It is an established fact that the big daddies of cloud service supplies like Amazon, Google and Azure have completely taken over the market and have raced several miles ahead of their nearest competitors. Together, these three names control nearly 47 per cent of the public cloud share market. The bit players are hence forced to collaborate and diversify in order to survive as competing with the big names can prove to be an utterly futile exercise. They try to survive by offering specialized cloud services targeted at a specific market vertical and other such approaches.
Cloud Computing – The New Concept
Meanwhile, the major players continue to redefine the very concept of cloud computing by providing computing services that are cost-effective and allow clients to make a neat profit. However, in doing so, they are largely ignoring the need for niche-specific services. This is one gap that the smaller players have quickly identified and are keen to fulfill. It is evident from recent developments in the industry that the bit players are becoming more functional and agile. They are also developing an approach of integration with leading public cloud services. The introduction of tools like Azure Express Route and AWS Direct Connect has helped smaller Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) as they can easily scale into the public cloud when needed.
The multi-cloud concept has taken a new meaning for smaller providers. These are:
Clients can enjoy the ability to scale up from a private cloud environment into public cloud providers.
It helps in achieving connectivity into health and social care network (HSCN) and other proprietary network. This is a domain which the big players are incapable of handling directly.
Backup and disaster recovery:
Operators can deliver powerful solutions by making use of various data center operators and CSPs that are geographically diverse.
According to industry watchers, the name of the game for smaller players is collaboration and not competition.
With more and more smaller CSPs aiming at garnering knowledge that’s domain specific knowledge, the bigger players now have to explore the option of having to partner with smaller providers so that the gaps in their expertise related to certain domains and services are suitably closed.
The Risk Factors
A classic example of such collaboration can be seen in the health care sector. CSPs with good knowledge of the domain have gained here because they are focused on the end users. The domain experts work with the clinicians and not the technical staff members as the former are associated directly with adopting innovative cloud-based technologies as part of their service to patients.
CSPs must create a service that can satisfy the end user needs instead of trying to sell equipment as a service. They simply cannot do this without the help of domain experts. When they are capable of offering a comprehensive service that can meet all the needs of their clients such as performance, availability, and security as well as privacy, they will find their services being sought by other CSPs.
At the same time, there lies this slight element of reputation risk that small players might have to deal with while associating with major CSPs. It’s a case of putting all your eggs in one big basket. Experts are of the opinion that building a business that’s largely dependent on one large customer is high risk. It is important to build a wider and diversified customer portfolio. The risk is higher when smaller companies tie up with international major players. That’s why public cloud providers now prefer working with local CSPs.
How Security and Privacy is Impacted
A new regulation in the form of GDPR or General Data Protection Regulation is expected to affect data controllers and processors in the European Union and also outside the EU. The smaller players complying with local rules will be able to play a key part as partners of bigger companies to demonstrate that they are following the GDPR rules effectively. Also, service providers demanding vertical domains shall be more than happy willing to partner with local companies that ease their compliance demands and provide them with the security and privacy controlling mechanisms needed as stated by the law.
To put the record straight, the bigger picture is that cloud service business is not as simple as some big CSPs would like us to believe. Local expertise and domain knowledge are often mentioned as the reasons for initiating a collaborative approach to service delivery. Companies, especially those having business collaborations internationally, must also factor in the impact that GDPR can have on the status and future of their business relationships.
Large CSPs will discover that it is tough to forge ahead by ignoring the smaller, local CSPs. The definition of cloud computing must take into account the collaboration aspects between the supplier and customer. The definition of cloud computing must expand to include this aspect.
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