Cloud computing, which involves using external online servers and storage capacities to process or store information, is the hot topic at the moment, particularly in the IT press. But what exactly is it? Sébastien Enderle, CEO of ASP Serveur and digital maker, explains how and why the cloud can be a game-changer for organisations.
In your opinion, what’s a digital maker today?
More than anything it means being an active player in the digital transformation: facilitating access to digital technology and mobility solutions for top-performing companies – so that they can continue to do so!
What’s the potential of cloud computing for organisations today?
The main advantage is substantial cost savings: around 40% of companies’ IT expenditure, according to Gartner and other research firms.
The second major advantage is it allows companies to turn CAPEX into OPEX, i.e. an investment on a fee basis, which is much more advantageous for them.
The third benefit is in terms of agility: companies can reduce or expand their IT resources and adapt the associated costs. For example, a company that works mainly as an online store will see its business peak during the Christmas period, which means it will need additional computing resources at a specific time. Consuming IT on demand, as and when you need, is now possible, thanks to the cloud.
And yet despite this potential, our 2014 Digital Transformation Survey revealed that 46.3% of businesses have no plans to implement a cloud project. How can we bring about this change?
A number of studies show that companies do have reservations about the cloud. Some think the technology isn’t mature enough, possibly due to problems of standards – or rather, a lack thereof – which raises security issues.
There’s also a psychological barrier: companies like to have everything on their own premises, it makes them feel they have better control over their IT assets, although that’s often not the case.
As you pointed out, security is a major concern. How can you reassure people on that point?
By spreading theword: informing people and then developing the resources to demonstrate, via independent bodies or security standards, that cloud computing can be safer than any other platform.
For example, a lot of companies who outsource with us have achieved 99.99% security rates! We have the security levels assessed by independent organisations and we also measure the annual intrusion rates in our systems. The intrusion rate in data centres like ours is zero.
In terms of availability, an essential security-related element, our servers have a 99.998% availability rate – which is another important aspect of our service.
What are the most effective solutions for data protection in the cloud?
Information! Where security issues are concerned, the human factor is often the biggest problem. Most cloud operators now obviously have a number of physical security systems: logical isolation, anti-DDoS (distributed denial-of-service attack: an attempt to make a machine or network resource unavailable to its users), firewalls and intrusion prevention. But the most important thing is raising awareness of security issues among employees.
There are numerous examples of security leaks; how can we prevent this?
By remembering that IT outsourcing is a specialist profession: you can’t just wing it! Our employees have been trained and are still being trained! So before we roll out any solutions, there’s a consulting phase. We reassure people and explain things, before going into the project phase, then consultant engineers help with change management during the first operational phase.
Guidance and advice is important. Our teams are always available, so our clients have specialist engineers on hand to advise them on changes and future issues and make the right recommendations.
To get the most out of the potential of digital and the cloud, people need to have the technology as early as possible. Should schools be focusing more on the importance of equipment?
I think it’s vital that there is decent teaching and equipment, but that depends to a certain extent on the local education authority. The most important thing is equipment, especially when you look at how far ahead other countries are with this. Luckily, engineering schools in France, and we work with some of them, are very well-equipped and tech-savvy.
What does “Digital for All, Now” mean to you?
It means understanding that the future of your company’s performance is in the cloud, that this technology is really the way to go as it can improve cost-effectiveness and performance, both of which are strategic.
To find out more: the 2014 digital survey:
Photo credit: Tal ETouch (Flickr, licence CC by 2.0)