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Microsoft

Four Pillars of the Modern Partner Creating Thriving Cloud Business

 

Guest Author: Matt Morris – Matt Morris is a Partner Technical Strategist & Cloud Business guru in the One Commercial Partner group, where he leads technical sales readiness, and strategy for one of Microsoft’s largest distribution partners. Prior to his current role, Matt worked in enterprise technology sales, software development, and solution architecture roles at Microsoft and other technology firms. He has experience with mid-market and large enterprise organizations across a variety of industries as well as the public sector. He helps customers understand and implement high innovation and transformational technology solutions in the areas of analytics, cloud computing, and developer tools and platforms.

According to IDC, by 2020 IT cloud services revenue will exceed $500 billion. As a part of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner organization, I know firsthand both the tremendous opportunity cloud computing presents our partners and the complexity that opportunity can pose. So, as you prepare to join us at IT Nation, I want to share a series of cross-industry partner resources that will help you evaluate the benefits and risks of cloud computing, and provide best practices to help you successfully transform your business to capture the largest possible share of those dollars.

 

Is the cloud right for my business?

Nearly 80% of customers are deploying or fully embracing cloud technology today, according to IDC. It’s clear many clients are hungry for the cost-savings and flexibility the cloud can provide, but finding the right pace and model for cloud adoption is challenging for many partners. In The Booming Cloud Opportunity, IDC analyzes the scope of the opportunity and how you can take advantage.

How do I grow my business with the cloud?

No one knows your clients like you do. Your hard-earned expertise solving clients’ challenges is the perfect foundation for a cloud-based practice. You know the solutions your clients want, without compromising their security or increasing long-term costs. More importantly, your clients chose you for a reason. Whether you’ve mastered a particular technology, specific vertical, or business process – your unique expertise can be scaled with cloud solutions to make you more profitable. Whether you’re looking to start gently with an SaaS solutions like Office 365™, or to dive into IaaS or PaaS with Azure™, evaluate your revenue potential with your Office 365 Revenue Modeling Tool or check out the eBook, Differentiate to Stand Out.

Will I need to change my sales & marketing for cloud solutions?

The next challenge is communicating the unique value you offer, particularly when 65% of B2B purchase decisions are made before ever engaging sales. The Modernizing Sales and Marketing Guide distills the best practices other successful partners have implemented. From developing a listening culture and understanding the customer journey, to building the right marketing assets to communicate how you solve customers’ real business challenges, this guide will help you grow your practice.

Am I ready to expand my practice into the cloud?

Changing your business model seems risky, even when you know that it’s critical to long-term success. So, before deciding to wait a little longer, see what it would take to get started. Some cloud services, like Office 365, can be implemented quickly and painlessly. If you have cautious clients, expanding into a hybrid blend of on-premise and cloud solutions might fit. The key is to create a strategy that allows you to leverage easily deployed cloud components to drive services revenue today, while developing your own specialized solutions to turn your unique expertise into a repeatable product over time. Get started with Optimizing your Operations.

However you choose to implement cloud services, my goal is to help you strengthen both your bottom line and your relationship with your customers. Long-term profitability is the result of helping your customers achieve their goals, growing revenue while reducing churn. Our last resource, Delivering Customer Lifetime Value closes the loop.


This article was provided by our service partner Microsoft.

Veeam

Why hybrid cloud is the new normal for enterprises

We are living in times when it’s hard to imagine our lives without technology. Our center of command is sitting in our pockets, and we are just a few taps away from booking a flight, checking our bank account or reading the news about our favorite football team. Our fast pace of life demands uninterrupted access to each application on any type of device from everywhere. Therefore, organizations need not only speed and versatility, they also need what we call Availability.

In a recent study, Forrester states that the hybrid cloud will open unlimited possibilities for enterprises around the globe to enrich their offerings through a customer-centric approach. The cloud storage deployments are evolving from simple storage silos and low-cost archiving to covering more complex use cases like global namespaces and policy-based migration.

