiveness. Many have embraced cloud to shift their IT expenditure model from a capital expenditure-driven one to an operating expenditure-based one. By subscribing to resources on demand, enterprises can easily scale up or out according to business needs without having to invest time and money in deploying these in-house. As a result, organisations are becoming more agile and flexible to market demands, improving overall competitiveness as well as operational readiness.
Provision of new application is now easier, as clouds become the preferred platform for delivery. This allows businesses to quickly meet new demands or explore new opportunities, without having to purchase and deploy new hardware, and worry about utilisation rate.