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The Monsoon Cloud in India

Monsoon Cloud India

The word which discovered India in its digital tenure is ‘digitalization’. Relative to analysing the atmospheric physics to predict cloud for this monsoon, likewise, Cloud Computing was already heavy and dark to deluge the whole indigenous IT ecosystem.  With changing Cloud Computing mindset and an increased Cloud adoption among organizations, the Cloud computing market in India has grown beyond measure. To be precise, Public Cloud in India alone logged US$1.8Bn in 2017. Where surveys made much headlines talking about the cloud market and its growing services adoption of cloud among Indian businesses, this piece assiduously takes a step-ahead with aligning the numero unos to rediscover the Indian cloud computing market. The journey of this story began in July amidst the black clouds where rain was not only pivotal as it extended us to the cascade of pioneer companies from different domain and their mastery in extending myriad cloud services which has efflux the Indian cloud business.

Expecting More Cloud for India?

Settling down to incept the starting note of notion on technologies which are making cloud computing a big-wig was something of foremost interest, to which Purshottam Purswani, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Atos India, elaborated, in the past few years India has seen increasing adoption of Cloud computing by both enterprises and Government, and it is expected to witness more growth in the future. Digital India is a campaign launched by the Government of India to ensure that the Government services are made available to the citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. Technologies such as Mobility, Big Data Analytics, the Internet of Things and most importantly Cloud Technologies are the fundamental backbone of these digital initiatives. At the same time Indian companies are increasingly focusing on the Cloud primarily due to a need for faster innovation, business agility, reduced go-to-market time and scalability for their offerings.

Purswani also emphasized italicizing on public cloud, saying, the India Public Cloud services revenue is projected to grow 37.5 percent in 2018 to total US$2.5 billion, up from US$1.8 billion in 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. The highest growth will be driven by infrastructure as a service (IaaS) which was projected to grow at 49.2% in 2017, followed by 33% in software as a service (SaaS) and 32.1% in platform as a service (PaaS).

Jaykishan Nirmal, Vice President, Threat Management, Aujas Networks believes, with more companies aiming to move the needle on IoT, Big Data and AI, cloud services have become a major disruptor today. As the cloud adoption rate accelerates, data storage demands will grow exponentially.  Cloud providers will make investments in data storage, management and security services.  In fact, securely increasing data storage capacity in the cloud will be the key priority for service providers. Simultaneously, we will witness an uptake in cloud orchestration, automation and real-time “dashboard” technologies that make cloud adoption effortless. Enterprise applications will also scale and fuel demand for containerization.

On the other hand, to get further inputs on the technology front, we asked Amod Phadke, Direct – Sales & Marketing, GCR on his thoughts. Where he promptly says, Wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), Internet of Everything IoE), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Communication are the technologies we can expect to swell in the coming time. However, IoT and AI/ML stand a promising chance to gain growth in the coming months. Due to the cloud delivery model, more and more vendors will be able to deliver these solutions with low entry barriers. Therefore, we should experience an upward shift in people experiencing these newer solutions. Again, both solutions depend on data, so we can also experience data analytics gaining a bigger ground in complete cloud gamut. Based on the cloud technology, we at GCR, provide vertical focused, SaaS connected, IoT solutions which can help professionals in transforming their businesses, the digital way.

Veteran, Shivkumar Ganesan, CEO and co-founder, Exotel also did put his thoughts stating, since the emergence of cloud, it has been widely accepted by numerous companies. Almost every organisation has adopted cloud technology and working wonders using cloud. Mostly Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT and Blockchain have been the major pick of the industry however we have also seen organisations taking strong steps to improve communication. Hence, besides the above mentioned Cloud telephony has also become got adopted by all sizes of organisations. It has become commonplace now because more and more rapidly growing businesses have started to realise the advantages of it. Bringing efficiency to customer communication by automating wherever possible and creating customised solutions using easily programmable APIs has been the biggest selling point of cloud telephony.

