How does a business choose between on-premise and the cloud these days?
Joeri Devisch, Line of Business Manager Multi-Cloud at Inetum-Realdolmen: "I prefer using the term cloud technology instead of just the cloud. You see, the cloud isn't so much a place, it's the technology that facilitates business innovation. The choice between on-premise, a local data center service provider or a hyperscaler must be made based on this innovation. The Belgian market may be lagging somewhat behind in this respect. In other countries, this debate has been going on for some time. By the way, it's almost never a strict either-or between on-premise and the cloud. The practical result is almost always a hybrid solution."
So we should consider the cloud not so much as infrastructure, but rather as an enabler for flexibility?
Joeri Devisch: "The flexibility a company is looking for can be found in the application. And the value lies in the data, not in the processing power. The hyperscalers are responding to this with solutions such as AWS Outposts, Google Anthos and Azure Stack, which enable customers to expand cloud environments and get more out of the hybrid cloud. At the same time, hyperscalers see that latency will determine the success of the cloud. To avoid dependence on telecom providers, they are investing in their own fiber-optic networks."
What about the costs of IT infrastructure? Is cost reduction a good reason to opt for the cloud?
Joeri Devisch: "Customers do ask this question, especially when they're considering the cloud as a shared infrastructure – which should be cheaper by definition than infrastructure that a company uses exclusively. They often forget that there are also hidden costs, such as for transporting data. In practice, it often takes a lot to remove data from a cloud. But when you put everything together, I think security is a much more important driver than cost. Security experts are difficult to find. In the absence of expertise, security is usually the first victim. However, this is where professional providers can make a difference."
Is the coronavirus crisis an extra incentive to do more in the cloud?
Joeri Devisch: "We're seeing strong growth in demand for home-working products, from purchasing laptops to the demand for more capacity in the cloud. Companies are increasingly making sure that employees can work anywhere."