Posts tagged ‘Cloud event’

Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…#CloudWF

Guest Blog with NCC Group

Author: John Parkinson, NCC Group

During the Cloud World Forum event in London on 24 July, we discussed the opportunities for Software as a Service businesses to become more successful. Focussing on the neglected issue of commercial security, we asked how the SaaS market can provide answers to potential supply failure in the market.  By anticipating, understanding and addressing the risks for customers who rely on outsourced application services, we argued that providers can contribute more to enhancing trust and confidence in the Software as a Service market.

How are SaaS businesses reacting to the issue?  In our experience, there are three broadly different attitudes:

  1. It was Mark Twain who perceptively wrote that ‘Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt’. The Risk Deniers perform according to type in asserting that it just won’t happen. ‘I haven’t failed yet and have no plans to do so’. Said with conviction it is likely that they have convinced themselves. As Isaac Asimov once wrote, they cling to the view that the easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists
  2. The largest group, the Agnostics, take a more considered view. They concede the possibility and see the wisdom of having a plan, but only if someone raises the question.  Whether hoping against hope, firmly in the wait and see camp or just too busy with other stuff, they generally accord with the opinion elucidated by TS Eliot that humankind cannot bear too much reality.
  3. Last but by no means least are the Innovators. They align instinctively to the perspective of Peter Drucker that innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. Salmon Software is one good example of a business that recognises this. John Byrne, the Salmon MD says ‘we understand the needs of our customers and the potential impacts of them not having access to the application’. Similarly Wazuko MD, Simon Hill asserts that the objective is ‘to show our existing customers and prospects that stepping into the cloud with Wazuko is simple and secure.’ Operating in a highly regulated sector of finance is Banking system provider, Mambu. MD Eugene Danilkis in a blog article commented: ‘Regulators have rightly recognised the critical role that technology providers play to support key business processes.  In turn, technology providers need to ensure consistent and reliable delivery of these services that financial institutions depend on to reinforce trust and extend the potential for future innovation and growth.’

As a SaaS Provider, which category do you fall into – a Denier, an Agnostic or an Innovator And which type of business would you trust when outsourcing your software services?

Original NCC Group blog here

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NCC Group were a Visionary Sponsor at the Cloud World Forum 2015, which took place on the 24th – 25th June.

The Cloud & DevOps World Forum delivers speed and continuous delivery to Europe’s Digital Enterprises, and will take place on the 21st – 22nd June 2016, at Olympia in London.

Register your interest for 2016 here

The state of cloud computing in Europe #CloudWF

Guest Blog with IBM

Author: Simon Porter

Cloud computing is the most touted technology in the global business landscape today. Europe is no exception.

There are two main ways we’re seeing businesses take advantage of the cloud in Europe. First, there are the smaller, innovative, and born-on-the-cloud startup companies that use it to help them disrupt existing industries by getting to market faster and with less upfront capital investment.

The second area where we’re seeing European companies take advantage of cloud is at more established enterprises looking to enter new, international markets. As companies here seek to become more global, they’re looking toward non-European markets—whether by selling into those markets or tapping into suppliers. In these cases, cloud empowers them to enter these new markets by providing the flexibility, speed and scalability needed to be a global player.

Cloud also enables businesses to market and sell to customers in new and more efficient ways. With the proliferation of smartphones and social media, business success relies on turning this technology into new sales channels. This is often referred to as systems of engagement, and with unpredictable volumes, it’s ideally suited to cloud.

The economic climate in Europe is improving, but it remains very competitive. It is critical for businesses to optimize their supply chains and lower their sales and support costs. Applying sophisticated analytics is one effective way of doing this. In the past, this was prohibitively expensive. But cloud enables analytics-as-a-service, removing the need and cost for a large up-front investment in an IT system that may be used only a few hours per month.

Challenges in cloud adoption persist

According to a Eurostat study released this past year, only 19 percent of European businesses used cloud computing services in 2014. Compare that to a recent RightScale study that reports 82 percent of U.S. enterprises as having a hybrid cloud strategy (up from 74 percent in 2014), and it would appear that Europe is lagging. However, that’s only part of the story.

