Boris Wilkitzki on Cloud Computing in New Zealand

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Martin Danner interviews Boris Wilkitzki on Cloud Computing for Small Business in New Zealand. Boris is Managing Director of Computer and Network Solutions (CNS), a managed service provider based in Auckland. They discuss the state of cloud computing in New Zealand as well as the advantages and risks of cloud computing in general. They also explore whether or not its important for kiwi businesses to use New Zealand cloud service providers.

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Transcript

Martin – 00:01 Hello and welcome to Cloud Candle. I’m Martin Danner and I’d like to welcome Boris Wilkitzki, who’s the managing director of Computer and Network Solutions here on the North Shore of Auckland. Hi, Boris.
Boris – 00:10 Hi, Martin. Thanks for inviting me for this interview.
Martin – 00:12 Oh, well thank you very much for talking to us. Now, we’d like to talk about cloud computing and how to fix small businesses in New Zealand, but first tell me a little about yourself and your company.
Boris – 00:25 Thanks Martin. CNS we specialize in integrating high performance IT solutions, scaling from traditional survey network setups, offering hybrid IT solutions, using pods on premise and a number of services in the cloud, all the way up to fully hosted solutions in New Zealand or international data centers.
Martin – 00:49 So clearly, you’ve had a lot of experience with small businesses in New Zealand and Australia, what would you say the state of cloud computing is here in this part of the world?
Boris – 00:57 We see massive hype around cloud solutions here in New Zealand, and a very different range of expectations from different people. From the end user, all the way up to the CEO around what cloud is and what can it be used for. The biggest challenge of c loud solutions we believe is the price and the availability of high speed Internet connections especially to international data centers. Even if the price for international connectivity has come significantly down in the last years, international bandwidth is still both expensive and has a high latency on the links.
Martin – 01:36 And so, what do you see as some of the advantages of the Cloud computing for small businesses?
Boris – 01:41 Technology is changing very rapidly, so is the market space. So, we’re in the middle of a huge change of mind sets of end users who are no longer willing to accept the “no” from their IT department. They want to be in power to achieve their work more efficient and faster. They change their mindset and challenge IT departments and service providers as technology needs to be planned, delivered and maintained much faster than ever before. The Cloud is a very good opportunity of implementing new systems and processes faster as there’s less dependencies on what the current IT infrastructure can actually handle.
Martin – 02:21 That’s really quite a challenge for small IT departments who really perceive their role as that of gatekeeper to protect the data a nd to essentially make sure users aren’t doing what they’re not supposed to. Now, it seems like we’re moving to a world where the users are demanding so much more, so much faster, how do they cope with that?
Boris – 02:39 There are a number of concerns of utilizing cloud solutions and the expectations of speed in which cloud solutions are being implemented and planned. Rapid implementations, which are a huge benefit of cloud offerings, are also posing a huge risk of systems which actually end up not delivering what was expected and don’t comply with current standards, and security and legal regulations. My approach has always been the fastest cars need the best brakes, so businesses more than ever need to do due diligence on all IT systems including cloud offerings before they purchase or sign up for them.
Martin – 03:21 Okay, now are there any risks or drawbacks that small business decision makers need to know about cloud computing?
Boris – 03:28 We see that more and more isolated cloud solutions are being implemented successfully into an organization without considering how they were integrated into current applications and processes and security regulations. Let us say, there’s a huge risk of that, especially in terms of the legal regulations like, for example, the amended revenue department. Also, legislative requirements on data security – sharing it with the clients. So, there’s a huge challenge in terms of security.
Martin – 04:09 Okay. So do you think it’s important that New Zealand businesses use a New Zealand-based cloud service provider?
Boris – 04:15 I believe that this is a question that needs to be answered by looking into every individual case and business goal. Its regulatory requirements are not important for achieving certain goals. We believe that the decision can be made purely on considering functionality, support, and price. That in itself opens a number of global cloud providers which might offer very competitive pricing to New Zealand businesses. But if an organization is looking into transferring all its services into the cloud, the solution needs to be considered and properly tested in regards to speed, back-up, functionality, security, and compliance. Basically, today’s network needs to be defined around the application and service the actual business one needs to use and choose to use. We call that SDN, which stands for Software Defined Networks, which is basically a coming of global transport transforming IT systems.
Martin – 05:15 Okay. Explain to me a little more what this SDN is?
Boris – 05:21 Software Defined Networks is a term describing that the networks need to actually be designed around the software people want to use, in terms of availability, reliability, and speed. This is actually a very interesting term of– and pushes the business in defining. I have application A, B, and C, and this is the expectation I have on this software, so the network will be designed around that requirement.