If you thought cloud was already popular, just give it a bit more time. Hybrid cloud storage is now able to combine on-premises applications with cloud-based services, and this is only going to bring a whole lot more benefits for organizations:business agilityscalability and improved data sharing. Just think about it: a few years ago, cloud was more of a personal tool, mainly used to store documents and other files, but look at where it is today! The hybrid cloud technologies now support remote office/branch office operations (ROBO), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), the internet of things, file sync and share, and pretty much anything related to business technology.

While many organizations are migrating from expensive conventional storage systems to cloud-based systems — and this is the natural step of the IT evolution — it’s important to acknowledge that the cloud is not all milk and honey. There are a few considerations that you might need to deal with: security, regulatory compliance or long-distance data migration. However, the overall value of adopting the cloud is immeasurable, and its full-scale adoption is already happening.

Veeam enables modern organizations to deliver seamless digital life experiences to their customers through the Veeam Availability Platform, which integrates virtual, physical and cloud-based workloads. Embracing a hybrid cloud architecture opens new possibilities for both our customers and service provider partners looking to leverage the rapidly-evolving cloud computing best practices and adopting the next generation of Availability for the Always-On Enterprise.

The same report claims that “Cloud forces a new architectural approach to everything.” Of course, adopting a hybrid cloud architecture requires a new mindset, but the cloud will play a major role in our digital future, that’s for sure.

To find out more about the hybrid cloud and its benefits, I recommend you read the Hybrid Cloud is the Foundation for Storage Agility and Economics full report by Forrester.


This article was provided by our service partner Veeam.

MSP

The Evolving Role of the Managed Service Provider

Nearly every enterprise has at least one relationship with a managed service provider today and it’s very likely that relationship has evolved over the years. Get ready, it’s changing again and very much to the advantage of the enterprise.

Managed services has its origins in the beginning of the tech market when companies would turn to a reseller to not only integrate but manage the finished solution. Reselling begot hosting in the late 1990s as the Internet began to crossover from government system to the foundation of our lives, as it exists today. Hosters played two key roles: granting individuals and companies access to the Internet and renting server rack space so corporate applications (mostly web sites) could have a point of presence (POP) on the Internet.

This business evolved from rack hoster to rentable IT admins, who took on the tasks of managing the hardware, OS and increasingly the middleware and applications that ran on those servers. The hosting market was a lucrative and relatively well protected space until cloud computing came along. With the introduction of Software as a Service, applications could now be delivered and managed directly by the software provider themselves. Salesforce led this new market disruption in typical innovator fashion by targeting smaller firms, with lower enterprise-grade expectations and line of business budgets. By the time SaaS started penetrating the enterprise market, its multi-tenant, highly scalable deployment model and new pay-per-user business model was hard for hosters to match and the fight was on.

Public cloud platforms added to the competitive threat by extending the SaaS basics to hosted applications. Now both application outsourcing and the core business of hosting were under threat. A surface examination of these developments might lead you to conclude that the days of the managed service provider were looking pretty gloomy but that’s actually far from the case. It’s simply another evolutionary point in the business life-cycle. While the volume of traditional hosting and application outsourcing opportunities diminish as more applications shift to SaaS or cloud platforms, we aren’t making a binary shift and nor are we getting a free ride from a management and monitoring perspective. Look a little deeper and you’ll find that a large percent of corporate workloads don’t easily fit onto cloud platforms, can’t be cleanly replaced by SaaS and won’t go through such a binary change. In fact the definition of an application is shifting and, for most businesses, already have.

Take, for example, the common business process of eCommerce. Is that a single application? For most companies, absolutely not. It’s a workflow that blends together multiple applications including ERP, CRM, commerce, machine learning, mobile and web, content management and many other elements. And if your company has been around more than 10 years it’s highly likely you have some pretty customized elements in that mix. And it’s a workflow we are constantly refining to stay competitive, improve customer satisfaction with and adapt as end users shift from web-centric to device-centric. So given the changes we are seeing in applications and the shift to cloud that is taking place, what is the end result – a highly blended mix where certain elements are shifted to SaaS, others moved to cloud platforms and others that can’t make the move but must continue as part of the mix.