Cloud Adoption – The Logjam

Despite its rapid growth, there are many challenges to Cloud adoption in India. With this lead-in statement, Purswani referred the below:

  • Connectivity – Lack of high speed internet connectivity at a reasonable cost is one of the primary obstacles for Cloud adoption
  • Security – concerns around the data security and privacy also hinders Cloud-based services adoption
  • Cost assessment – Opex-based business models of Cloud Computing services makes assessment of cost difficult leading frequently to procurement, contracting and budgetary issues during scaling of projects

The quality of bandwidth and the availability of Internet across geographies poses a challenge for the adoption of cloud, prompted Phadke.

Further stating on the lacuna of the internet, Phadke said, although India has seen newer telecom players providing low-cost internet services. However, the availability of Internet across the regions at a similar pace or speed is still an issue. IoT security also adds up as one of the major glitches that India faces in cloud adoption, the issue with security and IoT is that it drastically increases the attack surface, which means that exist a huge number of devices, operating systems, protocols and endpoints. Therefore, there are a lot more pathways present in the network because of which they face the inbuilt security challenges.

Ganeshan noted, in India many the sectors have adopted cloud for their organisational growth, however Software Deployment, Implementation & rollout to multiple offices have come up as the challenges in cloud computing adoption by Indian organisations. Besides this security has also been a concern to the enterprises. Reliability is one of the largest challenges of AI, ML or cloud telephony as keeping in mind the fact that we cannot completely bank on the internet and telephony infrastructure of our country.

Flaring on the potential of cloud, Nirmal added, Cloud Computing services have the potential to transform the way we do business – be it increased efficiency, easy access, shrinking costs or seamless collaboration with clients, business partners and end consumers. But before reaping the advantages, businesses will have to move to the cloud successfully – a shift that is not devoid of challenges. CIOs are struggling with quality of last-mile connectivity, loss of governance, visibility of security posture, geo-location concerns around data, service level agreements, interoperability with enterprise and legacy applications, and legacy systems movement. Some of these issues are big enough to stall the move out of traditional or in-house data centres.  Another consideration is that cloud service providers integrate with multiple other providers for hardware, infrastructure, storage, platforms and services. While these service alliances are governed by agreements between providers, multiple integration points increase the attack surface area, number of vulnerabilities and audit complexity resulting from dependency on multiple providers.

IT-as-a-Service – The Wildfire

Today, India is second only to China as the largest and fastest-growing cloud services market in Asia Pacific. Having said that,IT-as-a-Service is ramping up in the Indian IT ecosystem.

Citing on this new trend, Phadke said, ITaaS will grow as companies might not want to spend on new purchases but still to keep IT department functional, they would shift their focus from spending on resources to consuming resources. Another critical factor that drives this initiative is the availability of quality resources for new age technologies like IoT, Data Analytics, AI and ML.

GCR’s premium e-commerce partners platform delivers IoT solutions helping businesses to understand their customers/markets by providing intelligent inputs and feedback, enabling them to monitor and manage their resources for optimum returns.

However, there are external factors which can slow down the decision-making process of clients wherein companies have no choice but to invent themselves. They need to remain relevant to their organizations business requirements as well.

Ganeshan said, India is in the midst of its biggest digital transformation exercise, and the cloud is playing the role of a principal catalyst by being the foundation for a majority of digital transformation projects. Companies are transforming their IT staffs to work faster, smarter, and in ways that truly benefit the business. If we talk about Cloud telephony, today, businesses interact with their customers mostly outside a traditional call center. This includes conversations with delivery personnel, drivers, vendors, service providers, etc. This entire activation is held by the growing strength of IT services. According to Gartner’s forecasts India Public Cloud revenue will grow 37.5 percent in 2018. A combination of legacy systems, cloud computing, and internal and external operations have been a major bricks to make IT As A Service.

I believe that any organization with customer-centric offerings with a focus on seamless user experience (e.g. Amazon), are bound to sustain and grow, said Nirmal. Our experience is that global organizations are slowly but definitely moving away from traditional IT models. Many of internal and business IT requirements are now serviced through cloud-based subscription models. This gives companies the opportunity to choose from extensive catalogs of software, operating systems, hardware configurations and services. They also benefit from “pay for use” models, easy collaboration, faster go-to-market and last but not the least, painless termination of services they don’t need. IT-as-a-service will lead to the consumerization of IT. It is an evolution and will not happen overnight. It demands a fundamental shift from working with point solution provider to someone who has well-defined services with clear roadmap. As companies make the switch, cloud service providers will have to continuously evolve and enhance their offerings to ensure agility, faster response, security postures, financial transparency, orchestration, automation and elastic storage capacity to become preferred choice for enterprises, added Nirmal.

