Crises and BCP: Multi-cloud leads the way

“Preparedness, when properly pursued, is a way of life, not a sudden, spectacular program,” – Spencer W Kimball.

This quote is apt for the current situation. While COVID-19 has made work-from-home a household term with companies across the world having to adopt this culture overnight, the transition has certainly been easier for organizations that had already embraced cloud.

Industry leaders from several pre-eminent organizations connected at the VMware virtual round table to share insightful details on their cloud adoption experiences. The one big takeaway from the discussion was the fact that multi-cloud leads the way for Business Continuity Planning (BCP) in both pre- and post-COVID era.

Thomas George, Head of CyberMedia Research and Media Group, set the session in motion by talking about how COVID-19 has affected various sectors. “As the impact of COVID-19 varies across sectors, there are three economic scenarios for recovery. Swift V-shaped, slow U-shaped, or a slower L-shaped recovery based on factors such as economic stimuli, mitigation efforts, discovery of vaccine and so on,” said Thomas.

However, the impact and recovery will lead to different demands and objectives at the organization level. “While accelerating the state of service deployment comes across as the primary objective, organizations are also looking at improving cost efficiency and productivity at present. Post-COVID, there will be a lot more demand in enabling operational agility, driving business growth and improving customer experience,” added Thomas.

Apart from these objectives, the world will witness growth in IT demand leading to the increased adoption of multi-cloud. Organizations are also exploring Disaster Recovery (DR) plans and looking to build greater resilience to tackle future incidents.

In addition, in light of the current situation, new priorities have evolved for enterprises. “Scaling the infrastructure, providing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and mitigating risks along with being able to use existing tools have taken precedence,” said Misha Joshi, Senior Director, Professional Services, VMware India, paving the way for CIOs to share their experience of deploying cloud in their organization.

Virtual Roundtable: Strategic IT priorities for 2020 post-COVID to ensure BCP

Sunil Zutshi, Head, IT Service Management, Siemens Technology and Services, said that there were three parts to his organization’s strategic initiatives:

  1. Remote working for employees,
  2. Increased focus on network,
  3. Strategies to maximize employee efficiency.

“If we are successfully able to manage these three, BCP gets taken care of automatically,” he said.

Factors that are driving multi-cloud adoption

Madhan Raj J, Assistant Vice President and Senior Principal Architect – Technology, Infosys Technologies, feels that prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the factors driving cloud adoption were capability, compatibility, compliance, and cost. “However, the current situation has caused a jerk, and the factors driving cloud adoption now are resiliency, to protect the ability to work digitally, cost optimization, and preparing businesses to bounce back,” said Madhan Raj.

Managing security and compliance of cloud resource configurations

Organizations are also concerned about maintaining security amidst the work-from-home scenario. Thankfully, cloud solutions such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) can come in handy in enhancing security. “From a security standpoint we follow the metrics of CIA – Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability. But in the current scenario, Availability comes first and Confidentiality at the last. Luckily, we started asking our employees to work-from-home in March. We established strict baselines such as those who need access have to get it from an official asset. We then started to deliver to our employees VDI over the cloud on their personal devices, and finally we enabled collaboration platform to keep employees engaged and aware,” said Ashish Khanna, chief information security officer, EIH Limited.

Harminder Singh, Senior IT Manager, Vedant Fashions Private Limited also shared a similar view on VDI as the lockdown made it impossible to deliver laptops and desktops. “Going forward, VDI will hold a lot of prominence. Secondly, our existing applications have to be cloud-ready, and thirdly, since work-from-home is expected to become the norm, we must empower our employees with laptops,” said Singh.

Transition to work-from-home hassle free for companies using multi-cloud

Ashok Tyagi, Director, IT Infrastructure, Ciena India, said his organization has been using VMware’s virtual platform for over 15 years, and all their enterprise applications at the moment are on cloud. “Although we are using a mix of public and private cloud, the current situation will fuel the company to move further towards public cloud. Nevertheless, at present, 80 to 90 percent of our workforce is successfully working from home. We have been able to achieve this employee productivity as we have built the required infrastructure in the past 3 years,” said Tyagi.

Conclusion

The VMware virtual roundtable emphasized that cloud is no longer just an infrastructure conversation, but an integral part of the IT strategy of organizations. Misha Joshi concluded the percipient discussion saying: “We need not dig the well when we are thirsty. Adopting a good multi-cloud strategy and a resilient BCP today will help even in future.”

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