You can expect the European cloud adoption numbers to rise sharply this year and even more in years to come. But as with any emerging technology, there remains barriers to adoption.

Chief among those barriers is security.

According to a recent Cloud Industry Forum poll, 70 percent of U.K. executives cited data security among their biggest concerns in moving to cloud. That marks an 11 percent year-over-year increase.

What IT departments in Europe are seeing is something quite different than what the rest of the world is experiencing, and that stems from data location and security. A lot of the questions around security and data location are driven by perceptions in the market that aren’t always true. Security in a cloud-based solution will often be much stronger than that of an on-premises, in-house IT solution.

To remain competitive, European businesses must work through security challenges—and I fully believe that they will. It’s ultimately not a matter of technical or legal challenges preventing cloud adoption in Europe—it’s about business leaders understanding the transformational benefits cloud can bring to their business, and then typically for midsize businesses taking advantage of this by using a local trusted Cloud Service Provider.

The good news  is that IBM is continuing to open data centers in Europe. We now have centers in the U.K., Netherlands, Germany, France, and most recently announced, Italy. But even with this span of locations, customers want to keep their data in country.

European SMBs typically lack resources and the IT skills to take advantage of this new kind of capability. They need to turn to a local service provider that can essentially be their IT department. At IBM, we’re continuing to expand our partnerships with local cloud service providers as a means of enabling local data and secure environments with IBM’s Managed Service Providers.

A move to hybrid 

In the business world, we recognize clients have already made investments in core IT systems. We find that European customers want to protect and enhance them with new, innovative capabilities that enable them to make better business decisions faster with advanced analytics. Companies are also able to reach new customers and markets with multi-channel marketing and sales capabilities, both largely based on cloud-enabled digital and social technologies.

For example, a client may have an existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that they have invested a lot of time and money in over the years. They still need to see a return on that investment. It is impractical to completely replace it with a new solution, but perhaps enhancing it with social analytics or social engagement could help them in their customer service and marketing.

Combining mission-critical, on-premises systems with new cloud-based systems of engagement is an example of a common hybrid cloud solution. This is how many businesses in Europe protect their existing investments in IT while taking advantage of new delivery models.

An eye toward the future 

The world is only getting flatter. There are multiple new entrants in many industries, and existing businesses will have to differentiate their own offerings to remain competitive. Who would have thought the taxi industry could be disrupted in the way that Uber has done? Cloud can be the key enabler for businesses to innovate around new products and channels faster and in a lower risk manner.

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IBM will be at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D150, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

Tony Morgan, Client Chief Innovation Officer GTS Europe at IBM will be speaking on Day 1 at 11:05am in Theatre C: DevOps & Containerisation on ‘Speaker out of the Shadows: Managing Innovation with Cloud.’ 

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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Monetizing the Internet of Things: Will All These Connected Devices Pay Off? #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Avangate

Author: Michael Ni, CMO/SVP, Marketing and Products, Avangate

Sometimes it seems like just yesterday that everything was getting “cloud-ified,” from photo sharing to customer relationship management, but the move to the cloud is actually a couple of years old these days. But now that we all have our documents stored in the cloud (and our heads out of the clouds), everybody’s looking for a clear path toward success in the latest trend: the Internet of Things.

Just like the cloud before it, the Internet of Things is now top of mind for software professionals. Its promise has been nascent for a long time: although Dick Tracy’s 2-Way Wrist Radio first appeared in 1946, connected devices like the FitBit and Apple Watch are just starting to get in the hands – or on the wrists – of everyday folks.

With broader adoption of connected devices come both opportunities and challenges. Even the companies that are able to sell IoT hardware successfully find themselves needing to develop and monetize complementary services to help users get the most out of their devices. And software-focused companies that don’t have devices need new a way to get in on the IoT and the billions it’s expected to bring in. That way is through data.

While the IoT started out with connected sensors, it soon became clear that simply sensing data wouldn’t be enough. Just like storing content in the cloud also required building interfaces that made it easy for users to access cloud content, IoT sensors now need to produce data that’s easy for people to find, understand and use. And because IoT data is so valuable (not to mention expensive), there needs to be a way for companies to monetize it. So if wave 1 of the IoT trend involved simply creating the sensors, wave 2 involves monetizing them and the data they create.

