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Singapore companies to be cloud-first in two years

Large enterprises in Singapore will think cloud-first, though security remains a bugbear

Singapore is hopping onto the cloud bandwagon, with a majority of companies in the city-state expected to be “cloud-first” in the next two years, according to research by ServiceNow.

The provider of cloud-based IT service management services commissioned market research firm ReRez to poll 225 mid- to senior managers from large enterprises in Singapore, as well as other respondents from the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France and the Netherlands.

According to the survey, which was conducted in August 2016, 44% of Singapore respondents said they are taking a cloud-first approach to IT – that is, to embrace cloud-based applications and infrastructure services rather than design, deploy and manage their own datacentres. This figure is projected to grow to 59% in two years.

Interestingly, the survey found that many of Singapore’s cloud initiatives are spurred by DevOps, which aims to promote better collaboration between developers and IT operations teams.

Some 73% of respondents said the rise of DevOps is driving the shift to the cloud, with nearly every respondent reporting that they are involved with the DevOps movement in one way or another.

The shortage of talent, however, remains an issue for companies that are looking to make the move to the cloud. Based on the survey, 85% of Singapore companies that have made the shift to a cloud-first model said their IT staff lacked the required skill sets.

While 92% of respondents said the cloud could replace IT departments, some 71% said IT’s relevance to the business had improved, and 65% said IT will be completely essential in the future.

Jimmy Fitzgerald, vice-president and general manager of ServiceNow Asia Pacific and Japan, noted that while cloud computing has been present since the late 1990s, it is finally about to reach its tipping point in Singapore.

“At this point, both opportunities and dangers arise – enterprises must ensure that they are paying attention and not let themselves be lulled into inaction,” he said.

Addressing security concerns

David Loke, CEO of ReadySpace, a Singapore-based supplier of cloud-based infrastructure and applications, concurred with the survey findings, noting that Singapore companies are generally warming up to cloud services, more so than their counterparts in the region.

According to the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s Cloud Readiness Index 2016, Singapore has jumped two places to become the second-most cloud ready country in Asia-Pacific, bettered only by Hong Kong.

That said, Loke noted that some Singapore firms are still holding back adoption due to regulatory and compliance concerns.

“There are companies that have put off plans to shift to the cloud, until they are assured that they can address the security concerns that their boards may have,” he told Computer Weekly.

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“That’s why cloud security standards, such as the Multi-Tier Cloud Security Singapore Standard (MTCS SS), that the Singapore government has been championing over the past few years are instrumental in driving greater adoption of the cloud,” Loke added.

First announced in 2014, the MTCS SS drives cloud adoption across industries by providing clarity around the security provisions of cloud service providers. These include cloud governance, infrastructure security, operations management and cloud-specific information security, across three levels of security.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has also worked with Singapore’s Ministry of Health to provide guidance on where various forms of healthcare information and data may be hosted on different MTCS levels.

As of June 2016, a total of 79 cloud services from suppliers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, SoftLayer, Alibaba and ReadySpace have been MTCS SS-certified by accredited certification bodies.

Read more on Information technology (IT) in ASEAN