Who are the ‘cloud big four’?
Cloud computing has been around for a long time but its role in digital transformation, enterprise security and data management has come of age. Unprecedented opportunity has led to unprecedented innovation and investment, which in turn has created a superstrata of power cloud providers. And there are just four of them.
Who are the cloud big four?
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Group and Google Cloud Platform are seen as the only players capable of dominating the cloud, a market growing by around 40 per cent annually. Let’s take a look at them.
Cloud big four: AWS
AWS is a giant in cloud, and absolutely dominates the market. In fact, it would not be unrealistic to suggest that AWS belongs in its own ‘big one’ category. The https://www.technologymagazine.com/enterprise-it/amazons-fourth-quarter-results-built-covid-19-ecommerce Amazon company posted $45.4 billion in revenue in 2020, though its growth is slower than the other competitors. A change in leadership at Amazon could also have ramifications for the future of AWS.
Cloud big four: Microsoft Azure
Microsoft’s Azure has around 58 per cent of AWS’ revenue, but stronger growth (around 50 per cent compared with AWS’ 30 per cent). And that doesn’t include software as a service (SaaS) such as Office 365, which is a gateway to the company’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings (the same applies across the board here.
Cloud big four: Alibaba Group
The Chinese market is vast and to some extent runs in parallel to the American dominated Western technology scene. Alibaba has got its teeth into big cloud and delivered over $8 billion in revenue for 2020, indicating a slight bump on Azure’s growth. Its revenue in big cloud eclipses that of Google Cloud Platform (once Google’s G Suite is stripped out of the numbers).
Cloud big four: Google Cloud Platform
Google lost $5.6 billion on cloud in 2020, against $13 billion of revenue. But strip out Google’s G Suite (now rebranded as Workspace) and that revenue is just $6.2 billion, making it the runt of the cloud big four. But that loss is indicative that Google is ploughing cash into cloud infrastructure investment. If it gets this right, and can use Google Workspace as an onboarding tool for wider DX, expect the rankings to shift.
Who else is in contention for cloud dominance?
Oracle and IBM both have strong cloud offerings, but they lack the hyperscale capabilities of the big four. Along with many, many other cloud providers, they can continue to run their cloud business for customers and make money from it. But without serious investment, they are unlikely to scare the big four off their patch.
What’s the potential value of big cloud?
Silicon Angle estimates th at the cloud big four will generate more than $115 billion in 2021, and that could be conservative. The value of being a big player in hyperscale cloud services right now is that you can onboard your cloud offering at a time when many large organisations are spinning up wholesale digital transformation strategies, while smaller companies are simultaneously getting into DX and – presumably – want to give themselves room to grow alongside their technology partners.
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’.