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It’s time to rethink Cloud Management

By Jim Darragh, CEO of Abiquo

We’ve all heard of ‘Cloud’ we all know it and know the advantages it can bring, so I’m not here to evangelize to the choir, but what I will be able to do is challenge you; I would like you to require an honest hard check out your current Cloud offering and begin asking yourself some difficult questions.

Here begins your Cloud therapy.

So where does Cloud begin?

It’s safe to mention most if not all organizations have virtualized at some level. cloud computing technology

 the reality is Cloud may be a natural evolution of your virtualization strategy, an extension that builds upon the advantages you hoped to realize from virtualizing.

It is necessary for organizations to migrate their existing legacy processes, not just the technology within the cloud but to really optimize all their resources – organizations must do both. Enterprise governance is vital within the context of who owns the hardware – where is it, who can access it, how is it secured, what patches need deploying into what environment.

However, what about the machine or lifecycle management or capacity planning for that matter or workflow and Business Process Management? All of those need incorporating too as their legacy is already processed from what they inherited for the old business and therefore the customer would really like to automate them into a real cloud offering. That’s precisely what Abiquo provides.

…has your virtualization strategy worked and are you on top of things in your virtual environment?

So let’s start here, you would like to ask yourself some questions; has your virtualization strategy worked, and are you on top of things in your virtual environment? does one have the mechanisms, management, and control to make sure that you simply are becoming the utilization you wanted?

It’s also worth brooding about how you propose to leverage your current virtual environment to supply subsequent levels of agility, flexibility, and usage model. If you've got control of virtualization and therefore the levels of usage you'll begin to accurately plan for future capacity needs, you'll also begin to plan which workloads require what level of capacity, compute, storage and network. In doing so, you're then also ready to control where the capacity resides and the way to make sure you've got a better level of efficiency and utilization.

Assess your options; what's available to you? are you able to begin to mix your own in-house infrastructural resources with “rented” options from public sources?

Do you have the power today to manage both as a standard ubiquitous set of resource that's available to you when your plan says you would like it? does one fully understand the value implications and potential benefits of blending your own resources in your data center, which you'll procure “on-demand” from public cloud providers whilst maintaining the control and processes that you simply have for your organization?

You probably also want to think about how you'll control and manage a mixed set of resources, whilst maintaining the processes and management systems? (i.e. the tools that essentially keep your IT running smoothly and during a framework of control and compliance).

Can you keep those robust systems and processes but now apply them to an infrastructure that's both highly utilized and versatile, and consists of elements you own and rent?

Can you give your users the speed and adaptability that they will freely procure outside your organization?

Your consumers are now familiar with procuring resources online with a couple of clicks of the mouse, but they're going to invariably do that outside of the control of IT and therefore the government of the business unless IT can provide an equivalent experience from within.

Your consumers are now familiar with procuring resources online with a couple of clicks of the mouse, but they're going to invariably do that outside of the control of IT and therefore the government of the business unless IT can provide an equivalent experience from within.

It is often achieved, your users are often given access to a self-service resource, but governed by you and therefore the policies you've got for where workloads should reside, approved by your organization and using the underlying infrastructure and applications that you simply deem appropriate.

It is important to possess an extended hard check out your Cloud offering, is it delivering what you had hoped, and are your customers or users finding it as accessible and valuable as they should?

Indeed, what does one want your Cloud and IT process to seem like within the future?

Abiquo is going to be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum in June, visit stand 4080 for your FREE Cloud checkup.

Changing sales behavior? you would possibly want to seem at the bonus plan first.

By Paul Bevan, Director of Surefire Sales

We have heard tons recently, even within the recent portals of ComparetheCloud, about the necessity to vary the way we sell. While there's always a danger in over-simplifying the drivers and levers that affect human behavior, might I suggest that a touch time and thought spent on making bonus plans fit Cloud purpose would be time well spent?

I don’t think it's an exaggeration to mention that we get the sales results our incentive schemes deserve. Anyone who features a run a sales team knows that sales people are masters at understanding the way to make a scheme work to their advantage. The more complex we attempt to make the schemes, to undertake and balance up the drive for growth and therefore the drive for profits, the more the sales teams find ways of driving a teacher and horses through its provisions.

