Nothing could have mobilized the country to digitalize as quickly and urgently as the pandemic. Next step: cloud data management!

The global pandemic has practically made Cloud computing a mandate for even the smallest firm and even in countries with weak IT infrastructures.

India is a solid example: the adoption of cloud services in India has increased rapidly in keeping organizations on track during these difficult times. According to IDC, India’s public cloud services (PCS) market touched US$1.6bn in H1 2020 and it is likely to hit US$7.4bn by 2024.

With this urgent adoption, the rest of the country’s infrastructure will have to keep pace, so this means the government will step up efforts to reach even the remotest villages. How will this pan out, considering the historical lack of success?

In an exclusive interview with DigiconAsia, Vimal Venkatram, country manager of Snowflake India, a US cloud data firm that started operations in India only nine months ago, shares his insights.

Vimal Venkatram, Country Manager, India, Snowflake

DigiconAsia: What does India’s cloud adoption in the future look like?

Vimal Venkatram (VV): In India, cloud adoption is led by a variety of sectors, such as media, education, and IT. Virtual classrooms and Work from Home (WFH) adoption increased the usage of cloud-based tools, as companies raced to update their business continuity plans. To meet this demand, it is necessary for businesses in India to have the right kind of professional knowledge and technological experience to migrate data to the Cloud for digital transformation.

As of now, cloud adoption in India is mainly led by Tier-1 cities. However, it needs to be taken further to be available for Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, which will allow these cities to make further progress in their adoption of technology and development of professional knowledge. Leveraging cloud technology will help India emerge as a global innovation hub.

According to IDC, India is next only to China as the largest and fastest-growing cloud services market. Cloud computing has emerged as the next wave in computing and has been increasingly adopted across businesses as well as by consumers. 

While SaaS offerings have always been dominant, IaaS and PaaS are gaining momentum with the rise of use-cases across innovative technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, advanced analytics, and immersive media. 

With rapid cloud adoption of cloud by small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs), this can lead to a 30% growth of the country’s cloud market by 2025.

Best-in-class SMEs that have adopted the cloud have been able to drive a productivity improvement of 25–30%, and a 15–20% reduction in operational costs. Security, analytics, and offline to online are the three major opportunity segments for cloud adoption in India.

DigiconAsia: What kind of data security would emerge in the future? What avenues of demand have opened up in India?

VV: Indian firms—both cybersecurity solutions providers and end users—have boosted their cybersecurity investments during the pandemic by placing greater focus on cybersecurity innovation and IP creation. DSCI’s research indicates that India’s cybersecurity industry is expected to grow at 21% CAGR by 2025, from the current base of US$4.3bn in 2019. For emerging areas of enterprise cybersecurity expenditure, 80% of respondents suggested urgent investments in cloud security and 70% in cybersecurity product management and automation.

Going forward, the country will need industry-leading features to ensure the highest levels of security: 

  • End-to-end encryption: Users communications are always encrypted and integrated with cloud provider private networking.
  • Fully encrypted storage: Stored and saved data is always in encrypted form during handling software drivers and systems.
  • Strong authentication system: Data is safely integrated with the user’s federated SSO, and a user-friendly interface.
  • 24/7 monitoring: Every login, transaction, and data transfer has to be tracked and reported to the security tools.
  • Role-based access control: A strong data security system to facilitate administrators to control data access according to the designation and role in the organization.

DigiconAsia: What is your view on data cloud and security adoption of small businesses and start-ups in India?

VV: COVID-19 has accelerated cloud adoption for SMBs as they seek business continuity and collaboration in a distributed environment. This is driving demand for collaboration and conferencing tools, CRM, BI, marketing and security tools, as well as managed services.

The adoption of digital technology will prepare SMEs to face business roadblocks and make data-driven decisions. This will also enable them to compete with global players in their respective sectors. The digital transformation journey involves three basic technologies: cloud computing, big data analytics, and cybersecurity.

There is also the opportunity for security adoption by SMEs and start-ups with limited financial resources, specialist staff, and training—to consistently remediate threats.

DigiconAsia: You mentioned that data warehousing would decline in the future. Where does the Indian data warehousing scenario stand?

VV: According to NASSCOM, the investment into India’s data center market is expected to reach US$5bn per annum by 2025, primarily driven by growing Internet penetration, increased cloud adoption, the government’s digitalization initiatives, and the push towards localization. However, data warehousing will decline in the near future, as there are some common problems to be faced:

  • User efficiency: As the volume of data increases, the performance speed can decrease, which leads to limited efficiency.
  • Data governance: Organizations sometimes avoid investing in data governance, which allows ownership to be defined and ensures that the data shared is protected and compliant.
  • Data structuring: Once organizations start to grow, so will their warehoused data. Structuring data becomes difficult and can slow down the process. It also becomes difficult to qualify the data for analytics.

Security is a key conversation that CEOs, CIOs, and analytics officers will have in digitalization. There are actually times when data in the cloud is even more secure than in on-premise systems. Cloud data platforms will easily fill the gaps opened up by the decline of data warehousing,

DigiconAsia thanks Vimal for sharing his insights.