Hey, you, get off of my cloud!

London, 5th November 2019

Firms of all sizes are scrambling to maximise the opportunities they can glean from Cloud-based systems and technology. Cloud service providers are highlighting the long-term benefits and the market leaders are consistently introducing new features and competitive pricing. It’s a fast-changing provider environment where the direction of travel is not always clear to see.

For company executives and directors, keeping informed of this vital, growth sector is a challenge at the best of times. To help cut through the noise, WTA today welcomed guests, including industry leaders and representatives from Private Equity with an interest in the Cloud sector to the latest in their ongoing series of breakfast seminars, held at the Soho Hotel, London.

  

The Rolling Stones played loudly as the delegates entered the auditorium and took their seats. Following brief introductory remarks from WTA founder Jeffrey Jenner, the presentations began in earnest.

First was Michel Robert, managing director of Claranet UK and USA, who started by outlining the evolution of his firm and the steps being taken to stay relevant in such a fluid sector. He charted their transition from consumer ISP, to operating in a B2B ecosystem and eventually developing into a fully capable Manage Service Provider by 2019.

Assessing the evolving competitor landscape faced in the Cloud computing sector, Michel noted how Clarinet is relatively small in comparison to their competitors yet how it has managed to consistently and effectively ‘punch above their weight’. In his closing remarks he emphasised the importance for companies in making the right choice when faced with ‘building, buying or selling’ to stimulate growth.
Following Michel and very much with a contrasting approach was Dob Todorov, CEO & Chief Cloud Officer at HeleCloud Ltd. He started by describing his business model and the incredible growth enjoyed since its formation in 2016. 

Focusing on leading Cloud-based platform AWS Dob spoke of his close relationship to the company, his former employer, and how he saw the platform’s market dominance as being down to the breadth of new features being progressively introduced and the advantages of keeping to a single supplier of Cloud services. This he stated encourages loyalty from customers and focuses expertise; in contrast to how adopting a blend of different platforms can often limit their advantages to the ‘lowest common denominator’ of those selected.

Next to the podium was Worldwide Vice President, Strategy and Consulting, of Trustwave, Marco Pereira. The focus of his presentation was the inherent digital resilience he saw in the wider technology industry and more specifically the multiplication of risk inherent within the Cloud.

Explaining the sheer cost faced by large institutions and organisations for security and protective services, he identified how with the increase in the number of electronic devices owned by individuals, the potential risks faced have multiplied exponentially.

More broadly for the sector, he saw a shift from security as being an inhibitor of resilience itself, to a more reactive environment, where accepting the fallibility of systems and preparing to limit exposure were more realistic approaches to dealing with potential breeches and attacks.

The fourth and final of the presentations was taken by Graham Thomson, CISO of leading law firm Irwin Mitchell. Describing the challenges and priorities relevant to the legal industry he noted how total resilience of security inevitably has to give way to “secure as necessary rather than as secure as possible.”

Graham then proceeded to identify the ‘weak links’ that lead to breeches in Cloud security, most notably human error and ineffective deployment of resources and administration. In addressing these he praised industry organisations such as the Cloud Security Alliance who actively promote best industry practice.

Jeffrey Jenner then returned to the stage to host a brief Q&A session, with topics including the specialisms required for M&A activity in the Cloud Computing Sector, the role of compliance and the ever-present security risks inherent with Cloud-based systems.

  

He was followed to the stage by fellow WTA Partner Alan Butterworth, who highlighted the themes of ‘astonishing growth’ and the common challenges in adoption that had been raised by many of the speakers, before eventually bringing the seminar to a close.

Delegates then moved through to a neighbouring room for a light breakfast buffet and refreshments or else to network and discuss potential opportunities with one another.