The cloud is now the network.

What do I mean by that? It means that the most critical network access for businesses now is to the cloud first.

Contemporary networks are no longer based on legacy architectures like physical data centres, private corporate networks, and on-premise equipment in centralised office buildings. Most of the applications a business needs are either natively cloud-based (Salesforce, Zendesk, Xero, HubSpot, and what have you), or they’ve been moved completely into cloud-based computing: Google, Microsoft or AWS.

Businesses today are now operating in a world where on-premises, private links to data centres in cities and countries around the world are less common. Instead, powerful Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications running on public cloud are now the first choice for many new business workloads.

Business disruption starts with behavioural disruption

Uber's success became the gateway for the sharing economy.

This trend is concurrent with a shift in human behaviour. As consumers, we’ve become much more comfortable with the concept of ‘pooling’ our assets. From cars to accommodation to office spaces - we’re owning less and sharing more than ever.

Uber - arguably the world’s largest taxi company today - owns no vehicles. Airbnb - the world’s largest accommodation provider - owns no actual real estate. The Iconic - Australia’s largest shopping mall - no inventory.

In recent years, the sharing economy has not only disrupted industries but has also changed why users choose to rent or share rather than own.

The cause? Greater efficiencies, better price points, cravings for a greater sense of community during lockdown perhaps, and a growing collective consciousness of sustainability.

The effects? The ‘Sharing Economy’ highlights the positive shift in perception towards sharing, reusing and re-purposing, and the benefits are difficult to ignore.

Over time, travellers have become used to renting a stranger’s home on holiday and making significant savings on expensive hotel rooms. Inner city-dwellers have slowly realised the benefits of car sharing outweigh the concerns around availability, quality or convenience they may have had before.

Eventually, the effect has caused a shift in consciousness, and we’ve realised our concerns around sharing were unfounded. Now, we’re getting better practised at letting go of the ‘control’ associated with private ownership.

The rise of a pay-as-you-go culture

All these sharing platforms speak to fractional ownership or as shared usage of an asset. In practice, that’s the very definition of SaaS, i.e. some behemoth sets up a multi-tenant, cloud-based capability and then sells access to it on a per user, per month basis.

We’re already experiencing the benefits of these types of business models as consumers, and I think this shift in buying behaviour has meant we’re getting more comfortable adopting them in our working environments too.

Sharing assets or network infrastructure allows smaller and medium-sized businesses to cut the heavy cost loads associated with owning and maintaining depreciating assets and resources - private data centre hardware, software and people teams.

Paying external providers for the use of these services on-demand enables them access to cutting-edge productivity applications and ties the commercial model so they can pay as they grow. The benefits and flexibility this offers has grown to the point where it simply cannot be ignored. Full adoption of cloud services is an almost basic competitive requirement.

The trust factor

Trusting the cloud has been a major hurdle for many businesses in making a full transition, despite evolving cyber security that is safeguarding networks better than ever before.

Historically, one of the big reservations has been the trust factor.  

All businesses, across all industries, store sensitive data related to their customers. If this gets into the wrong hands, the consequences can be disastrous.

A few industries are more sensitive to this than others, but security has been a key reason why businesses have avoided moving their IP over to the cloud. Relinquishing the ‘control’ of having your own private network, data centres, computers, and owning all your own applications has been a daunting path to forge. But the cyber security landscape has also shifted, and the technology has evolved to safeguard the road ahead.

Advances in distributed and decentralised network architectures are ensuring greater data sovereignty and full traceability. They are also making transactions easier, quicker, and cheaper, bringing greater efficiency and trust to the ecosystem.

The rise of the sharing economy and the adoption of these technologies is no coincidence. We have practised what it feels like to let go of the perceived control of owning our own assets. Now that our security objections are being answered, more businesses should embrace this new world of connectivity to help them work more effectively and achieve better outcomes for their customers.

The new era of connectivity

Superloop is six years young. We were born in the cloud era, which means we’ve been bought into the idea of sharing our assets from the very start. We don’t have 30 years of legacy to get around, historical systems, architectures or processes. We’re unconflicted in the way we work and in the way we think. We have small business agility and we thrive on being the challenger brand in the telco industry.

Our strategic investments and acquisitions prove our commitment to innovation, both increasing our capacity and transforming Superloop into a leading provider of connectivity and cloud services.

For us, it’s all about how we maximise the advantages and efficiencies of the cloud and how we can deliver access to it in secure, robust, redundant, reliable, and affordable ways to businesses, helping them move from where they are now to where they want to be.