Whereas, Purshwani cited, we are living in the age of Software-as-a-Service module, so it has tremendous opportunities not only in India, but outside of India as well. The IT-as-a-Service model, enables companies to treat and run IT as a business, and therefore optimize and scale depending on the business requirement. The entire IT landscape is going through rapid changes and disruptions. This digital transformation fuelled by new digital technologies like Cloud computing, IoT, AI and Data Analytics requires new skills and a constant upgrade of the workforce.  To combat this, it makes sense for companies to focus on the core business and let the IT experts take care of the latest innovations in the IT, thereby becoming the consumers of IT. Therefore, companies are increasingly looking at Cloud-first strategies and are adopting cloud services at all levels. In such scenarios ITaaS has become a very viable operational model for relatively large-sized companies that need support 24/7 365 days a year and monitoring of Enterprise IT.

Purshwani clarified, we are increasingly seeing Enterprise IT becoming complex and heterogeneous day-by-day and many enterprises will likely in the future run hybrid Cloud environments, such as a mix of Private Cloud, Public Cloud, and on-premise applications. We will see more and more Enterprises adopting ITaaS as an operational model. However, companies will have to draw a proper roadmap to move towards such a partner and service-oriented operational model.

Cloud Technology – What’s the Temperament?

Citing on enterprise’s mood on cloud adoption, Nirmal cited, Well, it’s never easy for an enterprise to outsource part of their capabilities to an external technology provider. Outsourcing cloud technology creates a shared responsibility;  where enterprises rely on cloud service providers to take care of the cloud itself while they focus on what’s in the cloud computing (their data and applications and sometimes, the underlying infrastructure). All cloud technology providers are not equal; so multiple parameters have to be considered when choosing a provider.  Depending upon their objectives, the enterprise will need to consider interoperability with existing applications and infrastructure, security, delivery model options, updates / upgrades frequency, support, service level agreements, ability to audit technology and associated environment. In addition, the enterprise might also need to evaluate reliability, escrow mechanism, scalability, roadmap and partner commitment before roll-outing the service enterprise-wide.

Conversing further on the subject, Phadke, said, Enterprises usually prefer hybrid cloud technology for complete delivery of IT services for their organizations. Enterprises also prefer cloud technology which can easily approach with a Multi-Cloud strategy to avoid dependency on a single vendor.

A Cloud-first program is present in nearly every organization. The power which Cloud Computing brings in, has challenged a lot of enterprises to move from on-premise to the Cloud, which apparently helps them to become scalable and agile based on their customer needs asserted Purswani.

Impact of Internet-of-Everything (IoE) and High-Speed Internet in 2018

Drafting an elaborative notion, Purswani said, The Internet-of-Everything (IoE), built around the global interconnection of people, process, context and things, is already starting to happen. This comprehensive penetration of high-speed internet to the last mile will have a high impact in the fields of Cloud Computing, Mobility and Analytics. Cloud computing is the foundation technology for IoE. The combination of IoE and Cloud will drive the next-generation of innovative solutions in the market. In recent years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a major trend shaping the future of markets such as health, transport and the home. Wearable sensors that measure one’s activity and heart rate are impacting on Healthcare. For transportation, connected and autonomous cars are beginning to emerge. In the home, there are a growing number of connected objects that allow us to automate the watering of our plants, the opening of window shutters and control our central heating systems.

The growth of IoT devices will mean an increased demand on the computing resources, which will be required to connect these devices and collect and analyse data from them. The potential of IoE cannot be fulfilled without the integration of the Cloud Computing.

The Cloud Computing will help to:

  • Rollout IoT solutions faster to the market
  • Manage large amount of data generated
  • Scale business applications and infrastructure as needed
  • Easily integrate business applications

Cloud Computing will be an integral and important foundation for IoT and IoE solutions.