According to Gartner, Inc., by 2018, more than 40% of enterprises will have implemented hybrid data centers, up from 10% in 2015. Given that we need to accelerate the evolution of this blended model to keep pace both competitively and with our ever-changing customers, what’s the best use of your limited development and IT staff resources? You will pick up some bandwidth as the management of SaaS apps shifts to the SaaS provider and of the infrastructure below the elements you can shift to cloud platforms. But the integration, evolution, security and need for more agile UX improvements all remain. And whether you put your applications on hyper-scale public clouds like Azure or on more localized offerings such as those provided by most MSPs, you still have to manage the Cloud Handshake.

Looking at your task list and cross-correlating this with your IT staff bandwidth, you’ll likely draw the conclusion that managing the Cloud Handshake falls low on the priority list. And this is exactly where the managed service provider can add the most value. And exactly where their business models are evolving. As pointed out in this white paper from Hosting.com, the future of the managed service provider is in managing the blended IT environment. The reality is that your deployment portfolio is evolving to a mix of in-house, hosted, SaaS and multiple cloud platforms. And managing this mix isn’t your core competency and shouldn’t be your priority. MSPs are evolving their business models towards managing this mix so you can focus on the things that are unique to your business.

 

Private Hosting Service

Benefits of choosing Private Hosting Services

Looking to make the move into the cloud can be a bit of daunting process, with so many options available. One of the first decisions to make is choosing whether you want to opt for public cloud provider or choose a private cloud Private Hosting Services solution.

With decades of experience within the IT sector, dealing with a range of business clients, we have highlighted security, flexibility and control as the key values to our clients and wanted to ensure all of our cloud services were done so through a highly secure private cloud platform.

We have jotted down 5 top reasons for choosing a private cloud model for your business, to help guide you on your way.

1. Sense of security

Without a doubt, the number one reason to opt for Private Hosting Services is the knowledge that you know, not only, where your data is located but exactly who can access it. Whilst there are certainly a number security controls in place on a good public cloud platform, you will never have the sense control and security that you achieve through a private cloud solution.

Security is especially important for businesses who may hold sensitive documents on their servers such as highly personal customer information or private financial data. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure their data is kept safe and secure at all times, making a private cloud provider the go to platform for rest assured data security.

2. Knowing where your data is

Closely linked to security and privacy, specific data location is another important difference between private and public cloud providers. You cannot be 100% sure where your data is being stored on a public cloud, with many providers holding your data abroad, and often even unable to specify the exact location of your files at any given time.

With a private cloud infrastructure, you will always know the precise location of your data. At NetCal all your data is held on state of the art, enterprise level equipment in temperature controlled environments in a distinct number of data centres, known to you at any given time.

3. Top performance

Another clear advantage for Private Hosting Services is the ability to have dedicated applications and a dedicated server which runs its own operating system for your business. This ensures you do not have to share processing power with other company applications, resulting in a more stable predictable performance which is optimised for your business requirements.

4. Take control

If you want to ensure you have complete control over your hardware and your virtual servers, a private cloud is the clearly favourable option. In addition, private cloud also allows much more control over Service Level Agreement (SLA) management. Public cloud platforms can only give you control over certain features of your operating system, applications and server, and a public cloud provider controls the SLAs with all clients.

Another advantage of a private cloud solution is complete control over your own failover plan, which is put in place to ensure that there is no risk of your cloud service becoming unavailable to users.

5. Be flexible

An enterprise level private cloud service is built from the bottom up and tailored for your individual requirements. This means that, you as a client are able to specify what you need (both technical capabilities and SLAs) and only ever need to take up the processing power that you require.

In summary Private cloud is highly compliant and highly flexible, providing you with complete control over your hardware, virtual servers, SLAs and failover plans, whilst ensuring you are operating at your optimum performance.

If you are considering migrating to a cloud solution, or want to better understand the benefits of opting for a private cloud provider, get in touch with one of the friendly and experienced members of our team and we can get you up and started in no time.

