By guest author Shaloo Shalini
SM: What are your thoughts about cloud security?
NS: Cloud security is an interesting topic, but not necessarily my favorite one. In talking about cloud security, one example that comes to mind is that a cloud provider’s physical data center is much more secure than your local data center. If you take that into account, it is one aspect of cloud security. Another aspect that I would like to mention is that there are several big cases of fraud in banks with local IT infrastructure – if you look at the documents listing the details of the fraud, a lot of people in banks use their knowledge of how IT processes work to steal money, subverting the process from within. There is a lot of internal fraud. When businesses discover such fraud, in some cases it turns out to be very big and in other cases small. So, having local IT resources on premise is not necessarily more secure and protected than, say, having IT resources in the cloud. In the cloud, IT infrastructure and services are of course exposed to attack. The security the cloud is built by definition in the cloud, and it is equally strong or stronger than what I could ever build in my local environment – it is more of a psychological gap that will diminish over time. People will get comfortable with clouds, and they will grow out of such security concerns.
SM: What about data security, such as when you move data to a public cloud or SaaS model? Will those concerns about data security go away?
NS: Look at Salesforce now. My data, some of my critical data, is actually on Salesforce’s infrastructure. Most of the organizations working with the Salesforce solution had concerns earlier, but now they are adopting it. They share the same database with other competitors, something which they may not even know about. This is a good example. I think it is more of a psychological gap than a real threat. Their perception is that a local data center offers better security. Well, in fact, it really isn’t any better than in a cloud.
SM: Finally, what big entrepreneurial opportunities are in the cloud? What are the problems most in need of solution, where entrepreneurs should focus?
NS: From an infrastructure perspective, I see two main opportunities – one is the transition of staff from traditional enterprises to cloud-enabled ones. Everyone who has a product today, whether it is CRM or ERP or what have you, is trying to make that offering into a service. There is a huge investment. Almost every product company I talk to has that on the table as a top item on the agenda. That is one big wave. The other big wave is the transformation that the analytics industry is going through. A lot of the analytics done in the industry is expanding out of contracts which earlier used to be local or within the organization. Now, it is moving toward an open source model, which is cheaper and simpler than the existing model. Analytics solutions need to deal with big data. Analytics is a big opportunity from an infrastructure perspective.
SM: Summarizing for entrepreneurs, you are suggesting that they look for applications and functions that are not available on clouds today and figure out how to deliver them. This is one business opportunities for any kind of application that is delivered on-premise today. Also, there is intense entrepreneurial activity right now; thousands of companies are doing exactly this so, people need to do their homework on competitive analysis and figure out which opportunities are open. Your second point about analytics is that you see more opportunity for analytics in the cloud computing space from an entrepreneur’s point of view.
SM: Is there anything else that you would like to add? This has been a very good discussion, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have.
NS: Yes, I did. There is one thing about analytics where we see a gap ourselves, being a vendor of product, and I want to offer my product as services. I am trying to build that bridge and work on a lot of things that I need to do in order to transform our product into SaaS, make it more scalable and secure. What we are trying to do is provide that packaged service and reduce the time to market. You can tailor them yourself and cut time to market. On the analytics side, we are looking at providing analytics in the cloud for enterprises and expanding that into the big data trend.
SM: Over time, the access to that large data set which makes virtual analytics possible is going to become simpler?
SM: It was very interesting talking to you. Thanks for sharing your insights.