On the heels, Phadke, said, IoE and high-speed internet availability would drive more quality services and solutions being delivered through the cloud till the last mile. This would also mean a larger number of organisations/homes adopting IOT solutions, therefore, increasing data and internet consumption.

Emphasizing on Cisco report, Ganeshan said, India will add, on average, 5 million Internet users and 8.3 million networked devices every month. IoE has truly gone mobile, forever altering customer expectations and experiences. At 70 million, India already has the largest number of WhatsApp users in the world. Internet of Everything today mainly is approached from the perspective of connected devices, their sensing capabilities, and communication possibilities. AI, ML and cloud telephony are built on two internet hence IoE is going to be widely adopted by Indian enterprises.
Nirmal added, With Big Data becoming all pervasive, cloud has become an automatic choice for enterprises because clouds make it easy and cost effective to store, access and analyze massive amounts of data.

Cloud and its computing power complement IoT and IoE in every vertical. Be it healthcare, automobile devices, or smart homecare solution, companies now prefer to integrate with cloud and upload data at regular intervals with available internet in no-time. Their developers and marketing teams can analyze data using available cloud computing power; make appropriate decisions to change policies, pricing, enhance offerings etc. This increases efficiency and productivity for their partners, clients and end consumers. It’s a boon for startups and small organizations who lack expensive infrastructure and still want to be part of the IoE explosion.

How Security Concern Gave Rise to Cloud Security – The Unheard

Referring to a Global survey, Phadke observed, cloud security market is ready to swell upto12.73 billion USD by 2022. As India aims towards a higher growth path for cloud adoption and allied services, Cloud security even though is in the nascent stage would experience equivalent growth. Out of 12.73 billion, we should surely witness a bigger pie being consumed by Cloud security providers in India.

Analysing on the critical importance of security, reliability and resilience of data and infrastructure, Purswani said, the massive potential promised by Cloud developments is matched by a proportionate rise in the potential threats as well.  As we come to rely more than ever before on this new connectivity.

Analysts estimate that 60% of enterprises will be victims of major breaches by the year 2020. In the digital world, enterprises will need a seamless security strategy. We can think of the below four areas that underpin security in the worlds of Cloud Computing and IoE:

  1. Securing sensors and their operations,
  2. Ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of data in transit,
  3. Securing stored data on Clouds, and
  4. Securing access to information via identity and access management solution.

Enterprises are going to need help to tackle these critical issues and there will be opportunities for solution providers across all the phases, right from the initial consultancy and analysis, through to the implementation and ongoing management of the cybersecurity services.

Slating a rational perspective, Nirmal said, in my opinion, cloud security isn’t a nascent sector. It is a rapidly advancing domain. We are witnessing numerous M&A activities, existing solutions are getting re-engineered or new solutions are being built to address cloud security concerns.

There are two ways to look at cloud security:

  1. Using Cloud Securely: Cloud security is a shared responsibility between cloud computing provider and the enterprise.  Depending upon the model one adopts, risks need to be identified and appropriate security strategy put in place. Just as in traditional data centers, there is a need to identify, authenticate and authorize access to data (identity and access control), provide data encryption and protection, set up logging and monitoring mechanisms, infrastructure security controls (e.g. access on request and need basis) and ensure compliance to regulatory and enterprise security policy requirements.

For each of those security capabilities, cloud service providers have a combination of default and optional security components. These range from basic to advanced and are offered through inhouse capabilities or integration with third party platforms providers.  Data encryption and key management, CASBs for data protection, malware infections and behavior analytics etc., secure access (e.g. TLS across all services), and firewalled access to systems and servers hosted on cloud through private connections etc. are some examples.

  1. Using cloud for Security: For the flexibility which cloud computing offers and to minimize overall cost in building on-premise infrastructure to support security initiatives (e.g. Identity & Access control), one can leverage cloud-based security solution (e.g. cloud IAM) which can be borderless (not restricted to enterprise territory), extendable and scalable as needed.

The market has evolved to help enterprises use cloud apps securely. It has opened up new opportunities for players to enhance or innovate ways to make security easy to integrate, orchestrate, automate or clearly mark off responsibilities and accountability between cloud computing provider and the enterprise.

