Paul Kinsella reveals some facts and figures behind the move to hosted cloud solutions for document management and transfer
Despite green shoots in the UK economy, it’s clear that savvy consumers and a crowded market place have continued to force businesses to do more with less. Companies around the country have turned to solutions that enable them to streamline productivity and reduce costs. Much of the IT industry is already aware of the benefits associated with cloud solutions, with many championing the benefits it brings to businesses, and it seems that UK businesses are increasingly starting to take note.
Majority planning to adopt managed service by year end
Analysts IDC predict that demand for cloud services will grow by 25% worldwide in 2014, and over $100 billion will be spent before year end. In a recent survey of UK large businesses across a variety of sectors, such as financial, retail and manufacturing, eFax looked at the deployment of cloud technology and the reasons behind this move to the cloud. The survey results emulate IDC’s findings. Of the businesses questioned by eFax, 83% have already moved business applications to a hosted services model and of the 17% that aren’t currently using cloud solutions, the majority of these (82%) are planning to adopt them in some way before year end. This is a clear indication that not only is cloud computing now mainstream, but that businesses will invest in the right technology in order to reduce costs and grow their businesses.
The research indicated a variety of reasons behind this shift to the cloud, with flexibility (59%), efficiency (45%) and cost reduction (45%) the most regularly cited motives. While, IT departments are trying to keep pace with ever changing technology, tackling integration with legacy systems and satisfying user demands as they introduce new working practice policies such as bring your own device (BYOD). Some 35% of respondents had deployed cloud solutions to help mitigate the risks associated with supporting outdated technology and infrastructure.
Less than a quarter rate compliance as a pressure
As many cloud solutions offer a more secure and reliable delivery of documents; particularly crucial in industries handling sensitive information such as the financial, legal and medical professions. But when participants were asked about the pressures that are forcing businesses to boost productivity and reduce costs, it is worrying that only 24% felt that compliance was a factor; less than customer expectations, the economy, competition, the board and increasing overheads.
In fact with many industries operating in an increasingly strict regulatory environment, it is staggering that businesses aren’t feeling the pressure of compliance more. Last year, the Bank of Scotland was fined after repeatedly faxing customers' account details and payslips to the wrong recipients, in direct violation of the data protection act. Particularly when cloud faxing solutions exist , that provide a secure delivery method for documents, meaning staff can fax safely, reliably and more importantly, to the correct fax number with no manual dialling involved. The Information Commissioner’s Office found that the Bank of Scotland failed to take sufficient technical and organisational measures against repeated unauthorised processing of personal data that would mitigate human error and levied a large fine to reflect the seriousness of the matter.
Flexibility and efficiency trump cost reductions
As expected cost reduction is an important considerations for shifting to the cloud, with 45% citing this an important motive, but what is particularly noteworthy is that flexibility and efficiency are as important considerations, if not more so, than cost reduction across a variety of sectors. Those in the manufacturing and retail industries cited flexibility as the prime reason, while those in financial services saw flexibility and efficiency on a par with cost reduction. For cost not to be the primary driver when considering any purchasing decision is a very encouraging sign for the wider economy, and the health of UK Plc.
The market remains as competitive as ever; squeezed margins, increased customer expectations and vociferous competition are long standing business issues that won’t change any time soon. But what is different today is what companies are doing to meet these challenges. In an effort to streamline operations and boost productivity and efficiency, UK businesses are increasingly turning to cloud services, with lower capital costs and rapid deployment cycles to help the business flourish. But it’s equally important that UK businesses take the regulatory environment seriously by adapting cloud technology to help with compliance mandates and avoid exposing the company to unnecessary risk.
About the author
Paul Kinsella is the General Manager, Europe for j2 Global, where he oversees the European operations for the company’s cloud services including eFax Corporate. Prior to joining j2 Global, Paul was with Creative Labs for 15 years, where he held a number of senior management positions including responsibility for Global Customer Support and Online Sales for Europe and America. Paul has a degree in Computer Science from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from the Smurfit School of Business, University College Dublin.
Security policy automation and enforcement business Catbird has launched Catbird 6.0 (formerly Catbird vSecurity), the latest version of its security automation solution. According to a recent Verizon PCI report, only 9.4% of organisations investigated after a data breach were compliant with PCI Requirement 10. To help increase businesses compliance with PCI and other security standards Catbird have launched the latest version of Catbird 6.0. The latest version includes extend support for both VMware and Microsoft hypervisors and supports VMware NSX and Cisco ACI. Additionally there’s a new application programming interfaces (APIs) in the product to enable businesses to automate and enforce security policy, audit for continuous compliance, and integrate into their existing management systems. Catbird 6.0 also expands its continuous monitoring capabilities to include extensive configuration checks based on Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) and updates for FISMA, FedRAMP, ISO27001 and PCI DSS 3.0. New Features of Catbird 6.0 include:
Catbird will be showcasing the new 6.0 release at RSA Conference 2014 in San Francisco, Feb. 24-28 2014. The software is available immediately and a fully-functional evaluation version is available.