The battle between Amazon Web Service (AWS) and Microsoft Azure for public cloud domination rages on. AWS is the giant of the two at present, with more than 30% market share, but Azure is hot on its heels. The Microsoft platform reported revenue up 98% in Q1 versus 45% for AWS.
Greater competition among cloud vendors is “all good news” for enterprise insurance customers, according to Bill Fox, vice president and head of the insurance practice at MarkLogic, an operational and transactional Enterprise NoSQL database platform. It leads to better service, innovation and pricing, and it enables companies to spread their risk among multiple cloud vendors.
Companies, whether solidly in the cloud or just setting off on a cloud venture, need cloud-neutral technologies and data level security in order to succeed in this area, Fox explained. They need applications that will allow them to be agile now and in the future, so they can switch public cloud vendors, or even move back on premise or to a private cloud, should a cloud vendor stumble or get too greedy.
“At MarkLogic, we talk to our clients about the importance of cloud neutrality and not getting locked into one particular cloud,” Fox told Insurance Business. “Enterprises need to be prepared for all scenarios. A vendor might make changes you don’t like or make an acquisition with a company you don’t want to be aligned with, and so it’s important to have the ability to make changes. Therefore, we advise our clients to avoid building applications fit for just one cloud or proprietary system.
“Snapchat is a good example. They run on the Google Cloud Platform but recently revealed they plan to spend a billion dollars with AWS over the next five years to differentiate their own risk. Companies need to be aware of the risks that arise if they’re locked into just one cloud.”
There has been some speculation among insurance professionals around cloud platforms – public and private - as potential risk aggregators. However, Fox attributes this to the widespread “data integration fear”. Some companies, insurers included, think combining data silos in one place and under one security network is inherently dangerous.
However, if a company’s data is marked up correctly and has element level security, then that security can travel with the data once it’s ingested into a cloud or aggregated into a platform,Fox explained.
“A big focus of this enterprise-wide digital transformation is the sharing of data,” he added. “It’s about allowing your customers and your partners to have access to your data, therefore making data-level security an absolute priority.
“The clouds have great security; they absolutely have to. At MarkLogic, we think more about the risk of an enterprise being tied proprietarily in one place, as opposed to the security risks of cloud platforms.”
MarkLogic’s operational and transactional Enterprise NoSQL database platform is designed to help companies move data from silos “quickly and with ease,” said Fox. MarkLogic applications are cloud neutral, so “once built, they can be run anywhere.”