By Rajiv Sharaf , CIO, Reliance Infrastructure Limited
Reliance Infrastructure Limited (BSE: 500390) is a private sector enterprise power utility company and a part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Headquartered in Mumbai, the company is the distributor of electricity to consumers in the suburbs of Mumbai and has a market cap of Rs.9486 crore.
In the past decade, technology has changed at a faster pace as compared to the previous two-three decades across the world. The organizations were needed to adapt themselves to the technological changes to better serve the changing needs of the internal and external customer or else face the threat of getting obsolete. The best examples in the recent times are companies like Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry. These companies were among the leading players across the globe; still they failed to understand the changing needs of their customers. They could not provide innovative and creative product range for their customers and subsequently lost their market share to companies like Apple and Samsung which invested heavily on innovative products.
Presently, CIOs need to have a better understanding of their businesses and the prevailing technology in the industry so that they are able to balance and deploy a solution/technology which gives optimum benefits to the organization. The major thrust of the CIOs is to provide the solution that suits their business rather than emphasize on the latest technology/solution available in the industry.
Manage Data Privacy/Protection
Initially the applications were developed with Client-Server architecture and the total data resided on the server with restricted access to a selected few in the organization. In the last decade with the deep penetration of internet services across the globe and very high cost of adapting to the changing technology, most of the companies have migrated from owning their IT infrastructure with a data center and disaster recovery sites to CLOUD computing.
The data migration from one's own IT Infrastructure to the cloud environment has thrown major challenges of maintaining the data confidentiality, integrity and availability as the information has become too vulnerable on the cloud. There were instances in the recent past when the hackers could access the confidential data of the organizations, banks, financial institutions and their customer databases were sold to rivals in the industry.
Most of the executives travel across the globe carrying sensitive information on their laptops. There were instances when the laptops were stolen to gain the access to their critical information hence laptop and the data security has also emerged as a major challenge in the recent times.
Managing High Infrastructure Cost
The organizations across the globe are facing major challenges in managing the IT infrastructure and maintaining the uptime of Data Centers. To overcome the challenge most of the companies are migrating towards CLOUD computing. The cloud has helped the organizations to minimize the total cost of owning (TCO) the IT infrastructure i.e., the capital expenditure and pay only for the services i.e., the operational expenditure. Organizations are able to outsource their non-core services to the companies exclusively into the cloud business.
Changing Nature of Threat
Companies over a period of time have invested heavily on the IT infrastructure and have developed robust systems by deploying state-of-the-art Firewalls/IPS, thus ensuring that their systems are not vulnerable to the attacks.
Despite of that, the data leakages have happened as the employees could not be sensitized about the threat to the organizations posed by data thefts. During a recent survey, it was observed that most of the data thefts have happened due to the employees working in the organization or in the back-office. CIOs need to understand the changing nature of the threat to their systems and accordingly devise a robust plan to mitigate the challenges.
In past decade Mobile and Cloud computing have emerged as leading technologies in the IT sector. The affordability of mobile devices has increased the penetration of smart phones in the mass population as a result of which most of the companies are striving to make their applications available through smart phones. All the leading banks and financial intuitions have already adapted to Mobile computing. Blackberry and WhatsApp have emerged as leading mobile chatting applications across the universe.
Similarly, companies are investing less on the IT infrastructure as with every passing day the IT infrastructure installed even five years back is becoming obsolete. Hence, the companies are moving away from the traditional CAPEX model to OPEX model wherein the companies are ready to pay as per the usage of the IT resources over a period of time instead of upfront investing in implementing the IT infrastructure and servicing them over the years.