It’s no secret that the general adoption of cloud computing accelerated massively in 2016, but many large enterprises have still remained hesitant due to a range of factors including a lack of skills, security concerns and a reliance on on-premise technology.
But according to OneLogin founder and CEO Thomas Pedersen, speaking to Silicon at the Gartner Identity and Access Management summit in London, the cloud story is set to take another step forward in 2017.
“I think this year is going to be a watershed moment for big enterprises in terms of cloud,” he said. “We can see that the really big enterprises that were hesitating last year and the year before, now it’s all they want to talk about.
“What CIOs want to hear is: 1. Cloud, 2. Security, 3 identity and access management and at the very bottom of the list is on premise software.”
However visibility is still a major issue, either due to a lack of understanding or the sheer number of applications now being used within large organisations.
“Sometimes we talk to customers who say ‘yeah well we have Oracle and SAP but we don’t really do cloud,’ but the reality is that these companies use a lot of cloud software without knowing about it. They just don’t have visibility,” said Pedersen.
“A few years ago we thought that a typical customer had 30 or 40 applications, now it’s between 200 and 300 hundred applications. Some of them might not be traditional SaaS applications, but they’re websites where people go and put in their credentials.”
And it’s not a simple problem to solve. Marketing departments are using social media tools, software teams make use of a range of development tools and finance departments will have multiple applications on the go. With the vast majority of such apps being cloud-based these days, this creates a complicated and often siloed ecosystem for businesses to manage.
So, Pedersen believes that embracing this cloudy world rather than shying away from it is the way forward.
“What we are saying to CIOs is, you can deny that you have cloud applications in your company, but that doesn’t make the problem go away. You are exposed to them, so instead you need to roll with it and embrace it,” he said.
“We don’t need to replace what you may have already for your non-premise applications in terms of identity and access management, but we can help you get visibility on what’s going on. So you can either be in denial or you can embrace the fact that people are using cloud.”
The usual culprits such as compliance issues, regulatory restrictions and security concerns are also still rearing their heads, resulting in some companies “sticking their heads in the sand” when it comes to adopting cloud.
Then there’s shadow IT, which is still “a really big problem” for large enterprises, especially for those which were not borne in the cloud and still adopt an on-premise mindset.
Often, these organisations will try to ignore such issue, but Pedersen said this is “exactly the wrong thing to do. It doesn’t make the problem go away.
“I’m really baffled sometimes at these conversations,” he added. “If you look at where all the innovation is in software today, it’s in the cloud. And it’s not going to reverse. Every company today is a tech company. You compete through tech, that’s how you move fast and make a company agile, so you want to use the most modern tools and they’re in the cloud.
“You will be dragged into the cloud kicking and screaming whether you like it or not.”
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