It also reduces maintenance and upgrading needs by 20%-25% compared to the traditional setup, added Alabastro.
And because it's a pay-as-you-go service, Laggui underscored the fact that users can "get the service automatically without the human interaction."
In view of the IT teams' daunting multitude of tasks, utilizing the cloud can actually allow them to focus on more important projects that may have been shelved because they had to closely monitor traditional data centers.
Even Louis Napoleon Casambre, an undersecretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and executive director of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), a DOST agency that is currently developing a government cloud through the Integrated Government Philippines project, sees huge advantages in going to the cloud.
"Cloud computing is already in full swing," he said. "SMEs (small and medium enterprises) can now have access to enterprise-grade technology at a fraction of the investment cost, allowing them to compete with the big players."
Many underlying technologies being utilized today attest to how crucial cloud computing has become for today's businesses. Mobile network firm Ericsson said that today, the mobile subscription base has blown up to 6.3 billion users, and applications downloaded have already reached 48 billion. In addition, the company foresees that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020.
Mobility has further fueled the clamor for cloud computing, as it continues to change the way people work. For businesses, the cloud "offers a new variety of services," noted Elie Hanna, president and country manager, Ericsson Philippines & Pacific Islands.
Valmonte acknowledged this, and cited a study by Internet World Stats which showed that the Philippines, with 33.6 million Internet users, is among the top five countries in Asia when it comes to the number of Internet users. Citing a forecast by research analyst Gartner, he said the Philippines, along with its neighbors, will bring about a 22% increase in cloud adoption in the region by 2013.
ALLEVIATING THE RISKS
But if cloud computing is so ideal for business, why is the Philippines still lagging behind its Asian neighbors in cloud adoption?
"Security is the major concern for those doing cloud," answered Alabastro.
"It is only natural for companies to be wary of their data being in someone else's hands, likewise with company data traversing the internet, there is also a chance that it can be intercepted," Casambre pointed out. "This is particularly true with extremely sensitive data such as that from the government and financial institutions."
However, he noted that "measures can be put forward to minimize the effects of the risks."
For companies who are just starting to utilize the cloud, Alabastro advised that they should carefully prepare the infrastructure. "Once you go cloud, you will be very dependent on the Internet," he noted. "You need to have a redundant line." And to make it less complicated, when starting in the cloud, it's a must "to start with the least risk approach," he added.
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