Google Cloud Goes More Vertical, Adds Security And Trust Capabilities To Its Digital Transformation Toolbox

By Patrick Moorhead - July 30, 2020
CEO of Google Cloud, Thomas Kurian

A lot has changed since last year's in-person Google Cloud Next. For the first time, Google Cloud Next is “in the cloud” on recorded video led by Google and Alphabet Inc CEO Sundar Pichai and Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.

Right off the bat, Sundar pointed out three trends we will see regarding the cloud: the future will be more digital, collaborative, and more flexible. I don’t think anybody can disagree with that.

The company started out doing what most do, and that’s telling everybody what they had done previously. According to Google, Google Cloud ended 2019 at $10 billion run rate that is up 53% year over year and driven by G Suite and Google Cloud Platform. The number of students and educators on Google Classroom doubled since March from 50 million to 100 million. Google has 750,000 trained developers, being one of the largest of any company. Google acquired companies like Looker, Chronicle, AppSheet, and Cornerstone for Modern BI Analytics, Security, Low-code application development platform, and mainframe modernization, respectively. Google Cloud also expands its reach by being in 5 new regions, 33 New Points of Presence, and 96 Edge Cache solutions in 35 countries worldwide. On top of all of these successful points, Google has been Carbon neutral since 2007 and continues to be in 2020. Although some of those numbers are in direct relation to COVID-19, especially related to G Suite it is all the more reason to take Google Cloud seriously if you aren’t already.

A map of Google Cloud's presence in the world

Google Cloud partners for digital transformation

Part of Google Cloud’s announcements for the opening keynote were its new customers in various markets including Sabre, Telefonica, HCA, Lendlease, ShareCat, Lloyds Banking Group, AT&T, Lowe's, Wayfair, and Vodafone. Along with these partnerships, Google Cloud has partnered with four leading companies in the banking, automotive manufacturing, telecommunications, and entertainment markets.

Google Cloud and Deutsche Bank have partnered to create the next generation of technology-based financial products for clients. It should allow for Deutsche Bank to accelerate cloud transition and build on the engineering capabilities of both companies. The multi-year transition will transform IT infrastructure, says it will comply with privacy and data protection regulation for customer data and Deutsche Bank's information assets, and will also give Deutsche Bank access to world-class data science, AI, and ML. I think this partnership will be one of the first of many revolutionary banking digital transformations.

Google Cloud also announced partnership with Goldman Sachs, Carrefour, and Spotify.

Google Cloud is partnering with Groupe Renault to bring ML and AI into the automotive manufacturing market to create new industrial solutions. Groupe Renault will combine its digital platform with Google's AI, ML, and smart analytics to improve its supply chain and manufacturing efficiency, and production quality, all while reducing Groupe Renault's environmental impact.

Google Cloud is partnering with Verizon to improve call center agents and provide more accurate and timely customer service interactions. Verizon will use Google Cloud's AI and ML to improve shorter call times, quicker resolutions, and improved outcomes. The AI learns from millions of anonymized support calls to learn and evolve. I think Google Cloud's partnership with Verizon will be unique and will show the power and utility of Google Cloud's AI and ML.

Google Cloud is also partnering with Fox Sports to provide a video asset management solution to automate logging, discovering, and storing video assets. Google says the engagement will be a part of the foundation for its Media & Entertainment(M&E) product strategy to be leveraged by other M&E customers.

I think these partnerships are very strategic and influential areas of enterprise and I like the more vertical approach to solutions. This is where the market is headed and it’s where Google Cloud is going, too. What better way to influence those markets with a digital transformation than to take on the leaders of those markets- Deutsche Banking, Groupe Renault, Verizon, and Fox Sports.

