What Is The Cloud? It’s About Choice and Pace of Change…

June 7, 2019

With thanks to Cloud Gateway’s CEO and co-founder Justin Day for taking the time to talk to us about his role and how multicloud is enabling organizations to embrace cloud technologies and power business growth.

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Read on the full transcript of the interview….

Tell us a little about yourself...

Hi, my name is Justin Day. I am the CEO and co-founder of Cloud Gateway. Historically I’m from a TELCO background, I’m a TELCO baby; I spent my life in Cable and Wireless. I wear my heart on my sleeve, but I no longer do network and network security at hands on level.  I'm responsible for the business and business growth at Cloud Gateway and I'm lucky enough that my co-founder Neil, is responsible for all the tech!

What is the cloud and why is it important?

Cloud means a number of things to a number of people. If we were to take the traditional tenants of cloud, that which you would find under a traditional wiki entry, you would find things like elasticity, self-serve, pay as you go, and those are the sorts of answers that you would get when people ask you what cloud is about. But cloud for me has become more of a philosophy, so when someone asks me what cloud is, I respond with it being choice and pace of change. This is a brave new world that everyone has the ability to become a part of, because the exponential curve of the change of IT allows people to have a much greater and increasingly granular choice, and they can adopt those choices in a much more time effective way than they've been afforded previously.

How can the cloud be used to power new business growth?

So, to power new business growth and use the cloud, I think the best example for me is to talk about cloud Gateway itself. There's a theme here with what I'm talking about, it is make more choices and make them more quickly, have more things available to us. Cloud Gateway is born out of a network and network security background, and if we had tried to create what cloud gateway does five or 10 years ago, we would have had to buy in expensive tin (on-premise servers). We would have had to wait several weeks or months to get that tin and then found a home for it. This would have just taken too long, cost too much, and wouldn't have allowed SMEs like ourselves to be able to grow.

What it allows you is trial and error. Pivot and fail fast are great tenants of agile and agile methodology and they're also very tightly coupled with cloud and cloud technologies, and that's what cloud has allowed us to do. What it also does is it enables SMEs.  There are more SMEs and startups, tech startups, one-man bands, two-man bands and small companies than there ever has been before. This is a really, really great time for business and business in this country, because previously these people with great ideas simply wouldn't have had the chance to get off the ground.

The smaller medium enterprises are really on the grow in the United Kingdom, but in turn, this is a ripple effect because it's these SMEs that actually then power the large organizations to make the bigger changes. So the bigger changes that you'll see in the likes of your footsie 100 companies, central government agencies, places like that, often they're quite large tankers, juggernauts to try and change and to turn, but what they're doing is adopting and embracing the SMEs who are also being powered by cloud. So, this has an effect across the entire industry, all organizations, all sectors, and that's all really powered by cloud technologies and cloud principles.

Are data and personal information safe in the cloud?

There's always a concern about data and personal information in the cloud. While the cloud offers many benefits, it is also seen as somewhat ghostlike, almost a theory; no one can see it, no one can touch it, and because it's not tactile people fear it. Now, I think what we have to look at there is that all of the larger companies, and in fairness, the medium and small companies that offer cloud services, simply have to offer levels of security to encourage businesses to continue their services. It’s not in their interest, to have a breach because it would affect their integrity.

One of the problems is that we think of Cloud providers in an ethereal way, but in reality, they are still data centers and they are no different to the data centers of the past. When we talk about on premise as opposed to cloud, the theory remains the same: lots of kit, lots of tin, lots of cabinets, lots of physical security on site. So, has any of that really changed? I don't think it has. I think it's as safe as it has ever been, data and personal information in that area. But the problem that cloud brings is that there are a lot of people who, again, with a cloud philosophy, put their eggs in a basket that the likes of the major providers do the security for them.