Cloud services

5 Trends in Enterprise Cloud Services

Even though the future of IT belongs to the cloud, much of the enterprise world is still clinging to legacy systems. In fact, 90 percent of workloads today are completed outside of the public cloud. With this continued resistance to cloud services adoption at the enterprise level, today’s “cloud evangelists” are playing a more important role in the industry than ever before.

The role of a cloud evangelist sits somewhere between the duties of a product marketer and the company’s direct link to customers. These individuals are responsible for spreading the doctrine of cloud computing and convincing reluctant IT admins to make the jump to the cloud. It’s a dynamic role and nowhere is this more apparent than with the talented cloud evangelists at NTT Communications.

In a recent interview from NTT Communications, two of the company’s leading cloud evangelists, Masayuki Hayashi and Waturu Katsurashima, sat down to chat about the current challenges slowing enterprise cloud migration and what companies can do to help mitigate those challenges. In this post, we take a look at the five areas that are top-of-mind for cloud evangelists today.

The Changing Role of Cloud Evangelists

While the role itself may be new, it is not insulated from change. When it was first established, cloud evangelists were responsible for ferrying customers through every stage of cloud adoption. From preliminary fact finding to architecting the final network, cloud evangelists played a prominent role.

Today, that hands-on approach is quickly changing. As Hayashi states in the article, “Evangelists have traditionally played the “forward” position, but recently we are more like “midfielders” who focus on passing the ball to others.” Rather than managing every task involved, evangelists are placing more focus on improving processes and strengthening organizational knowledge.

Slow Migration of On-Premise Systems to the Cloud

The number of enterprises migrating on-premise datacenters to the cloud has been less than stellar in recent years. Cloud services migrations have remained relatively flat year-over-year largely due to the complexities surrounding migration. Enterprises are having difficulty simultaneously managing both their existing infrastructure and bringing new cloud-based services online.

For evangelists, it’s important to consider this added complexity when proposing a migration plan. NTT Communications Chief Evangelist Wataru Katsurashima recommends finding specific solutions that can accommodate the unique needs of enterprise cloud migration such as hybrid cloud infrastructures that function like a single, public cloud environment.

High Migration Costs are Slowing Adoption

The added complexity of enterprise cloud migration also directly affects the price of migration, increasing it beyond reach of some companies. The expensive price tag is forcing many enterprises to rethink their decision to migrate to the cloud, opting instead to delay the migration another year or executing a much slower, gradual migration.

One discussed solution to this high cost is using existing services within the VMware vCloud® Air™ Network. According to Katsurashima, leveraging technology from NTT communications and VMware in a synergistic way can dramatically cut down costs through efficiencies and better utilization.

New Hybrid Cloud Structures on the Horizon

Like the role of cloud evangelists, the hybrid cloud, too, is changing. Hayashi explains:

“In the past, a hybrid cloud was similar to a Japanese hot spring inn, with a single hallway that leads from the hot spring to each guest room. NTT Communications aims to achieve a “modern hotel” model. In other words, there is one front desk and a variety of rooms with different purposes, such as extended-stay rooms for VIPs and rooms for business meetings.”

The hotel analogy provides us with a way to visualize the new features and capabilities that hybrid cloud environments must deliver. Since no one cloud service provider can be everything, establishing greater levels of collaboration and cross-pollination between service providers is critical to success.

cloud management

Redefining the Role of Information System Departments

The days of information system departments only responding to the demands of individual business departments are over. The IT teams that do not help business departments innovate from the inside-out will become increasingly obsolete.

 


This article was provided by our service partner : Vmware

Cisco Umbrella

Healthcare industry embraces Cisco Umbrella

Healthcare industry expenditures on cloud computing will experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 20% by 2020. The industry has quickly transitioned from being hesitant about the cloud to embracing the technology for its overwhelming benefits.

George Washington University, a world-renowned research university, turned to Cisco Umbrella to protect its most important asset: the global reputation as a research leader.

“We chose Cisco Umbrella because it offered a really high level of protection for our various different user bases, with a really low level of interaction required to implement the solution, so we could start blocking attacks and begin saving IR analyst time immediately,” said Mike Glyer, Director, Enterprise Security & Architecture.