Anyone who features a run a sales team knows that salespeople are masters at understanding the way to make a scheme work to their advantage.

When we were selling hardware, or software on a license basis, it had been relatively easy, in theory, to construct incentives supported whether the main target was on order growth, margin growth, customer acquisition, and retention, or a mixture of all three… and that we still got it wrong regularly.

Now, Cloud and globalization have made life far more complicated. for instance, if you're a salesperson selling data center space and are paid on monthly new bookings in your geography only, are you getting to chase an area deal for 20 racks now with a national enterprise, or the new IaaS vendor tipped for greatness, who only needs one rack in your geography and an extra 10 in other geographies, with the prospect that this might become an enormous magnet for future business.

Trust me, without management intervention, most sales guys will take the 20 local racks now. The long-term company strategy may are better served by taking the opposite deal, but the drive for revenue now can often be a compelling factor for several organizations. this is often not restricted to hardware either as software and repair companies struggle to incentivize sales for selling Cloud-based pay per use models effectively. If the anecdotal evidence is to be believed, the issues are pretty widespread and must be impacting growth and profit targets.

Are there some great samples of simple, effective schemes out there that are driving desired sales behaviors in Cloud vendors, or can we get to adopt the DEC approach from the 1980s and do away with the bonus scheme for sales completely? Buyers of cloud computing need and expect a more consultative salesperson

By George Constantopoulos – Cloud Practise Director at SBR Consulting

In the fast-paced environment of the technology industry, consultative sales are becoming the occupation of the longer term. However, the longer-term is here today. Now you’re wondering, how does that fit in? Well, let’s take a glance at how the rapid change and evolving trends in technology are reshaping the worldwide business landscape and altering the present sales process. The convergence of cloud, mobile, social and large data has established a series of innovation platforms with enormous potential. This, in turn, has developed a way of urgency for sales professionals to adopt a replacement mindset, a replacement sales culture with a special set of behaviors to achieve this evolving marketplace, that's also characterized by extreme competition.

Consequently, preparing to adapt and become as current as possible with technological advances requires a fresh approach. information technology management liberates the sales potential within their organization and improves performance, sales leaders must undergo transformational change to manage the expansion enabling business model of cloud computing, which is way beyond simply being “fashionable” because it is increasingly dominating the digital economy.

Now, let’s attempt to see why and the way is that this justified? Alongside pure cloud play companies, most of the normal IT vendors are introducing cloud solutions to satisfy the various and growing demands of the market. the good majority of business leaders that are liable for delivering these new services have experience in selling products, like hardware equipment, software licenses, or on-premise applications. Contrary thereto, and while moving at the pace with which their customers do business, cloud solution specialists follow a particular sales strategy. it's also essential to notice that the pricing model for all aspects of cloud-based services is radically different thereto of traditional IT offerings.

Selling cloud-based solutions requires a more services-oriented approach thereto, in other words, a technique that needs a more consultative relationship with customers.

It’s not such a lot about products anymore; it’s rather about discovering customers’ problems first then recommending the acceptable cloud solutions that address those specific problems.

It’s not such a lot about products anymore; it’s rather about discovering customers’ problems first then recommending the acceptable cloud solutions that address those specific problems. Emphasis should be placed on linking the cloud’s enabling capabilities with the immediate business results that are often produced.

The key to consultative sales is developing a mutual affection of customers’ needs and assembling the required tools and processes to unravel them. Achieving success within the cloud computing space requires unique skills centered around effective sales and long-term relationship building while ensuring customer satisfaction. Implementing a consultative sales methodology more effectively over time, generates more sales, while considerably improving the sales cycle and driving increases in revenues.

Cloud is quite just a special means of delivering IT applications; it also provides a replacement way of doing business. An equally important aspect is that Cloud computing enables businesses to rethink how they operate. that's why change management is one of the primary areas that sales specialists must introduce to their clients when developing a dialogue around Cloud solutions. As businesses are gradually moving far away from traditional IT infrastructures to more flexible hybrid models, the expansion and demand for Cloud services will increase to new heights and IT solution providers are going to be faced with diverse customer needs.

