Cloud Creates Opportunities for Innovation, but Security Needs to be Kept in Mind

Cloud Creates Opportunities for Innovation, but Security Needs to be Kept in Mind

Foto: Dražen Tomić - Tomich Productions

Technological changes driven by the response to the pandemic have become permanent, and for business success, digital transformation has become a way of life, Tomislav Balun, director of IBM Croatia, pointed out in an interview with ICTbusiness.info. He added that, according to an IBM report, the costs of a data breach increased by 13 percent from 2020 to 2022, and companies have realized that it is time to make progress in improving data security.

Last year was marked by the continuation of digital transformation. What did it mean for IBM Croatia?

2022 has been a year in which businesses had to make critical technology decisions to adapt to the challenging business and economic environment. The technological changes initiated by the response to the pandemic have become permanent, and for businesses to succeed, a digital transformation had become a way of life. As a result, companies have been busy adopting new business models, moving workloads to the cloud, and digitalizing their operations.

It became apparent to everybody - digital transformation fueled by cloud and artificial intelligence is here to stay. While more data is created today than ever before, harnessing its power requires new capabilities, new tools, and new infrastructure. And since data is now the source of value —not land or industry—, it makes it a prime target for attackers, resulting in the rise of cybersecurity attacks. According to an IBM report, data breach costs surged 13% from 2020 to 2022.

Companies realized it’s time to go beyond outmoded approaches and adopt a "zero trust” attitude to security — a preventative approach that assumes malicious actors are everywhere.

There is a lot of talk about new technologies and solutions. What was happening on the market in 2022?

For IBM in Croatia, the focus was on partnering and supporting our clients as they progressed on their digital transformation journeys. The IBM CIO study revealed that CIOs in Central and Eastern Europe see Cloud, IoT, automation, 5G, and AI as their top investments over the next 3 years. In 2022, we observed many of our local clients are investing in these same segments, looking for a trusted IT partner. Naturally, they require specific solutions, tailored to their industry, and here is where IBM is strong – we brought in our industry and consulting expertise, thru IBM teams and business partners. Our unique ability is to take different pieces of technology —software, hardware, cloud, or services — and bring them all together in a way that creates value for our clients.

What do you expect in 2023?

We expect businesses to continue investing in solutions that will result in cost savings, increased security, the energy efficiency of their data centers, and opening new business opportunities. The investments executives make today will define which doors are open to them tomorrow.

By now it has become clear – the hybrid cloud is the dominant approach. As we look to 2023, leaders are now shifting the focus to determine which workloads go where. IBM Cloud Predictions show that organizations have started to take inventory of their IT environments to select which workloads and applications are best suited for the cloud and which should remain on-premises. In 2023, more organizations will realize it’s not mainframe OR cloud – it’s mainframe AND cloud.

The IBM predictions also identify other two key areas for companies: how to manage security holistically and operationalize sustainability. Cloud-based technologies, platforms, and ecosystems create new opportunities for innovation, but they can also introduce new threats. Companies need to ensure they have a holistic approach to security and a clear view of data residing across their entire hybrid cloud infrastructure to better prevent risk.

Last – sustainability. Europe is facing energy transition challenges and supply chain disruption. Nearly half (48%) of CEOs are saying sustainability is one of the highest priorities for their organization (IBM IBV Study). As a result, business leaders will place a larger focus on improving energy efficiency across their entire IT operations without sacrificing security or performance.

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