By Toby Alcock, Chief Technology Officer, Logicalis Group
Hybrid working, an increase in cyber-attacks and a focus on sustainability have caused businesses to confront a big decision: transition into a digital-first business or face being left behind by the competition.
Legacy systems no longer provide the basis for a modern business’ IT infrastructure, nor do they underpin business objectives to respond to the demands of the digital world. A modern digital foundation is required to improve and empower the three S’s: Security, Scalability, and Sustainability. Businesses can then ensure data is protected; employees can work freely from anywhere, and they are getting ahead in reversing the impacts of climate change.
At the core of this scalable digital foundation lies and an intelligent, cloud-based network. However, there are other considerations for enterprise agility. Let's take a closer look at how security, scalability and sustainability can help organisation on that path.
Building strong security foundations
A cloud-based foundation cannot be successful without security woven into its data fabric. This is vital to protect the distributed workforce caused by hybrid and remote working. Many leaders have pointed to this new style of working as the main driver of increased cyber-attacks. With employees and data at risk, a secure IT foundation is essential to protect staff, productivity and morale.
In 2021, ransomware attacks caused an average of 23 days of downtime for US businesses. By building security into its foundations, organisations are better prepared for attacks, resulting in less downtime. As the attack surface widens, IT environments must be robust enough to assess and combat the growing list of cyber threats.
Historically, security issues were one of the main pushbacks against cloud migrations. That has been flipped on its head in recent years to the point where 94% of businesses now report significant improvements in online security after moving their data to the cloud. Despite the improvements in security, many environments are still insecure because those in charge of managing them are busy dealing with other business challenges. By utilising intelligent, fully managed, cloud-based technology that hits the required levels of agility and flexibility that businesses need to compete, objectives can be achieved while meeting the highest standards of customer security and data integrity.
Scalability and predictability
Alongside security, a modern business’ cloud infrastructure must be able to respond to growing demand for its services, often at short notice. IT systems need to be able to perform consistently and support expansions seamlessly without downtime, as business cannot afford a lag when demand peaks out of nowhere.
Businesses’ expectations around agility, and how this impacts scalability, have changed. They cannot afford to wait months for new services to deploy. The expectation is now that services need to be running within hours, across the business, without compromising on the scale at which this is can be achieved. This is nearly impossible without smarter technologies. Seventy one percent of enterprises trust the cloud when it comes to speed improvements, and without doubt the faster iterations of visualised software solutions have ensured that cloud-based organisations can innovate faster than their rivals.
Solutions should always be one step ahead of user demands and need the capacity to grow alongside the business. Proactive issue detection and troubleshooting with real time insights into network, connectivity and app performance enable this, and are needed for users to have a seamless experience.
Sustainable IT infrastructure
The third of the three S’s is sustainability. It is essential that ecological efforts aren’t superficial. Customers are more conscious of the environment than ever before and are more than aware of the impact technology has on climate change. Demonstrating support for ESG and sustainable practices is no longer enough, business leaders need to show that they are making conscious strides to lower emissions. There is already appetite for this, data from Gartner shows 63% of enterprise CIOs specifically state IT investments are part of their sustainability programs and are investing in solutions that reduce carbon emissions as a result.
Integrating smarter, cloud-based solutions allows for better resource efficiency and optimal usage because of easier scalability of available technology. This increases the energy efficiency of IT infrastructure and workplace services, therefore helps move towards a more sustainable business. Using a cloud solution to drive more intelligent foundations also improves cost-efficiency and lowers emissions while maintaining efficiently managed data.
Meanwhile, the major cloud providers are cognisant of their impact on emissions. They are innovating swiftly to lower impacts, pivoting towards renewables, and offering tools to rapidly and reliably report emissions associated with usage.
A flexible future
Businesses must remember the combined relevance of cloud, connectivity, and security when setting up a foundation for future success.
Solutions such as Logicalis Intelligent Connectivity enable businesses to move from legacy, on-premise hardware and increase energy efficiencies. In addition, with the predictability and speed that Intelligent Connectivity provides, companies will be able to minimise downtime of deployments and, drive businesses success, respond to market dynamics more quickly and efficiently given the agile and flexible nature of cloud infrastructure.
Sustainable and scalable cloud infrastructure is increasingly a prerequisite for success. But it is important to remember that it doesn’t just happen; it needs to be planned carefully, and businesses must carefully consider the three core linked issues from the outset.