Why compliance concerns are pushing more big companies to the cloud

Cloud migration is accelerating as companies face compliance, security, and control concerns.

Why compliance concerns are pushing more big companies to the cloud Cloud migration is accelerating as companies face compliance, security, and control concerns.

TechRepublic's Karen Roby and Vineet Jain, co-founder and CEO of Egnyte, a cloud sharing company, talked about cloud adoption and why some companies are hesitant to move toward a cloud setup. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

SEE: Cloud providers 2019: A buyer's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Vineet Jain: In the current climate and looking into the future, we are seeing an acceleration of workloads from on-prem(ises) infrastructure, from on-prem applications into the cloud. That trend is clearly established. I don't think that's going to change, it's only accelerating.

But one of the things which might appear a little bit counterintuitive, is as the adoption curve, the classical bell curve, that you see from early adopters to mainstream before it starts flagging down, we're seeing it's gone past the early adopters, it's more mainstream. But one of the interesting trends that I'm seeing is two issues are popping up.

One is why there's an inexorable push to move the workload to the cloud, your data to the cloud, your applications to the cloud, for all the reasons why the cloud is becoming popular. Nobody wants to manage hardware, maintenance, capital efficiency, CAPEX v. OPEX transformation. But along with that, there's literally, I would say linear, almost an exponential concern around data security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Furthermore, that gets accentuated as you see the adoption being done by not the small-medium businesses, but larger and larger classes of companies, where there's more at stake in terms of any compliance violation, whether it's GDPR or CCPA or FINRA, depending on your nature and class of industry. So there's a growing concern that while I want to move to the cloud--I being the CSO, IT CIO, IT director--I'm also overly concerned about losing control of my data because it used to be behind my firewall

So that palpable sense of losing control, it's not just perception, it's a reality that you have to address. And we've seen that, and of course it gets further underlying when you hear about data breaches. The more so like how many millions of credit cards were exposed in the Marriott fiasco, or Target, or what have you. So that's one trend, that they are adopting the cloud, but their concern around data security, data privacy, and compliance is going up to the roof.

The second piece, which goes into a little bit of big-company consulting-speak, like at KPMG where I used to work in my prior years, is the issue of change management. And what that means is, simply stated, we were used to working a certain way. We being, IT being the central control point, but the end users being departments, whether it's finance, whether it's marketing or sales. They were used to doing things a certain way.

SEE: IT pro's guide to effective change management (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

There was a level of comfort and there's inertia that, "Hey, I like doing it this way." And now you get this cloud, while you get the ease of use, the unlimited disk in the sky, the elasticity, I don't want to deal with change. I being the average Joe, the average user. So change management is a very critical aspect that is coming up more and more as you go in further upstream in terms of the class of customers that are adopting the cloud.

Karen Roby: I know your Twitter handle is @CloudNotEnough, and you established that name over a decade ago. So do you still think there's a great deal of adoption ahead of us?

Vineet Jain: I still maintain, Karen, that it'll be a relevant Twitter handle for the next 10 years. Despite my earlier comment that we started this conversation with, that there'll be more and more workloads going to the cloud, more data going to the cloud, simply because I believe that if you remember this term "paperless office," I was looking on Wikipedia, Businessweek claimed that they invented this in 1975.

Now, does it mean that you don't see paper at all, it's all digitized? The answer is no. I mean, I still have a newspaper lying on my desk. I still have my notepad. But you don't see a lot of paper. You don't see file cabinets or stuff like that. It's all been digitized.

So my point is that you see paper, less of it, but more specialized forms. In a similar way, data is going to be where more and more data, and more and more apps will go to the cloud. But the role of on-prem, the role of applications running, a subset of them running on-prem, for a variety of reasons, technical reasons, compliance reasons, large files being a problem, I'm in a zone where connectivity's poor, so I believe the word will be "hybrid."

SEE: Hybrid cloud: A guide for IT pros (free PDF) (TechRepublic) 

Now when I say hybrid, it doesn't mean every company has to be hybrid. It depends on your use cases, your workload. So one of our customers, like Red Bull worldwide, it runs off the cloud. But then one of our customers, Coach, which you would know, Kate Spade and everything they've acquired, they're hybrid.

So my point is you cannot straightjacket people into the cloud. Not today, not tomorrow, not three years from now. You have to give them either the training wheels to go to the cloud or let them live in a dual world, where it's hybrid. But the end user cares about getting to their job in the fastest possible fashion, with the device that they have, from whichever location they are.

Karen Roby: In many studies that we've cited here on TechRepublic, we've shown findings that prove that in order to attract top tech talent, you've got to accommodate remote workers. So, the cloud will only help further that requirement… right?

Vineet Jain: The one big driving factor for the cloud, in my opinion, is the increasingly disputed nature of your workforce. The old days of where I could keep everybody in the same office, and obviously that's a very big problem in the cities like where we are, Silicon Valley, or in New York, or in Boston, or in Chicago, that actually is a problem everywhere. Try opening up an office in Portland, which may not be a tier-one city, but it's a tier-two city in terms of its tech pool. 

But my point is, it's impossible to find talent in different spheres, in requisite numbers, in one location anymore. You have to go where the talent is. And you can call it people allowed to work from home or people working as remote workers, the reality is--and I'm a 100% believer in this--is go where the talent is, and then leverage the cloud and all these remote working methods to create one logical office.

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