As a result, more and more software vendors have started staking a claim in the IoT. At Avangate, we’ve been helping companies like Bitdefender monetize their IoT offerings. Bitdefender offers a “security of things” solution called BOX, a small device that scans for IoT threats on a local WiFi connection. By monitoring the way your smart devices stay connected, BOX finds and protects against possible threats to your connected information. By helping Bitdefender easily monetize its entry into the IoT, including not only the device itself but also associated data, we’re showing the importance and ease of monetizing IoT devices and the data they produce.

And that’s the key: commerce absolutely has to run in the background of every IoT play. No matter how affordable a device is up front, or if streams of data are free for now, devices and data both cost a significant amount to create, maintain, and provide in ways that really work for consumer and business customers. As a result, to truly succeed in the IoT, software companies need to be able to package and sell data derived from connected devices in ways that will benefit other entities as well.

In the end, it’s clear that that the desperate need for IoT data monetization is actually a massive opportunity. Companies are still scrambling to create devices and support data, and not enough entities are thinking about how to monetize it. Those who find themselves able to successfully package and sell information in the IoT era may find themselves enjoying Salesforce style status and riding high on the wave of the future as the IoT truly takes off.

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Avangate will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D48, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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The State of the Cloud: Already Everywhere, and Lots of Room to Grow #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Equinix

Enterprise cloud usage is nearly universal, but there’s still significant room for cloud growth.

That sums up one of the key findings of RightScale’s 2015 “State of the Cloud Report.” The survey of 930 technical professionals indicates the enterprise has moved past its initial cloud skittishness and is getting quite comfortable investigating what the cloud can really do.

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The survey showed 93% of respondents have adopted cloud, roughly the same as the prior year. Hybrid cloud is also the preferred strategy of 58% of respondents, compared to 30% who are public cloud-only and 5% who are private cloud-only.

One key difference from 2014 is that 38% of cloud users are now classified by RightScale as “cloud explorers,” compared to 25% just a year ago when “cloud beginners” was the biggest category. “Cloud explorers” already have multiple projects and applications in the cloud and are looking to expand and improve their cloud use.

The survey also found plenty of room for cloud expansion, with 68% of enterprise respondents reporting that less than a fifth of their applications are currently running in the cloud. Most respondents (55%) also report that another fifth of their applications are already built on cloud-friendly architectures.

Here’s more of what we found most interesting in the State of the Cloud report:

Going public, staying private

Public cloud is being used by 88% of organizations, while 63% are using private cloud. But private cloud is still carrying a heavier workload, with 13% of enterprises running more than 1,000 virtual machines (VMs) in the public cloud and 22% running more than 1,000 virtual machines in private cloud. The survey also indicated enterprises are expecting to grow public cloud workloads more quickly.

Central IT gets more cloud comfortable

The survey authors note that in 2014, business units envisioned a more limited role for central IT in cloud purchasing decisions, likely because they felt central IT was generally too cautious. But central IT’s view of the cloud may be evolving. The survey indicated central IT concerns about cloud security have dropped, with 41% now reporting it as a significant challenge, compared to 47% a year ago. In addition, 28% of central IT respondents report public cloud as the top priority in 2015, compared to 18% in 2014.

More of the same

Respondents cited the same cloud benefits and challenges in 2015, but in many cases mentioned them more frequently. For instance, “greater stability,” “faster access to infrastructure,” and “high availability” were again the top three benefits, but each was cited by a greater percentage of respondents:

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A similar pattern was seen when respondents were asked about cloud challenges. “Security,” “lack of resources/expertise” and “compliance” again appeared as major concerns, but were referred to by a greater percentage of respondents, compared to last year:

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Learn more about how Equinix can help your enterprise realize cloud benefits and meet cloud challenges.

