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How Malaysian companies can leapfrog into the cloud: Akamai

AvantiKumar | July 28, 2010
Using globally-distributed computing infrastructure.
KUALA LUMPUR, 28 JULY 2010 -- Malaysian companies could speed up adoption of cloud computing by leveraging on globally-distributed platforms, according to Internet managed services provider Akamai.

Speaking in Kuala Lumpur, Akamai director, financial services, Asia, Ali Hakim, said: "Though the adoption of cloud computing in Asia is in its infancy stage, companies could still use a de-centralised architecture where separate infrastructure or instance of applications are deployed for each line of business or business entities into each country they wish to expand into."

"Malaysian companies can leverage Akamai's globally distributed computing platform as their extended infrastructure," said Hakim, adding that Akamai offered the use of its platform as a managed service, which would reduce the need for upfront capital investment.

"Leading regional and global companies gain synergy and enjoy economies of scale by consolidating their IT infrastructure," said Hakim. For example, Standard Chartered Bank centralised its corporate websites and Internet banking infrastructure, serving a global customer base from a single primary data centre."

"Large investments have been made to date in cloud computing by all key players," he said. "This is reflected in analyst firm IDC's statistics where worldwide revenues from public IT cloud services exceeded US$16 billion in 2009 and are forecast to reach US$55.5 billion in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.4 per cent. This rapid growth rate is more than five times the projected rate of growth for traditional IT products (five per cent)."

"Infrastructure consolidation, however, does give rise to challenges in providing good and reliable connectivity/access to vital enterprise applications from remote offices and staff," said Hakim. "Akamai provides companies proven solutions to deliver their contents and applications with high performance and increased reliability over the Internet.  Doing so, Akamai therefore encourages and enables Malaysia companies to close the gap with their global peers with respect to gaining synergy and competitiveness from centralised architecture."

Akamai provides managed services for powering video, dynamic transactions, and enterprise applications online. 

 Government's role in data privacy

"The Malaysian government recognises the importance of data privacy and is in the process of enacting a law to enforce Personal Data Protection," said Hakim.
"Such a law is required not only to promote e-commerce and adoption of cloud computing in Malaysia, but also is critical to meet the regulatory requirements for trading with other jurisdictions such as the European Union, which has enacted directives that require the countries of trading counterparts to ensure an adequate level of personal data protection."

Hakim said he commended the Malaysian government's efforts to lead the adoption of cloud computing by example. "Government organisations can offer interactive citizen portals, collaborate easily across agencies and deliver volumes of data to citizens in useful and secure ways in a cost-effective manner, while improving efficiencies. The MSC Malaysia has put cloud computing as the number one among the top 10 strategic technologies for 2010."

"In addition, the Malaysian government is looking to create a framework for the national cloud initiative as well as develop a national cloud computing platform to deploy services throughout Malaysia, focusing on enabling services through software, security frameworks and mobile interactivity, as well as testing new cloud tools and methodologies," he said.

"In terms of enforcing data security standards, the European Union is ahead of the pack when they enacted the Data Protection directive in 1995, which also requires EU-based companies to ensure that the countries of their trading partners also have similar data protection laws, before sharing their customers' data.

This requirement thus triggered major trading partners such as the US to adopt data protection and safe harbour principles," said Hakim.

 Managing security, privacy fears 

"Cloud computing service providers have to prove that their infrastructure, platform and processes comply with information security standards, such as ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] 27002 and PCI DSS [Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard], as well as have the scale to withstand malicious attacks from expanding botnets," said Hakim. "To give some perspective, last year's attack on US government and financial websites during 4 July amounted to an aggregate of 200+ Gbps [gigabits per second]."

"Being the platform for facilitating the largest number of e-commerce and financial transactions over the Internet, as well as delivering high profile social media and government agencies websites in the world, Akamai regards ensuring security and data protection as one the highest priorities of the company," he added.

"Akamai designed from ground up a comprehensive security measures for every aspect of the company from access to the physical servers, network, software, and business processes," said Hakim. "Akamai has a dedicated Information Security team that reviews, monitors, and enforces conformance to security standards."

"In addition, Akamai is also audited annually for compliance towards ISO 27002 and is a certified Level 1 Merchant Servicer under the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard," he said. "For instance, our defence-in-depth approach means we deploy overlapping layers of security that employ a diverse set of tactics to protect against threats. Akamai cloud-based security services can address a broad array of security threats by cloaking content origin/application servers from the internet, protecting and obfuscating DNS [domain name system] services, implement a robust failover plan and a distributed web application firewall."

"Situated at the entry point between end user requests and the company/cloud's  infrastructure, the 65,000 Akamai EdgeServers deployed in more than 1,600 ISP [internet service providers] data centres across 71 countries extend the perimeter of defence out to major ISPs," said Hakim. "This allows organisations to bolster their defenses on-demand where needed and to continually adapt to the rapidly-changing threat environment, while avoiding the lose-lose' proposition of having to correctly predict their needs and pay for their security infrastructure well in advance."