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Flexential 2021 Predictions: From Trendy to Essential - Cloud Investment and Protection

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

From Trendy to Essential: Cloud Investment and Protection

By Mike Fuhrman, Chief Operating Officer for Cloud and Managed Services, Flexential

The initial wave of cloud adoption started in part as a trend and for enterprises fearful of being left behind, migration was, of course, the natural next step. Because of today's new virtual normal, migration to the cloud has since become an essential to-do that organizations cannot overlook.

Earlier this year, I predicted that organizations would turn to more individualized IT assessments rather than go all-in on the public cloud. I still believe this to be true, but it has accelerated due to the pandemic. Organizations are now hurriedly assessing which environments - private, public, multi- or hybrid-cloud - are best-suited for their workloads.

In 2021, I expect to see continued investment in cloud technology, streamlining providers and costs, a greater focus on data protection, and a heightened need for flexibility and agility.

Continued Investment in Cloud Technology and Hybrid IT

Despite high enterprise uncertainty, investment in the cloud and cloud migration has continued, with almost 50% of organizations planning to shift to the cloud this year

Cloud momentum will continue into 2021, and the reason is two-fold. First, there is an inherent need for enterprise infrastructure to be accessible to every employee, especially while they are hunkered down at home. The cloud allows for ample collaboration and data storage, keeping businesses productive and efficient even while remote.

Cloud migration also eliminates the need for businesses to physically enter data center facilities to manage their environments, keeping more employees protected as the pandemic looms on.

I also expect organizations to prioritize hybrid IT in 2021 increasingly. Organizations realize that every workload is not created equal when it comes to security needs, performance, or network requirements. As a result, the "one size fits all" approach of the past will not do, leading many to turn to hybrid IT options.

Streamlining Providers and Costs

The shift to third-party providers will also rise as organizations look to eliminate multi-vendor management and reduce costs. Managing multiple cloud vendors, especially in uncertain times like these, can be extremely burdensome. In the new year, I expect to see organizations turning to one partner provider to simplify cloud connectivity and ensure data protection. 

By bundling fewer vendors, organizations reduce their risk and streamline data management. This is especially critical amidst heightened malicious activity during COVID-19. As data security remains paramount, reducing vendors helps to decrease the attack surface. 

Hardware upgrades on existing infrastructure that has depreciated in value are also top of mind for executives. This budget season, the current uncertain financial times still make significant upgrades seem daunting. For organizations facing this conundrum, I expect that many will turn to third-party providers to alleviate some of the worries and spread costs out over time, helping to reduce any immediate financial burden.

The Rise of DaaS for Protection and Recovery

Despite cloud environments being so reliable, a back-up plan is still crucial, given that no technology is genuinely fail-proof. Especially in remote environments, employees are more distracted than ever before. This, and the issue of employees being tethered to potentially unstable cable modems that connect back to corporate networks, can cause concern for enterprise leaders.

Because of this, I expect to see a rise in organizations turning to Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) options in 2021 to allow for the secure access of data off corporate networks from any device. DaaS technology will allow organizations to better meet the demands of remote work by quickly provisioning secure virtual desktops for employees and contractors alike that can be deleted if compromised.

Focus on Flexibility and Agility

The need for organizations to make swift but smart decisions continues to be vital. There is zero time for organizational downtime. If an organization is not up and running for its customers, those customers will turn elsewhere. If an organization loses access to critical documents, teams will need to start from scratch, losing time and money.

As businesses continue to work remotely in the new year and beyond, the cloud helps ensure no matter where employees are located today, they can access the information they need, when they need it, securely. 

Be Nimble, Efficient and Secure

Because of the quickness and responsiveness, the cloud affords for both internal and external needs, the technology will continue to be a mainstay in the remote work environment.

In the months to come and into 2021, I expect to see enterprises take a closer look at their IT approach, with a stronger emphasis on cloud migration to ensure that employees are connected and protected without breaking the bottom line.

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About the Author

Mike Fuhrman, Chief Operating Officer for Cloud and Managed Services, Flexential

Mike Fuhrman 

Mike leads Flexential's cloud and managed services business focusing on end-to-end technology solutions for our customers' most critical workloads. Under his leadership, the company has launched several new or enhanced cloud products to provide more hybrid IT options to a broader set of customers. Prior to his current role, he was Flexential's Chief Product Officer, overseeing the new cloud-based research and development. Mike has more than two decades of technical leadership experience, having spent much of his career at Cisco, where he was Vice President, Security Services and Cloud Operations. He has a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel and a master's degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Published Monday, November 02, 2020 7:28 AM by David Marshall
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