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Successful digital ecosystems depend on cloud services


Addressing cloud security concerns

While cloud services offer flexibility and economies of scale that serve ecosystems well, some businesses have been reluctant to fully embrace the cloud and give up control, citing security concerns. But today, the major suppliers have hardened their cybersecurity defenses and tightened regulatory compliance, giving ecosystem partners the needed confidence to store and share sensitive customer data.

AWS, Google, and Microsoft’s cloud services now support major security standards, covering critical certifications and regulations, including PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, and NIST 800-171. That means cloud services can address business needs across the globe, and across industries, while maintaining security. Cybersecurity risks will never drop to zero, but as cloud services have matured, worries about sensitive data and the support needed to sustain solid ecosystems have largely disappeared.

Just two years ago, banks and financial services companies were reluctant to put valuable mortgage and loan businesses in the cloud. Today, they have embraced the benefits of the cloud, even forming partnerships with younger fintech companies online to accelerate their mobile commerce offerings and bring in a new demographic of customers.

Healthcare companies have also come around to realizing benefits from the cloud. Insurance providers and big pharma rely heavily upon cloud-based ecosystems to monitor the success of medical treatments and encourage healthy lifestyle choices using wellness tools. In the future, next-generation pharmacy programs will deliver a single ecosystem to handle prescriptions, clinical services, wellness advice and lifestyle management — all powered Even global industrial services companies such as shipping firms now rely on cloud services to shore up their ecosystems, proactively perform maintenance, reduce their environmental impact and ensure customer deliveries get to their destinations on time.

This is the case for family-owned Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards, which is using the roughly 10,000 sensors embedded in each of its ships to create a connected vessel platform. The platform includes an app so customers, suppliers and employees can monitor in real time everything from fuel consumption to speed, location and weather conditions along a ship’s route.

The 92-year-old company is also leveraging this new, connected ecosystem to partner with younger upstarts, such as a company that created a paint algorithm to predict the rate of erosion on hull coatings. Paint breakdown causes drag, which increases fuel consumption and costs. Knowing exactly when to repaint results in less fuel consumption, not only saving money but also reducing the impact on the environment.

“In the past, we were maybe just a shipbuilder,” explained Aart Rupert, Damen’s CIO, “but we have moved more and more toward being a maritime solution provider.”


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