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Roundtable: Every cloud has a silver lining

Edward Lim | April 2, 2013
Concerns about security, cost and connectivity when adopting cloud solutions dominated discussions at an Executive Roundtable held in Singapore recently.

To Ganesh Krishnan, vice president, IT, ComfortDelGro Corporation, cost is also more of a concern than security as the company's data has a short life. In expressing his own personal view, he said: "Our main concern is total cost of ownership (TCO). Cloud solutions must be better and cheaper than what we can do ourselves."

Ganesh Krishnan
Photo: Ganesh Krishnan

Commenting in his own private capacity, Krishnan also said it was desirable to have the freedom to switch service providers when required. This could be the result of a change of commitment from the service provider, change of ownership of the service provider, or failure to meet service level agreements.

"Cloud is still not there as a utility. The moment you move your infrastructure to the cloud, you might be tied down to the service provider. If you're looking at the utility model, you should be able to switch to another service provider. Preferrably, you would not want to be locked down to any service provider but want the ability to switch," added Krishnan.

While Lim would also like the flexibility of switching service providers, he believes that turning off the tap and switching provider may not happen in the near future.

"One way service providers can look at is how to assure consumers of the lowest best cost at least for the immediate future," Lim said.

Every contract has an exit clause, pointed out Wildblood. "The pertinent question should be 'How can I be assured that my data has been removed?' To provide cloud services, Telstra partners with others such as Ascenture and audits are in place," he said.

For service providers, the switchability issue also hinges on how much they have invested in the service delivery.

"Telstra provides a standard infrastructure for most of our services. The sticky bits are the custom assets that we have to purchase to get into that relationship," said Duggan.

Cautious Approach
While security, connectivity and TCO remain concerns, some organisations have taken small steps into adopting cloud computing.

Photo: Lee Chye Seng

Nanyang Technological University is using Dropbox as backup and is saving around S$6,000 per year. "The issue of privacy is still there so we exercise discretion on what is stored on the cloud," said Lee Chye Seng, divisional director, Learning Technologies, Nanyang Technological University.

Ng Kok Keong
Photo: Ng Kok Keong

Nokia is also adopting a cautious approach by migrating service by service, beginning with email. "We still have our own data centre and may continue to have one 10 years down the road," said Ng Kok Keong, Head of IT, Asia Pacific, Nokia.


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