The third platform will result in 'phenomenal' changes
Perception of cloud security needs to be changed
STORAGE solutions provider EMC Corporation is aiming to expand its market in Malaysia this year, driven mainly by growth in the so-called 'third platform,' which analyst firm IDC defines as mobile devices and apps, cloud services, mobile broadband networks, big data analytics and social technologies.
According to EMC Malaysia managing director Cheam Tat Inn (pic), the company is well-positioned to serve demand and address issues arising from the emergence of this third platform.
The first platform was in the mainframe era, while the second platform, which most companies are still in, revolves around client-server networking, he said.
“As you move into the third platform, you will see a few phenomenal [changes]. First, devices ... [in] the third platform are significantly more. The applications are fast, small and functional. When it comes to data, there are now a lot more unstructured data ... you have images voice, and massive text all over the place.
“As a business, how do you make decisions now? How do you analyse all this information? And most importantly, how do you take advantage of this shift and position yourself so that you will be among the market leaders in this new platform?
"This is where the EMC 'federation' of companies come in,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) recently, referring to EMC and its subsidiaries such as VMware Corp and RSA Security.
Cheam said that trends like big data and cloud services could also play important roles in companies' IT roadmaps. Many are also on board the big data trend, and more will jump on over the next few years.
"In fact, we [EMC] ourselves are using big data analytics to see what our customers are likely to be spending on in the next one, two or three years. So, instead of getting our [sales] representatives to bang on every door, we can move the sales team more effectively,” he said.
He said that telcos could also be big users of big data analytics, not only to develop the right products and packages, but also in improving network quality.
“It’s not there yet, but it’s a thought process. With the data that telcos collect, they can actually know which area will have network congestion at a certain time period. Once they have these data, they can boost the signal at the particular area at a designated time in an automated manner,” he said.
Changing cloud perceptions
According to a Bloomberg report citing Forrester Research, the cloud market is expected to grow from US$58 billion last year to US$72 billion this year. The research firm also expects corporate spending on cloud-computing services, software and resources to hit US$191 billion by 2020.
While Cheam said the growth potential is enormous and there are still a lot of untapped opportunities, he said for the cloud to truly soar, there would need to be changes in regulatory frameworks.
“The moment you go to the cloud, your data could be sitting in Singapore or Jakarta ... it could be anywhere in the world. Take Google for example -- you don’t know where all your email is kept right now,” he said.
So far, many companies, including banks and telecommunications providers, are not storing critical data on the cloud, mainly due to security concerns, he said.
“I think the mentality is that, if you put my data in another country, my fear is that the data is much more easily stolen by unscrupulous people.
“However, look at Amazon and Google -- you trust them with your data because you have the feeling that they are very secure,” Cheam said.
He also asked why there’s concern about security when the cloud service is provided by a local company, when the technologies, in essence, are the same.
Cheam believes the key to changing perception of cloud security would be to create greater awareness and educate stakeholders.
“It is all about understanding the cloud framework, about how your data is going to be secure, what the parameters, processes, procedures and management controls are around this to ensure that data is tightly secured.
“That’s where EMC has the total framework, from the infrastructure to the software layer and on to the security layer,” he claimed.
Although the global regulatory framework is still not ready, companies from large enterprsies to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are jumping onto the cloud bandwagon.
“I’m seeing companies putting email on the cloud, putting CRM (customer relationship management) on the cloud. Payroll, invoicing, those can go on the cloud because it doesn’t make sense to buy servers just for some of this stuff,” said Cheam.
Meanwhile, Cheam is confident that EMC is all set for a growth year in 2014, backed by its third platform strategy.
“Last year, the industry went through a challenging time. According to IDC, the IT industry actually declined, and this is up to September 2013. For us, based on IDC numbers, we still gained market share.
“This means, we have taken share from the other competitors,” he claimed.
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