Additionally, advances in IaaS and SaaS give small and midsize businesses a tremendous advantage and present very low barriers to entry. For example, if a payment gateway needed to operate an e-commerce business were available as a service, why wouldn't a company choose that option over developing their own? A decade ago, such a gateway would not have been commercially available and would have taken nine to 12 months to build. Today, a company that buys that service can get a jump on its competitors, focusing on content and the critical products it brings to market rather than on the tools it needs to operate.
The caveat with cloud is that enterprises must carefully evaluate payment models to ensure that a cloud deployment can really save them money in the long run. Cloud security is still a concern as well, but significant advances in this area are being made as vendors rush to fill security needs as quickly as they arise.
To go back to the original premise then, sustainability is as much about protecting the business as it is about growing revenue and profit margins. While "protection" is often equated with security -- mitigating obvious threats to systems, resources and IP -- in a broader sense, it's about ensuring that the company can maintain the integrity of its brand and ensure its competitive advantage. This is essentially what is meant by sustainability -- and it will be the focus of CEOs in 2013.
Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.