Alphabet Inc achieves a $1trn valuation; who will be next?
Alphabet is now the fourth US company to join the elite club, following Apple, Amazon (which h...
Google's parent company Alphabet Inc is now worth $1trn.
Alphabet is now the fourth US company to join the elite club, following Apple, Amazon (which has since dropped out) and Microsoft. The eagle-eyed among you may notice something about this list - it’s composed purely of tech companies.
That’s not a worldwide trend - the international companies currently valued at over $1trn are both oil giants: Saudi Aramco and PetroChina. No prizes for guessing from which countries they hail, and both have significant connections to the state. Saudi Aramco is the world’s most valuable company, transcending the $1trn club to achieve a $2trn valuation last December.
American tech companies, however, have experienced a rising tide lifting them up somewhat simultaneously. It’s no coincidence that the four all achieved the sum within a two year period: Apple and Amazon in 2018, Microsoft in 2019 and Google in 2020. Partly that’s down to optimism regarding their ability to monetise free services going forwards.
The financial strength of Alphabet comes amid a number of recent developments, perhaps most crucial being the restructuring of the company’s relationship with Google. Its founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, announced last December that they were stepping down from their roles at Alphabet as CEO and President respectively. Google CEO Sundar Pichai assumed joint CEO-ship of both companies and the position of President was abolished, representing something of a realignment of the two companies following the creation of Alphabet in 2015.
Now comes the question of who will be next? The natural contender is the remaining tech giant, Facebook. Despite being hampered by a number of controversies, Facebook’s stock has continued to rise, with the company’s market capitalisation now around $630bn.
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.