People are more comfortable in taking additional risk sometimes when they don't necessarily have a true grasp of what is going on and it's that part and that point that I would say are a no, the data is not safe, but these companies will encourage you to work with them to build a cyber policy to enact upon that policy. There are still things to do with using the tools in the ecosystem to make sure that your data remains safe. I think one of the key problems that we see, is with NSGs, those are our network security groups, and they are prevalent in all of the major cloud providers. To someone like myself or anyone that comes from a network security background, they aren't really security at all. To be fair to the major providers, they don't push them forward as an alternative to security, but we see time and time again where they are seen as, let's say, a reason that a company can consider itself secure in order to move forward with projects and programs and continue forward. But they are only a small cog in the greater security machine. I think the key is, yes, we should put trust into these major cloud providers, but there is still a lot of work to do from all areas.

Has cloud computing affected the skills that people need?

Cloud computing has changed the way in which many areas of IT have had to approach skills. Networks and network security have always used versions of code, versions of IOs on pieces of tin, but the world of infrastructure has been seen as very different to the world of software. What cloud has done is convert most of the required skills to software, to code. When I was younger and I was embarking upon my network career, the thought of being a software developer was a completely different area of IT, and something I didn't need to concern myself with. Now that has completely changed whether you want to be in networks, network security, programming, development, whatever it may be, it's very much aligned to software. It's very much aligned to code and to that type of logic. And whilst all of those different skills, mesh together across IT, it's definitely more software coding and development that has changed and cloud is definitely changing that.

Why is it important for organizations to embrace the changes the cloud brings?

Organizations need to embrace cloud. I think in 2019 we've now gone through an early adoption stage where most organizations are quite heavily embedded into cloud. I think it's a case of not just trying to get ahead, but it's a case of keeping up and making sure that the end consumer, the customer of major organizations, are being given the flexibility, the choice, the ability to have the options, be it in the world of insurance or paying your car tax or whatever it may be and these are becoming expectations of people. Things are changing, all of these little things are now desires of the consumer. From a business point of view, if the next competitor along in your business space is doing something, then you're going to find yourself far behind in a hurry and because cloud does offer that choice and that pace of change, we're going to see a very significant race between the major companies that we know.

What we also will see are things like challenges, one of the spaces that's most known with the word challenger is banks. Obviously banks came in for a bit of a hiding over the last decade and the reality is that, using the unfortunate term millennials, as people are growing with different technologies, different risk profiles, different concerns and considerations, people are more than happy to use a non-established company, a small, medium enterprise, even when they're putting their salary, their pay check into there. So, the challenger banks, and it should be considered very seriously, could very easily over the next few years wipe some of the major established organizations off the face of the map if they are not prepared to change and keep up. It's not just a case that these organizations have to because it's useful or they can save some money, if they don't, they simply won't exist.

What would you like to say to somebody about to start a cloud computing foundation course?

For someone embarking on their own cloud journey and starting a cloud computing foundation course, I would advise to pay attention and to enjoy it. There are so many facets and little niches within cloud computing that doing something that you enjoy is really important. Understanding which part of it jumps out at you is really important and I think it's similar to the whole agile framework and methodology. It's pivot and fail fast. Look at something, learn something, see if that works for you. And if it doesn't, there's going to be a whole load of other things out there for you. So that would be my advice.

How is multicloud changing the way people view the cloud and leverage its benefits?

Multicloud is changing the way organizations embrace what they have already started embracing, which is cloud and cloud technologies. Multicloud to different people again means different things.  If you were to look up what it is meant to mean, it would be the use of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, but what it's quickly become known to mean is more different vendors and merging and melding those into a greater ecosystem; being able to take services from the likes of Azure or AWS, Google and all of the other cloud providers and take them at different levels, for example, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. This wraps to my philosophy on cloud, what I really believe cloud is, it's choice, it's not locking yourself into a single vendor or into a single incumbent. Whether you see that incumbent as a hardware provider, or a manage service provider, or cloud provider is almost irrelevant, it's allowing you to make that decision, to give you that choice.

Having the different vendors and the different technologies available also allows you to pass that on to your customers, to your consumers. I think what's most important about having access to multicloud is that what you need is access to the things tomorrow that you don't know you need today and in having access to multicloud/multiple services, you have that entire ecosystem at your fingertips. It is effectively the Internet of Cloud, but it doesn't need to be accessed just across the internet. It's bringing all of those different technologies for connectivity, for security for infrastructure for hosting and allowing those to be the ultimate eco system for any business.


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