Cloud – The New Job destination for Young India

Poised with an elated response, Purswani said, the increasing focus on IT and digital transformation will result in an increase in demand for these professionals across all verticals including e-commerce, financial services, manufacturing, logistics and healthcare. However, there are frequent changes and disruptions in the digital technologies space which is having a significant influence on the future skill demands for professionals.

The speed of technological change means that the workforce has to keep itself abreast with the new developments and reskilling themselves to stay relevant to the changing business needs.

There will be a lot of opportunities for young India to work in the areas below:

  • Cloud – Roles from Cloud Computing application developers, Cloud Computing support engineers, Dev-Ops engineers to Cloud solution architects will be in demand.
  • Advanced Analytics – There is a growing demand for strong data analytics skills along with managing the data for enterprises. There are job opportunities for Data Scientists, Data Architects, and Data Managers.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics – With increasing focus on AI, the demand for professionals with skills in Machine Learning and Deep Learning along with Robotic Process Automation will be high.
  • IoT – There will be opportunities to work across the entire IoT value chain, right from Sensors and Edge Gateways to the IoT platforms and IoT Service Management.

Whereas, Phadke mulls, with growing cloud adoption, there is an evident increase in Cloud Computing service providers, Cloud allied services and Cloud-based solutions. Growth in these segments would increase the requirement for skilled manpower. To start planning for tomorrows requirements, we need to begin with skill development programs or advisory boards for the education sector. This must be done in order to bridge the gap between industry demands and education curriculum. We are hopeful to witness a win-win situation for both, the industry and young India. Our Partners Platform is an e-commerce platform has come up with the mission to provide the IT MSPs (Managed Service Providers) a chance to work with GCR; the company provides a virtual platform for the MSPs to embark on their business conveniently, further curbing the unemployment issues being faced by young Indians.

Key Market Players Defining New Dimensions on Cloud Computing in the Indian Market

GCR have been delivering Cloud-based services and IOT solutions for all industry verticals. Our solutions aim at providing digital transformation by automating mundane tasks or creating an intelligent operating environment with the help of advanced technologies like IoT, AI and ML with the support of the cloud-based delivery model. This helps to lower the entry barrier for many organisations who wish to start their journey in IoT or Cloud-based applications for business automation and enterprise resource planning.

Atos is a pioneer Digital Services provider in Europe & the 5th largest in the World. As a world leader in Business Technologies, Atos is the trusted partner for the digital transformation for its customers. We are helping numerous customers across various verticals like Financial Services, Manufacturing, Logistics and Utilities in their digital transformation journeys.
Some of the solutions that are being used across the Indian market include:

  • Atos Digital Mobility Platform – Helps customers connect all relevant stakeholders across their enterprise including customers, partners and employees in a digital manner via its Enterprise Mobility Platform on the Cloud.
  • Atos IoT and Industry 4.0 Solutions – We are consistently ranked as either ‘the leader’, ‘leader’ or ‘major player’ in the IoT and Analytics with advances each year. Atos’ focus on IoT-as-a-Service and Service Management (availability, reduced complexity, maintainability & interoperability) is far ahead of the market. We are experts in business and data transformation and enabling our customers journeys from idea to MVPs/PoCs to the enterprise scale. Atos IoT solutions are being used by various customers in Manufacturing, Logistics and Utilities.
  • Data Analytics – Atos’ analytics solution encompasses analytics and cognitive applications and it is also our solutions to help our customers manage the data derived from various data sources such as IoT.

Exotel is the largest cloud telephony platforms in Southeast Asia. We facilitate 4 million calls a day now, which is 3 times the number of calls the company did in the first year. Exotel has touched the lives of 85 million people in India. From cab aggregators to e commerce to manufacturing and many more. Exotel is impacting the growth graph of businesses in the Indian. The current ecosystem is seeing an increase in the emergence of new age technology companies in various areas. The understanding of cloud telephony has gone up and enterprises are seeing a lot of value add in the use of this technology.

Aujas is a pure play cyber security-focused company and helps organizations manage information security risks by protecting data, software, people and identities in alignment with best practices and compliance requirements. Aujas provides security program assessment, identifying the key transformation requirements and development of cybersecurity strategy and transformation roadmap to address risks in transformations.

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