As many solution providers still struggle with the way to successfully equip their sales teams with the knowledge, skills, and tools to sell Cloud solutions, the transition to putting together and scaling a consultative sales model is often painful, since a more comprehensive sales approach is required here. One which will help to please their clients, by demonstrating the advantages and therefore the advantages through practical applications that increase value and solve business problems. Additionally, there's a necessity to include sales acumen to staff with a technical background, thereby enhancing the sales experience for the customer by infusing more value and contributing to consultative sales. Deploying Cloud solutions can sometimes be complicated, but convincing customers to shop for them are often a good tougher job.

While traditional sales generally involve a one-to-one relationship between the answer provider and therefore the client, consultative sales are more of a team-to-team ritual.

Due to vendor marketing hype, a substantial amount of confusion has been created on what the “Cloud” is and does. additionally thereto, it's worth noting that a replacement terminology has been introduced to the IT world, “Cloud Washing”. That translates into the purposeful and sometimes deceptive attempt by a vendor to re-brand an old product or service by associating the buzzword “Cloud” with it.

Essentially, certain marketing people can call anything “The Cloud” and obtain attention. Since the definition of the Cloud is somewhat fuzzy, many believe that anything delivered over the web is Cloud computing. the need to supply clarity and differentiate the worth that the Cloud brings lies mostly upon the business experts that have got to possess fluency in consultative sales.

Here is that the key takeaway: even as change management should be introduced to an organization that intends to take advantage of cloud computing, it's equally important for sales people that want to become proficient in offering cloud solutions, to adopt a high-performance consultative sales culture through a change program that focuses on creating successful sales habits, instead of following another basic sales training course.

Does utilizing the cloud expose us to more risk?

By Chloe Clarke – Head of worldwide Business Development at Razor Thorn Security

The launch and the continued rise of the Cloud in recent years would be difficult to miss, yet surprisingly widespread apprehension towards this new service exists within our business culture. The Cloud holds such a lot of potential thanks to its flexibility, accessibility, and price saving capabilities, so I would like to explore what's causing this uneasiness towards Cloud services, and what key questions are affecting people’s decisions to adopt and leverage it?

From an outsider’s perspective, (I formerly worked in retail and academic sales roles, so I’m not from a technical background) it became clear relatively early in my new role that a lot of of the statements Cloud vendors would make aren't always accurate, and they're also appeared to be a stigma surrounding the Cloud.

After chatting with a spread of people considering Cloud adoption, all of them seemed to share an equivalent concern – risk. it had been felt that the extent of uncertainty following implementing cloud services represented too great a risk to enable them to travel ahead with their project.

With first-hand experience working within the education and retail sectors, I understand what it’s like working in a highly regulated environment. we might be forced to recall and amend any incorrectly advertised information that was getting used to selling an item immediately, for if it were found to be false it might cause reputation damage, revenue losses, and convey the likelihood of lawsuits.

Whilst this rigorous application of regulation is common practice, in contrast, there seems to be a rather blasé attitude towards the quantity of misleading advertisement which variety of Cloud companies provide regarding the safety of their services. for instance, I used to be handed documentation by a corporation stating that their Cloud held PCI DSS accreditation, however, following a couple of questions on this from me, the individual modified their statement to: “We add a PCI manner”…It was felt that the extent of uncertainty following implementing cloud services represented too great a risk to enable them to travel ahead with their project.

Getting to the reality of Cloud security is often a minefield of ill-informed sales jargon, which is at the best confusing, and at the worst misinformation, which serves to place businesses off completely. With this in mind, I rounded up a variety of security industry experts to seek out out the realities of risk involving the Cloud, whether or not they are often mitigated, and if so how.

Mark Bailey – Speechly Bircham LLP – Lawyers

Using Cloud doesn't automatically expose a business to more risk: the large Cloud providers can potentially offer A level of data and physical security far beyond that of most businesses. The key to Cloud is that “you get what you pay for”. Cloud services are all very different, using different infrastructure models also being found out and managed differently. this suggests that analysis of the service (correct due diligence, intelligent risk review round the actual use that the business requires for the service, and properly tailored legal contracts, where possible) are critical. The known risks can then be identified and mitigated, for an acceptable price. Risk is usually created where there's a mismatch between the expectations that a buyer has of service and what the provider is ready to supply, or where adequate due diligence (both internally by the customer of its own requirements, and of the provider) isn't conducted. The attitude to risk on Cloud also must be according to the business’ overall risk management processes internally.”

