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Home » Technology & Innovation » Pivoting Out of the Pandemic — Industries Are Turning to the Cloud to Emerge Strong
Frank Attaie

Frank Attaie

Vice President Technology Sales,
IBM Canada

Organizations cross-Canada and cross-industry are focused on emerging strong into a post-pandemic economy. In a recent survey, 59 percent of surveyed organizations reported that digital transformations have accelerated due to the pandemic. Projects that may have once taken years to complete are now being accomplished in a matter of weeks, with many executives citing cloud computing as a driving force behind these results.

IBM Canada Vice President of Technology Sales Frank Attaie recently shared his thoughts on how and why organizations have accelerated their journeys to cloud during the pandemic.

Why do you think so many business leaders are turning to cloud ­— particularly hybrid cloud — for their digital transformations, despite the potential economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic?

Hybrid cloud brings together on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, and edge computing to create a single, flexible IT infrastructure that enables companies to migrate workloads to cloud environments while keeping others where they are. This helps businesses achieve their objectives more effectively and securely than using public cloud or private cloud alone. In fact, according to one study, companies derive up to two and a half times the value from hybrid cloud than from a single-cloud, single-vendor approach. Technical and financial efficiency are now more critical than ever, so decisions like these make sense.

The financial services industry is one of the most highly regulated in Canada. How has this acceleration to the cloud affected banks in their digital transformation efforts?

In the past, banks have been somewhat reluctant to move their mission-critical workloads to the cloud because the platforms they used weren’t built with the industry-specific regulatory compliance and data protection needs in mind. Now, banks are recognizing if they want to stay competitive, they can no longer hold back. The very nature of their business requires a cloud that is secure to the core at each layer, highly scalable and interoperable. They’re also recognizing that urgency and speed will enable them to be agile in the future, providing the resiliency they need to innovate and provide customers with a seamless experience. IBM Cloud for Financial Services is a game-changer for the industry — with built-in regulatory and compliance controls it aims to help banks migrate to the cloud with confidence.

With the sharp increase that we’re seeing in cyberattacks, data protection has to be top of mind for most organizations. How have industries been rising to these unprecedented challenges?

Cybersecurity is more important than ever across all industries and that’s one of the reasons for IBM’s significant focus and investment in data protection in the cloud. Those in highly-regulated industries — like banking but also government and health care — are stewards of the privacy of sensitive data. As these organizations migrate more of their mission-critical workloads to the cloud, the old methods of securing sensitive data are no longer sufficient. Cloud providers need to offer higher levels of data protection commensurate with the critical nature of the information, as well as satisfy stringent regulations.

Data privacy and security are at the heart of IBM’s hybrid cloud strategy, and IBM Cloud is the most open and secure cloud for business. This also means a high degree of focus on privacy assurance for our clients and our clients’ clients. Capabilities such as keep your own key (KYOK) and confidential computing give an extra layer of technical assurance, which helps make each digital transaction seamless and secure, giving businesses confidence that privacy is at the centre of their digital experiences. With these capabilities, the client’s data is theirs and theirs alone — not even IBM as the cloud provider is capable of accessing the information.

IBM is all in on hybrid cloud because we understand that businesses need a clear and critical path to modernize their mission-critical systems with advanced cloud services. A hybrid cloud strategy is about meeting you where you are in your journey. It’s about giving you the ability to leverage the capabilities and benefits of the cloud, across a whole spectrum of environments. – Arvind Krishna, Chairman and CEO, IBM.

You’ve mentioned how now, more than ever, there’s an increased urgency for governments and health care organizations to advance their digital transformations. How optimistic are you that this will happen?

I don’t think anyone could have predicted a year ago just how much everything would change in the way services and information are delivered by governments and health care authorities. I’ve observed digital acceleration across all industries to meet the immediate demand faced by the public sector for access to information, flexibility and scalability, operational resiliency, and actionable insights. Given their experiences and progress over the past year, I don’t see any scenario where governments and health care organizations would make the decision to decelerate the advancements that they’ve been making. The stakes are just too high. At the same time, similar to financial services, these are two highly-regulated industries where there are unique challenges and security requirements that have to be met. We’re committed to continuing to drive clients’ hybrid cloud journeys with our industry-specialized approach that’s underpinned by security and trust.

IBM cloud computing infographic

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