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Equinix will be at the Cloud World Forum on Stand D170, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015. Don’t miss their session on ‘An Expedition through the Cloud’ in the Employee Experience Theatre at 10.35am on Day 2.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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The 6 hidden costs of cloud IT services #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Intermedia

The 6 hidden costs of cloud IT services

So you’re considering moving email, file management, or archiving to the cloud. You even have quotes from a few providers you’re checking out. Great! It’s a step in the right direction to support your company’s growth. But be careful: what you end up paying might not always match your quote. There are costs beyond the monthly service fee.

The good news is that those hidden costs are avoidable. To help you with your due diligence, we compiled a list of the costs you may encounter.

  1. The cost of migrating data to the new service

Let’s say you’re switching email providers. You might think data migration is free. And it might even be—in the sense that it’s not a line item in the invoice. But if you have to do it yourself, it will cost the valuable time of your IT staff. And what if you need assistance? Some providers may only help for a fee, and others will refer you to a third-party consultant. So make sure you ask about data migration, and make sure your provider will includes white-glove service for free.

  1. The cost of downtime imposed by low reliability

When an essential IT service is unavailable, your business incurs extremely high costs: your employees can’t do their jobs, your customers get angry, you lose sales, and IT resources are diverted to cope with the crisis. Many providers promise 99.9% uptime. And while this may sound good, it actually adds up to more than 525 minutes of unplanned downtime per year. Consider this and make sure you settle for no less than a 99.999% uptime guarantee— which is less than 30 seconds of downtime a month.

  1. The cost of not getting enough support

When you’re experiencing a problem, regardless of its severity, you need quick answers or your productivity suffers. You can’t be productive if you’re on hold—or if you’re pushed to self-help support portals. However, many providers only offer phone support for critical or tier 2 issues. Even then, support centers are often outsourced or staffed with non-certified personnel. These factors add up to costly unproductive time. A good support plan will include 24/7 live support, short hold times, and skilled, certified staff.

  1. The cost of sub-par security and protection

Security breaches are not just a costly drain on time, they create risk that could hurt your business. So where security is concerned, you must be confident that your business cloud provider has you covered. However, many providers use lesser-known security tools and fewer still help respond to eDiscovery requests. Make sure you get the nitty-gritty details on security procedures from your provider and don’t settle on less than the gold standard and the best-known names.

  1. The cost of management inefficiency

Your cloud management console should be powerful enough to support your IT needs, but simple enough to use that you can easily use it—and, indeed, that you can delegate certain tasks to non-technical resources. Otherwise your IT staff is wasting precious time on tasks that should be trivial. When you look at management consoles, they can be quite complicated and most provide no ability to manage additional third-party services. Make sure you get a solution that balances ease-of-use with granular control to avoid imposing undue labour costs on your IT team.

  1. The cost of services that lack integration

Your business is probably adding more and more cloud services. But as you add more services, you introduce more support, billing and management complexities. And so you end up in a tangle of services that you have to untie. Compare this to top providers with integrations that let you share user and device settings across services. Without this, the cost of managing your IT can skyrocket.

Choose your cloud provider carefully.

As the customer, you have a choice. Choose a cloud-based IT services provider that offers you transparent and worry-free service. Insist on getting the full range of services with no hidden costs, including migration, security, and management. Make it easy for your IT staff to get the support they need: look for 24/7 phone and chat support for admins, handled by certified staff. And don’t settle when it comes to the service level agreement: make sure you get “five nines” uptime. That way, you can focus on growing your business.

www.intermedia.co.uk
+44(0)203 384 2158

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Intermedia will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th & 25th June 2015, on Stand D160.

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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Risks of SaaS supplier failure & how to effectively mitigate them #CloudWF

Guest Blog with Kemp Little Consulting & NCC Group

The cloud is here to stay and according to a recent survey, organisations are going to be investing more in cloud services to support their core business operations.

But have companies properly considered the risks of SaaS supplier failure if the software is supporting their core processes?

The Kemp Little Consulting (KLC) team has been working with NCC Group to identify some of the risks of SaaS supplier failure and to identify the main problems that end user organisations would need to solve to effectively mitigate these risks.

In the on-premise world, the main way of mitigating against software supplier failure is Software Escrow. This was designed as a means of gaining access to source code for an application in the event of supplier failure.