Security and trust push for a different customer experience

Alongside these new partnerships, Google Cloud announced some changes and new features to its privacy and security for Google Cloud. Google makes most of its money via advertising and consumer data, and this revenue stream is different from its business-to-business(B2B) revenue stream. Google has to work hard to communicate that its B2B revenue stream is different from its consumer data and advertising revenue stream. Google Cloud says it never sells customer data, it does not use customer data for advertising, it encrypts all customer data at rest and in transit, and it had audited privacy practices against industry standards. Customers have control over data location, have visibility and control over Google admin access, and can deny decryption of data for any reason. I have full confidence that Google separates these two areas of business for the security and assurance of its customers.

Google Cloud takes it a step further with Confidential Compute. Google's new Confidential Compute offering encrypts a user's workload in Google Cloud while its being processed alongside its encryption at rest and in transit. I think that confidential compute is a unique feature for Google Cloud and one that fits well with Google Cloud digital transformation for organizations and businesses. For example, when Deutsche Bank transfers all its customer data and information assets to the cloud, it will be encrypted during the transfer process, when it's in use, and when it has all been finalized.

Another focus for Google Cloud’s customer security and trust is assured compliance with specific regulations and standards. Google Cloud’s new Assured Workloads tackles this issue by helping organizations and businesses get over the barrier of specific regulations and standards. Assured Workloads helps to automate compliance with those regulations or standards. If we go back to the Deutsche Bank partnership, Deutsche Bank will have to ensure that its applications and data analytics comply with its customer privacy and policies. Google's Assured Workloads will assure Deutsche Bank that its workloads are compliant with the same features and technologies of modern cloud experience. Assured Workloads will first be deployed for the US government agencies and the enterprises that serve them. This feature is a big score for the government sector, and I think Google Cloud is smart for bringing Assured workloads for government first to beta.

The last new feature Google added to its Google Cloud security experience is its Cloud Security Command Center (SCC). SCC helps customers understand risks in the GCP, configure resources to prevent and detect breaches, and document when breaches occur. I think cloud risks and breaches can be a scary thing for smaller and more conservative businesses. Its great that Google Cloud is making it easier for companies to tackle the riskier part of being I the cloud. It shows transparency on Google’s part and encourages trust for its customers.

Google also announced its Tanium and Chronicle partnership. Google acquired Chronicle earlier this year and is partnering with Tanium, a leader in the endpoint security space, to provide a clearer picture of threats in the enterprise. We recently wrote a paper on Tanium here. The solution links endpoint data from Tanium to telemetries like DNS and proxy data from Chronicle.

Welcoming features for data analytics

Google Cloud also announced new data analytics features for the GCP, including improvements to BigQuery Omni and new features for Anthos.

Google Cloud BigQuery Omni now lets customers access and analyze data on a multi-cloud platform, including AWS and soon-to-be Azure without leaving the BigQuery UI. Customers can access data silos and gain critical business insights, get consistent data experience across clouds, and enable flexibility powered by Anthos. The great thing about this is that Anthos is focusing on its multi-cloud capabilities, which gets better each year. BigQuery Omni can analyze data uniquely by separating compute and storage in a multi-cloud platform. Separating the two allows for scalable storage in multiple clouds, and resilient compute that executes standard SQL queries. BigQuery Omni doesn't copy data from one cloud to the next and allows customers to run different workloads in multiple different clouds.

BigQuery's user interface with Google Cloud and AWS.

Wrapping up

Google Cloud's opening keynote gave a lot of new insights into Google Cloud's mission and progress on digital transformation. Google Cloud's plethora of partnerships that were announced gives me increased confidence in Google Cloud's ability to transform business markets digitally. I think these partnerships and increased vertical orientation will accelerate these businesses for-profit to a digital era that we have only gotten a small peek of.

I think Google did a great job of showing the difference between a customer and consumer security and trust experience. Although Google makes most of its money from advertisements and consumer data, Google Cloud's intention is not to make money from its customer's data, rather further data analytics and cloud experiences through innovation. The improvements to BigQuery Omni and Google Cloud's data analytics are great examples of that innovation, and I'm excited to see what Google announces at the rest of Google Cloud Next, in the cloud.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.