Location independence

Location independence

1. Distributed cloud

Distributed cloud is the distribution of public cloud services to different physical locations while operation, governance and evolution of the services remain the responsibility of the public cloud provider.

Distributed cloud addresses the need for customers to have cloud computing resources closer to the physical location where data and business activities happen. This could be, for example, in an enterprise data centre, a 5G network or even on a manufacturing floor.

As distributed cloud evolves, we predict a time when customers will ask a cloud provider for cloud resources that comply with certain general performance requirements.

Interest in hybrid cloud computing is rising. The main reason for this is that many customers need to deal with technologies they already own and operate, often within their own data centres.

These customers cannot abandon existing technologies in favour of complete and immediate migration to the public cloud. Sunk costs, latency requirements, regulatory and data residency requirements, and even the need for integration with non-cloud, on-premises systems hold them back. Instead, they use a combination of private cloud-inspired and public cloud styles of computing. This creates a hybrid IT environment.

2. Anywhere operations

Anywhere operations describe a business operating model designed to reach customers anywhere, enable employees anywhere and use digital technologies to deliver business services anywhere. It challenges the conventional wisdom that it is necessary to be in a specific location, interacting face-to-face to maximise value and efficiency. It drives a next normal in which employees, contractors, business partners, customers and end consumers will be remote from each other.

A digital-first, location-independent mindset is a prerequisite to anywhere operations. Providing a seamless and scalable digital experience requires changes in the technology infrastructure, management practices, security, governance policies and employee and customer engagement models.

Organisations that emerge successfully from the COVID-19 pandemic will have an anywhere operations foundation. Organisational preparedness and resilience to cope with the crisis depend largely on the maturity and readiness of digital capabilities.

Anywhere operations is not only about remote working as there are practical needs that demand physical proximity to people and equipment. In such cases, anywhere operations use contactless interactions but preserve the unique value of personal interaction.

The workplaces of the future will evolve in response to the pandemic regardless of whether they are offices. The changes will include the adoption of remote support technologies using mobile devices, wearables and augmented reality headsets.

Contactless and passwordless interactions using IoT sensors, smart cards enabled by near-field communication and wearables will become the norm for mundane transactions such as unlocking physical access to restricted spaces and operating elevators or vending machines.

3. Cybersecurity mesh

The cybersecurity mesh is a distributed architectural approach to scalable, flexible and reliable cybersecurity control. Most assets and devices are now located outside the old ‘walls’ of the organisation. The cybersecurity mesh enables any person or thing to securely access and use any digital asset, no matter where either is located while providing the necessary level of security.

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the process of turning the digital enterprise inside out. We have passed an inflection point — most organisational cyber assets are now outside the traditional physical and logical security perimeters. However, as the extended enterprise weakens our ability to control access to our critical digital assets, citizen and consumer expectations about data protection continue to grow.

The cybersecurity mesh is a convergence of new need and new security services. Although security leaders understood this architectural model 20 years ago, they lacked incentive and a convenient set of technologies. It was too much work for too little benefit. That has changed. Now, with security services, the cloud can protect the cloud.

As anywhere operations continue to evolve, the cybersecurity mesh will become the most practical approach to ensure secure access to, and use of, cloud-located applications and distributed data from uncontrolled devices.

Back to the themes