If a supplier goes bust, there is no short term problem as the application and the business processes supported by the application continue to work and the corporate data remains within the control of the end user.

However, the end user company has a  problem as they will not be able to maintain the application long term and this issue is effectively solved by Software Escrow and related services such as verification.

In the cloud arena, however, the situation is different. If the supplier fails there is potentially an immediate problem of the SaaS service being switched off almost straightaway because the software supplier no longer has the cash to continue to pay for its hosting service or to pay its key staff.

For the end user, this means that they no longer have access to the application; the business process supported by the application can no longer operate and the end user organisation loses access to their data.

The business impact of this loss will vary depending upon the type of application affected:

  • Business Process Critical (e.g. finance, HR, sales and supply chain)
  • Data Critical (e.g. analytics or document collaboration)
  • Utility (e.g. web filtering, MDM, presentational or derived data)

In our research, we found that both suppliers of cloud solutions and end user organisations had not properly thought through the implications of these new risks, nor the services they would require to mitigate against the risk of supplier failure.

The primary concerns that end user customers had were around their business critical data. They were concerned by lack of access to data; loss of data; the risk of compliance breach by losing control of their data and how they might re-build their data into usable form if they could get it back. There was also concern about access to funding to keep the infrastructure running in the SaaS vendor in order to buy time to make alternative arrangements.

They were much less concerned about access to the application or getting access to the source code.

This is understandable as their primary concern would be getting their data back and porting it to another solution to get the business back up and running.

In a separate part of our study, the Kemp Little commercial team looked at the state of the market of the provisions generally found in SaaS contracts to deal with the event of supplier failure.  The team found that even if appropriate clauses were negotiated into the contract at the outset, there may be real difficulties in practically enforcing those terms in an insolvency situation.

End user organisations were more concerned than SaaS suppliers about their capability to deal with all of these problems and were amenable to procuring services from third parties to help them mitigate the risks and solve the problems they could not solve purely by contractual means.

End users were also concerned that many SaaS solutions are initially procured by “Shadow-IT” departments as part of rapid business improvement projects and deployed as pilots where the business risks of failure are low.

However, these solutions can often end up being rolled out globally quite quickly and key parts of the business become dependent upon them by stealth.

It is therefore considered important for companies to develop a deep understanding of their SaaS estate and regularly review the risks of supplier failure and put in place appropriate risk mitigation measures.

KLC recently worked with global information assurance specialist NCC Group to help it enhance the service model for its SaaS Assured service.

This article was originally posted on the Kemp Little Blog and can be found here.

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John Parkinson, Global SaaS Business Leader at NCC Group will be speaking at the Cloud World Forum on 24th June 2015 at 12.45pm.

His talk will take place in Theatre D: Cloud, Data Governance & Cyber Security on ‘Outsourcing to Software as a Service? Don’t Overlook the Critical Commercial Security Risks.’

REGISTER YOUR FREE EXHIBITION PASS HERE.

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Exclusive Interview Available with Mark Evans, Head of IT at Rider Levett Bucknall #CloudWF

imageedit_3_4837170161 Rider-Levett-Bucknall

Mark Evans, Head of IT, Rider Levett Bucknall.

Mark Evans is Head of IT at global property and construction practice Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), the largest employee-owned business consultancy in the Construction industry.

The Q&A presents the insight into supporting BYOD, the need for standards in the cloud sector and the impact of working with large data models on the technology choices the firm has to make.

View our exclusive interview with Mark here.

Having worked as an IT Manager in the NHS, a regional manager for Orange Personal Communications and Global Infrastructure Director for a container shipping company, Mark has operated in disparate industries, acquiring a broad overview of what actually works in business, as opposed to what works in a sales pitch.

Recognised as being outspoken on matters related to Cloud and acknowledged as a true, forward-thinking IT Director, Mark is happy to challenge the received wisdom with tenacity and a sense of humour – he doesn’t ‘do’ sales pitches, but offers a pragmatic view of what is really happening in the darkest corners of professional practise in business consultancy.

Don’t Miss… Mark will be speaking at the Cloud World Forum on the 25th June within the Keynote Theatre.

Register your free exhibition pass here.

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