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Cloud is the cornerstone of digital transformation

Nurdianah Md Nur | Jan. 7, 2016
Chris Levanes of CenturyLink talks about how hybrid cloud supports digital transformations, and dispels cloud security myths.

Chris Levanes of CenturyLink

Chris Levanes, Director of Cloud and Managed Hosting for Asia Pacific at CenturyLink, talks about the need for hybrid cloud for organisations looking to digitally transform themselves, and dispels cloud security myths.

With almost 20 years of experience in the IT industry, Levanes is responsible for driving cloud and managed hosting growth strategies and revenues across the Asia Pacific region, including Business Development and Geo-expansion initiatives in his company.

Q: Throughout 2015, IDC has been advising enterprises to adopt third platform technologies to digitally transform themselves. Do you think Asian enterprises will heed IDC's advice soon?
Levanes: Third platform technologies described by IDC are mobility, big data, cloud computing and social. They are identified as becoming the new core tenants of the IT landscape. Consequently, investments in second platform technologies such as client/server systems and traditional line-of-business (LOB) applications will begin to decrease. Looking forward, companies will strive to deliver improved real-time and digital experiences across a myriad of Internet-connected applications and devices, and the majority of investments will therefore be upon digital transformation (DX).

Based on data from IDC, Asia Pacific is predicted to spend in excess of US$900 billion by 2020 in third platform technologies. This means that the region will far outpace corresponding third platform ICT investments from the US and the rest of the world; and as a result, the Asia Pacific region and companies are poised to capitalise upon the market opportunity and growth of the upcoming DX-era.

Security seems to be a constant barrier to cloud adoption -- potential users are always worried about security of their workloads in the cloud. Could you share with us some common misconceptions about cloud computing security? 
In today's landscape, cyber security is a top-of-mind concern for the majority of roles across the organisation -- certainly both technical and business, and increasingly even board level. Many organisations are struggling to ensure that proper security mechanisms are in place to protect themselves against the sophistication and frequency of cyber attacks from external hackers. Furthermore, data breaches from insider threats continue to be an ongoing issue. Being compromised will likely have significant impact upon a company's brand, customer confidence and even stakeholders' jobs, as the recently high profile attacks have proven.

To address the threat landscape, organisations are increasingly viewing cloud as a way to implement stronger security. By abstracting away the hardware, cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) providers can help remove interdependencies which sometimes hinder the ability to keep software updated. Furthermore, selecting a cloud vendor which provides integrated managed services can help mitigate cyber attacks through their expertise in providing hardened software, ensuring patches are applied rapidly and regularly, helping provide around the clock monitoring of the environment, and helping respond to zero-day vulnerability attacks when they occur. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings, such as cloud foundry, are also becoming popular with internal software development teams. PaaS offers a higher level of abstraction in which to ensure the underlying development and runtime platform is automatically operated, managed and maintained securely.


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