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Giving clarity on the cloud

last updated 19 May 2017

CloudAsia 2017 explored the different issues surrounding this fast growing technology for businesses.

20170519 cloudasia main

CloudAsia, the premier Cloud Computing event for Asia, returned for its 14th edition this year with the theme "Precipitating Borderless Inteligence for Applications: A Smart Nation Powered by Cloud". 

By Linda Lim

More Singapore businesses are migrating their operations to the cloud in an effort to boost efficiency amidst an increasingly digital economy. Against this backdrop, regional and international experts gathered at CloudAsia 2017 held from 11 to 13 April to share the latest best practices and innovations in cloud adoption, security and the value that the technology delivers.

The rate of adoption for public cloud and private cloud services, as well as a hybrid of both, is expected to accelerate this year as enterprises seek to improve productivity and better serve their customers, said Tim Sheedy, Principal Analyst serving CIOs at Forrester and one of the speakers at the event.

According to research by Forrester, the global public cloud market will grow to over US$146 billion in 2017, up from just US$87 billion in 2015 and growing at a 22 percent compound annual growth rate.

“There are exciting times ahead for cloud deployment. Cloud is the capability that will drive many businesses forward and take our focus away from running datasets and infrastructure into doing what we really need to do to make our business succeed,” said Mr Sheedy.

20170519 cloudasia 1Powering Smart Nation solutions

In his opening keynote address, Infocomm Media Development Authority’s (IMDA) Assistant Chief Executive (Development) Khoong Hock Yun said that many of the Singapore Government's digital initiatives are dependent on cloud technology.

"Initiatives such as SMEs Go Digital and Data Sandbox programmes require a strong and robust cloud ecosystem and cloud computing professionals equipped with the necessary skillsets. In driving our digital economy, cloud will continue to play an important role," he said.

SMEs Go Digital is a programme that helps local enterprises digitalise their business, while Data Sandbox is a rules-light space where data analytics players can experiment with new technologies without worrying about stepping on regulatory toes.

He noted that IMDA has worked closely with the industry in areas such as cloud security and managing of cloud outages by developing standards and guidelines in these areas.

Public vs Private

Another speaker, SISTIC CEO Kenneth Tan, gave a business perspective about choosing between private and public cloud services. The ticketing company chose to build its own private cloud that can still leverage on public cloud providers, with the consideration that it be powerful, efficient and offer good connectivity for regional clients.

He advised users to first evaluate whether the platform chosen would satisfy its business and technical needs. This would require them to assess factors such as scalability and performance, setup experience, customisability, security and support.

Cost was another key consideration, especially for SMEs with limited budgets. While a public cloud might involve minimum cost to set up, expenses may rise in the long run as the outgoing bandwidth has a fluctuating operating cost, while premium support for guaranteed response time is costly.

Mr Tan noted that users could save 35 per cent or more on a private cloud compared to the public cloud over five years.

20170519 cloudasia 2Protecting private data

IMDA Assistant Chief Executive (Personal Data Protection Commission) Yeong Zee Kin (right) touched on the implications of using the cloud in protecting personal data. In particular, users of cloud technology must be aware that their data is being spread all over the world and is at risk of being accessed illegally.

In 2012, Singapore enacted the Personal Data Protection Act, a law that governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by all private organisations.

To help businesses better protect their data in the cloud, IMDA has developed the Multi-Tier Cloud Security (MTCS) Singapore Standard (SS) 584, the world’s first cloud security standard that covers multiple tiers of cloud security. As of 19 April 2017, a total of 90 cloud services are MTCS-certified.

Said Mr Yeong, "What we are after is a trusted digital ecosystem, anchored in Singapore and providing services to the rest of the world."

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