Martin – 05:57 Okay. Very interesting. I’ve heard of VPNs, those are quite popular. Is this the next generation? The next step?
Boris – 06:05 No. Software Defined Networks means basically that the application is in the middle point, in the center focus of what we use, whether we use cloud solutions, whether we use hybrid or on-premise solutions. So the software basically — the software is the driver of this discussion. So we make our networks dependent on whatever the customer needs and whatever the software requires to run on.
Martin – 06:33 Okay, now you just used another term there, hybrid. Now, I think most people are familiar with on-premises, right? You’ve got your computer on sight that you can see it, and you’ve got a feeling of control and security there. There’s this buzz word about infrastructure-as-a-service. That’s the idea about your computer is in someone else’s data center and then there is this software-as-a-service where you are actually using other people’s programs and software, you are simply just subscribing to it, logging on to it and you start using it. So what do you see your customers using primarily?
Boris – 07:07 Every business is unique and have different drivers and strategies for their systems. We always need to consider the current bent with limitations and prices. We need to first understand that IT systems need to be designed as a strategic asset rather than a cost center. When we consider for example, software-as-a-service offers a very good way to provide service to customers fast and secure without having to upgrade the local security systems. So they can still run their infrastructure in house, but they can add on to the existing functionality very cheap.
 Boris (cont) An additional service, they would never have been able to implement without software-as-a-service from a financial perspective. If a business wants to implement a new way of collaborating with their clients, software-as-a-service is ideal to achieve that with very little capital expenditure and very fast. However, as usual, the solution provider needs to be chosen very carefully in terms of what actually provide and they need to be hold responsible for it. When we paired with the infrastructure as in sales, infrastructure-as-a service, there is a very good offering that put everything into the cloud, into New Zealand or international data centers. Most commonly used for IT environments, they which never invested in modern technology and all of a sudden they say that they have to actually invest in IT environments, to enable them their business to stay ahead of the game.
Martin – 08:47 Okay. So what I’m hearing then is that infrastructure-as-a-service might be a good option for folks who are looking to replace or at a point where they need to replace or upgrade their existing hardware or software, and more and more folks are considering that option.
Boris – 09:03 Another good reason for infrastructure-as-a-service is if these companies have the majority of employees working from remote locations and have limited secure office space to implement on-premise solutions. For example, a lot of franchise organizations go with infrastructure-as-a-service because they basically can add very, very easily ten users or a new franchisee without investing in the local infrastructure. So they can just enable and click “create new user” and basically it is done. So that gives a lot of flexibility.
Martin – 09:42 Okay. What I’m hearing then is that software-as-a-service is ideal for services that you need to spin up quickly, that don’t have really critical customer or financial information involved, and that provide a platform for collaboration and sharing.
Boris – 09:58 Exactly, that’s the ideal match we use software-as-a-service. Or security is another point, so if customers don’t want to invest in local security infrastructure because they don’t know where their business goes in two years, they go with security-as-a-service, and they put all their security services into the cloud.
Martin – 10:27 How about small businesses? The vast majority of businesses here in New Zealand, just in terms of numbers, have five employees or less. Now, do you see most of those as requiring a hybrid solution or is software-as-a-service appropriate for them?
Boris – 10:45 Hybrid solutions are most likely used for companies who have invested previously in IT environment and have legacy applications, so they can’t just invest in software-as-a-service because software-as-a-service requires a certain level of updated environment. So, they need to still run legacy systems in-house , but every new service they put into the cloud and that’s what we refer to as hybrid model.
Martin – 11:18 Okay, sounds great. Boris, do you have any final words of advice for small business owners and managers who are in New Zealand regarding cloud computing?
Boris – 11:26 Yeah, we believe that cloud solutions offers a unique opportunity, actually. Especially for small business owners to achieve more with less. However, our business owners need to aware that the cloud has limitations and services should be chosen very carefully in terms of speed, security, compliance, and availability. So business owners should involve trusted advisers like CNS or like Cloud Candle who have experience in cloud solutions and know what questions to ask and involve them very heavily in the decision making process.
Martin – 12:02 Fantastic. Well, Boris Wilkitzki, Computer Network Solutions. Thank you so much for joining us.
Boris – 12:08 Thank you very much, Martin.
Martin – 12:09 And thank you for watching our show today. This is Martin Danner with CloudCandle. Bye-bye.

1 Comment

  1. Dorian Scott says:

    Great summary of the issues thank you. We are seeing an increasing number of cloud based services being developed by the startups that we are working with. There is huge opportunities for collaboration and NZ based companies have shown they can be global in the cloud services field.