By Thawipong Anotaisinthawee, Country Manager, Nutanix (Thailand)
By 2040 the Asia-Pacific region will make up half of the global economy, according to McKinsey. From its strengths as a world-class technology hub to its rising collective GDP and growth of its cities, population and workforce, the region has much to offer companies with a view for growth.
As far as global regions go, it is quite disparate, with thousands of languages spoken, many forms of government and different economic approaches in place. Its nations also exist throughout the complete spectrum of market maturity. For business expansion, the Asia-Pacific region is certainly a lucrative opportunity for investment, but its complexities can cause bumps along the way.
A major challenge faced by most companies last year was around digital transformation and technology decisions to keep their businesses running. With the global COVID-19 pandemic forcing many businesses to jump, sometimes years ahead of their existing plans, cloud solutions were an obvious choice. Many of these relied heavily on public cloud to enable workers to work remotely, address the internal skills shortages or for scalability.
However, now is the time for business leaders to give pause and review their cloud computing strategy ensuring they can demonstrate that proper consideration is given to the regulatory demands of each country in which they do business or seek to do business. For the Asia-Pacific region that can become a highly challenging exercise.
In 2020, the United Nations took stock of which regions and countries had data and privacy protections in place for its citizens. Only 57 percent of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region had general data and privacy legislation in place, compared with 69 percent for the Americas and Europe at 96 percent. With lower rates of regulation adoption, why was this a challenge?
While Europe has its uniform General Data Protection Regulation which member states all adhere to, there is no shared regulatory framework throughout the Asia-Pacific region. There are also nearly double the number of countries in the region than in the Americas. This can cause major challenges in the handling of data and the deployment of business technology solutions that need to remain compliant.
So, what seemed like a straight-forward roll out between markets using public cloud infrastructure, is now mounting up as a significant development challenge to factor in all the variations. There is no one-size-fits-all approach or a simple adaptation for businesses to take within the region.
If you instead choose to put your data and assets on private cloud infrastructure and protect the data within your own environments to get around the regulatory hurdles, you are likely to run into another kind of problem – resourcing. While the tools to monitor and manage private cloud are quite good, the skills needed to maintain and run the infrastructure are not as easy to come by, and this can also delay development. With much international talent locked within their borders during the pandemic, there is no easy fix, especially in markets with limited cloud adoption.
There is one silver lining, however, and it is hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud acts as a connector between your public and private cloud infrastructure. You can choose to keep your data in the privacy of your own cloud infrastructure negating the regulatory concerns, while still utilising public cloud to speed up deployment and scale up or down as needed. It really is the best of both worlds.
By simplifying the connections between private and public cloud systems and unifying management across clouds, it is possible to remove the complexity from hybrid cloud environments which ultimately gives businesses back control of their environments. Applications can become seamlessly mobile, while data is stored and handled only where and when you need it to be to remain compliant. You can remain agile and launch deployments in much faster timeframes.
The global pandemic continues, but with vaccines now being rolled out around the world, and the talk of travel restrictions easing. Businesses will continue to invest in a more hybrid workforce, able to work from anywhere. According to our latest Enterprise Cloud Index report, improving IT infrastructure (50 percent) or work-from-home capabilities (47 percent) have become priorities for the next 12 to 18 months as a direct result of the pandemic.
From a regulatory perspective, more changes are also on the way. Countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand are already seeking to bolster their data privacy protection through legislation.
For businesses, now is an opportune moment to consider the technology infrastructure that will help give them an economic advantage for their business. This is where hybrid cloud offers a critical advantage as business decision-makers have the ability to place workloads in an environment that makes the most sense, including highly sensitive data which helps overcome concerns about regulatory compliance.