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Scaling the cloud

Total cloud IT infrastructure spending, including servers, disk storage and Ethernet, will grow 21 percent year over year to $32 billion this year, and will account for one-third of all IT infrastructure spending – up from $26.4 billion and 28 percent of the overall IT infrastructure budget in 2014, according to IDC research released in April. And industry insiders believe that the increased number of options – including sector-specific ones, a stronger focus on security and an emerging focus on guidelines and controls – is making the case for them …

Vidur Apparao, chief technology officer for Agari, a San Mateo, Calif.-based email SaaS security solutions provider, says that at this point the adoption of some cloud or SaaS solution in the enterprise, across all sectors and sizes, seems “ubiquitous.” The difference in actual penetration within an enterprise – in other words, the number of use cases and departments using cloud or SaaS offerings in a company – varies by sector and security sensitivity, he says. Although, more recently, new offerings have emerged that appeal to specific regulated sectors, such as industry-specific clouds for financial services, government and health care. These cloud offerings take into account the regulations governing each specific sector, Apparao says, and are therefore more attractive to compliance- and security-sensitive organizations and agencies.

Another recent change is the realization by many SaaS companies that they need to adopt a more “security-first approach” to convince prospective enterprise customers to make the jump from on-premise solutions, especially for sensitive data. Apparao singles out Box as one such security-first provider, since Box has focused at a marketing and product level on demonstrating to customers that their business-critical documents are safe in the cloud. “Security at most companies has been a back-office function,” Apparao says, “but now it’s a business enabler and differentiator for progressive cloud and SaaS companies.”