Ensono’s Gordon McKenna: ‘5G will transform nearly every aspect of our society’

15 May 2020

Gordon McKenna. Image: Ensono

Gordon McKenna of Ensono discusses 5G, cloud migration and his role as a Microsoft MVP.

Gordon McKenna is CTO of public cloud at Ensono, a managed IT services provider that focuses on digital transformation. McKenna has more than 20 years’ experience in Microsoft data centre and cloud-based technology. He was previously CTO of UK-based cloud transformation company Inframon, which was acquired by Ensono in 2017.

Here, he discusses how digital transformation has evolved from something organisations wanted to pursue in order to get a competitive edge, to a critical component for meeting the operational demands of today.

‘We’re seeing a huge divide between the technology laggers and adopters’

Tell me about your own role and your responsibilities in driving tech strategy.

As chief technology officer of public cloud, I have a comprehensive view of Ensono’s cloud business. I’m responsible for driving public cloud adoption for clients by understanding their unique business needs and concerns. At Ensono, we take a strategic approach by first gauging client goals like agility and flexibility, and then setting them up with the proper cloud environment to achieve success.

The most important part of driving tech strategy across Ensono is providing support across teams. I connect with associates in technical and leadership roles to ensure we’re offering the newest, most innovative infrastructure options.

Holding the title of Microsoft MVP for the past 16 years has also positioned me to gain a pulse of the modern tech industry, identifying new trends and initiatives Microsoft is driving and bringing that to Ensono where we can share with our clients, often giving them options they were unaware of.

Are you spearheading any major products or IT initiatives you can tell us about?

Ensono is doing a big initiative around containerisation as a service, in particular managed Kubernetes (AKS/EKS), as we’re seeing a big increase in demand from our clients for this technology.

Additionally, with heightened demand for remote-work support, we are enhancing our Citrix in Azure offering and Windows Virtual Desktop.

How big is your team? Do you outsource where possible?

I am fortunate to have an optimally sized team spread out across the world, with not only local resources based in the US, but also in the UK and India.

We have taken the decision to invest internally rather than outsource and have been growing our operation globally over the past year.

In terms of security, what are your thoughts on how we can better protect data?

Businesses say they’re at risk from security breaches because of the complexity of their business and IT operations. What we can do to better protect this data is help businesses analyse current infrastructure and consider migration options to adopt a cloud-first strategy.

A hybrid IT environment, for instance, allows organisations to modernise their legacy infrastructure that is detrimental to business operations, while moving some datasets to the cloud. Keeping highly sensitive information in on-premise data centres ensures those workloads are safe throughout the entire digital transformation process.

Cloud providers are also enhancing their features to provide added security. Microsoft Azure, for example, builds in intelligent systems to analyse risks in real time and offers identity access management. This upholds security measures across environments and helps growing businesses remain proactive.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation and how are you addressing it?

Digital transformation has evolved from something organisations wanted to pursue to get a competitive edge to a critical component to meeting today’s operational demands. We’re seeing a huge divide between the technology laggers and adopters, and that mainly comes down to who is operating in the cloud and who still depends on legacy infrastructure.

At Ensono, we guide our clients on their cloud migration journey, identifying the most suitable IT environment based on their business needs. For some, that might mean being fully set up in the cloud – whether that’s Azure or AWS – and for others with more complex workloads in highly regulated industries, a hybrid IT environment would best support their operations.

Every company is managing unique datasets that require different infrastructure. So, by assessing our clients’ current environment and considering their business goals, we can help them navigate and manage the digital transformation that will make them successful long term.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

5G will transform nearly every aspect of our society. We see more and more that the technology industry is focused on achieving quick, accurate results paired with secure connectivity – a seemingly simple deliverable for the network.

The low latency aspect of 5G helps process the massive amounts of data collected in today’s age, something that has become non-negotiable for business success. Now that big players in both mobile and IoT are learning more about these factors, adoption rates will continue to flourish, bringing new products and innovation forward.

Although these advancements will surely impact telco in general, it is also true that it will transform how the entire world operates. Looking at the need for IoT in heavily consumer-based industries, such as retail and healthcare, 5G is growing to be the only appropriate answer when looking for the extra push needed to meet evolving demands.

Data collection and a close proximity to the cloud is pivotal for the collective success of businesses and, in turn, the population in general. There’s no doubt that these strides forward will beg more attention from the entire industry in the years to come, rolling out a complete renewal to the way information today is managed.

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