 

Customers love Umbrella because it is a cloud-delivered platform that protects users both on and off the network. It stops threats over all ports and protocols for the most comprehensive coverage. Plus, Umbrella’s powerful, effective security does not require the typical operational complexity. By performing everything in the cloud, there is no hardware to install, and no software to manually update. The service is a scalable solution for large healthcare organizations with multiple locations, like The University of Kansas Hospital, ranked among the nation’s best hospitals every year since 2007 by U.S. News & World Report.

“Like every hospital, we prioritize the protection of sensitive patient data against malware and other threats. We have to safeguard all network connected medical devices, as a compromise could literally result in a life-or-death situation,” says hospital Infrastructure Security Manager Henry Duong. “Unlike non-academic hospitals, however, our entwinement with medical school and research facility networks means we must also protect a lot sensitive research data and intellectual Property.”

Like many healthcare providers, The University of Kansas Hospital would spend a lot time combing through gigabytes of logs trying to trace infections, point of origin and identify which machines were calling out.  The team turned to Cisco Umbrella for help.

“First we just pointed our external DNS requests to Cisco Umbrella’s global network, which netted enough information to prompt an instant ‘Wow, we have to have this!’ response,” Duong says. “When our Umbrella trial began, we saw an immediate return, which I was able to document using Umbrella reporting and share with executive stakeholders. Those numbers, which ultimately led to executive buy-in, spoke volumes about the instant effect Umbrella had on our network.”

This overwhelming success led the team to later purchase Umbrella Investigate.

“We suddenly went from struggling to track attacks to being able to correlate users with events and trace every click of their online travels. Then, Cisco Umbrella Investigate gave us the power to understand each threat’s entire story from start to finish,” Duong says. “We’re able to dig deep into the analysis to see what users are doing, where they’re going, and pinpoint any contributing behaviors so we can mitigate most efficiently.”

University of Kansas estimate that with Cisco Umbrella – they have :

  • Decreased threats by an estimated 99 percent
  • Shortened investigation time by 75 percent
  • Increased visibility and automation while reducing exposure to ransomware

This article was provided by our Service Partner : Cisco

Internet Security

Report Uncovers Cloud Security Concerns and Lack of Security Expertise Slows Cloud Adoption

Crowd Research Partners yesterday (28th March 2017) released the results of its 2017 Cloud Security Report revealing that security concerns, lack of qualified security staff and outdated security tools remain the top issues keeping cyber security professionals up at night, while data breaches are at an all-time high.

Based on a comprehensive online survey of over 1,900 cyber security professionals in the 350,000-member Information Security Community on LinkedIn, the report has been produced in conjunction with leading cloud security vendors AlienVault, Bitglass, CloudPassage, Cloudvisory, Dome9 Security, Eastwind Networks, Evident.io, (ISC)2, Quest, Skyhigh, and Tenable.

“While workloads continue to move rapidly into the cloud, security concerns remain very high,” said Holger Schulze, founder of the 350,000-member Information Security Community on LinkedIn. “With a third of organizations predicting cloud security budgets to increase, today’s cloud environments require more than ever security-trained, certified professionals and innovative security tools to address the concerns of unauthorized access, data and privacy loss, and compliance in the cloud.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • Cloud security concerns top the list of barriers to faster cloud adoption. Concerns include protection against data loss (57 percent), threats to data privacy (49 percent), and breaches of confidentiality (47 percent).
  • Lack of qualified security staff is the second biggest barrier to cloud adoption, and more than half of organizations (53 percent) are looking to train and certify their current IT staff to address the shortage, followed by partnering with a managed service provider (MSP) (30 percent), leveraging software solutions (27 percent), and hiring dedicated staff (26 percent).
  • As more workloads move to the cloud, organizations are realizing that traditional security tools are not designed for the unique challenges cloud adoption presents (78 percent). Instead, strong security management and control solutions designed specifically for the cloud are required to protect the new, agile paradigm.
  • Visibility into cloud infrastructure is the single biggest security management headache for 37 percent of respondents, moving up to the top spot from being the second ranking operational concern in the previous year.

Download the complete 2017 Cloud Security Report here.