By the end of 2019, 60% of business will have moved their operations primarily to a SaaS model and away from on-premises, according to a recent 451 Research survey. Amazon and Microsoft have traction in the cloud market for these businesses, of course. 35% say that Microsoft will become their most strategic cloud partner, while 17% name Amazon. That’s a bit of a surprise since Amazon has consistently been the top cloud provider—though the market is changing now that there’s competition. Oracle and Google are in the mix, too. Top SaaS priorities for the businesses surveyed include BI and analytics (45% expressed interest), then AI and machine learning (29% interested). Big data, containers and software-defined networking also made the list.
Though many companies have started moving to public cloud platforms, many still aren’t seeing the benefits. Some tips here on public cloud success include not treating the cloud as a data center, and focusing instead on platforms; and use code wisely in cloud governance. In addition, companies using public cloud should look at new ways to create and enforce development blueprints. They may instead create blueprints with only default information, then store other information as configuration artifacts. Beyond these details, one big tip resonates with what IT’s overall role is: start with the user problem, not with the possible solution. Find ways to meet customer needs immediately, such as by offering cloud-run apps right away.
Another recent survey, this one from McKinsey, found that only 40% of companies have more than 10% of workloads in the public cloud, but that 80% plan to have 10% or more in the public cloud in three years, or will double their current cloud use. One interesting finding in the study is that most CISOs have reached a new way of thinking about cloud security. Instead of asking if the cloud is secure, they’re figuring out how to use cloud services in the most secure way, and understanding that cloud providers’ security is often better than their own on-prem security processes and practices. It isn’t enough to simply move existing security controls into the cloud without reconfiguration. McKinsey recommends reassessing cybersecurity based on the network perimeter definition and how application architectures might need to be updated for the cloud.
In private cloud news, the Defense Department’s $500 million cloud infrastructure will go live next week. Military and defense customers will move unclassified information to the new cloud, with plans to host classified data by 2019. (Though if there’s one industry that will probably keep some For Your Eyes Only secrets in an on-premises server, it’s the military.) The first iteration of this cloud suffered from slow provision times and other issues that affected user experience. There’s also the chance of a future commercial contract for this cloud later in the year, so vendor swaps could also enter the picture. These many twists and turns along the cloud path will likely sound familiar to at least some of you in IT who have been working on cloud infrastructure.