Frank Jennings – DMH Stallard LLP- Lawyers

Using Cloud services needn't expose you to more risk. In fact, if you haven’t embraced proper DR services on your existing IT, using Cloud services could actually reduce your risk. you want to spend wisely on Cloud services to urge the resilience and security you would like. Also, you want to check the liability exclusions within the Cloud services contract to form sure you’re happy all the danger isn’t on you as a customer. especially, check if the provider has excluded liability for loss of knowledge and clarify whether your remedies are restricted to service credits.”

David Prince – Hibu plc. (Formerly referred to as Yell)

More and more business leaders are making decisions on when Cloud services are going to be adopted and in what capacity. it's our responsibility as advisors to the business to make sure appropriate and independent risk assessments are being performed. With the stigmatisms attached to Cloud, this is often sometimes easier said than done. On the one hand, you've got the undeniable business efficiencies, like cost savings, agility, and rapid time-to-market, but on the other hand, you’re faced with the inherent obscurities of any Cloud model which must be identified, understood, communicated, and managed.

As a robust advocate for simplicity (where possible), I think tons of the fear, uncertainty, and doubt are often overcome during a relatively simple manner, even with the abundance of complexities inherent with this significant shift in IT service delivery. return to basics and canopy the pre-requisites – contextualize your risk, know your data, and know your business! this may enable you to raised understand your organisations risk-appetite and the way it's being impacted by Cloud.“

Steve Carroll – CompareSafe – Security Verification Assessors

Cloud security has always had A level of the unknown about it. While it's true that the Cloud is often a really secure platform, within the same breath it's worth remembering that if found out or utilized in the incorrect way it can open its potential users up to a world of security issues. One article even compared it to “picking a dog with the smallest amount fleas”.

That being said, companies shouldn't be scared of moving to the cloud as long as they're doing some serious checks to understand exactly what they are buying and if unsure catch on independently checked.”

Adam Moss – Razor Thorn Security – Information Security Consultants

If Cloud is approached in the correct manner and therefore the security is completed properly, it's possible to minimize the risks of moving to the Cloud. the pliability that Cloud technology brings means that there are many creative ways in which Cloud services are often given security as an integral part of the found out.

The key to picking a Cloud provider is to ask as many questions because it takes for you to make certain that the Cloud service provider does what they assert . invite evidence of the extent of security and if compliance is a problem definitely ask to ascertain any relevant documentation to certify the compliance. If you've got a security professional on your team whether in-house or outsourced, get them involved within the process, ask their advice and if possible get them to lecture the Cloud provider.”

Nick Prescot – Firehost – Cloud Provider

“Using the Cloud model for the utilization of computing isn't different from moving to a special dedicated environment…they all have different risks that are inherent with moving data from one location to the opposite location.

Also, it's a case of principle within the sense that the customer must understand how the info is managed, hosted, and in some cases secured.

The question of knowledge sovereignty and compliance requirements should be the most start of any risk assessment and also how the expectation of knowledge privacy and protection are often managed.”

Dave Foster – ProAct – Cloud Provider

“I think the primary thing is to seem at what risks you've got today. I might argue the as a Managed Cloud Service provider we'll be tons safer than customers as we are audited so need to operate to certain standards (such as ISO27001 and PCI) and even have to prove that we vet and police all our staff.

How many customers do that? Assuming you opt to require a Cloud service then it really depends on the service taken and therefore the sort of provider.

As an example, if you took IaaS (I.E. hosted VMs and storage – the foremost common Cloud infrastructure service) and selected a public provider like Amazon or Rackspace then I might argue you're exposed to more risk. Their models are designed to guard their infrastructure, not their customer VMs, applications, and data. virtual technology

 If you chose an Enterprise provider like Proact who provides an up to the OS service and who proactively monitors and polices security of your VMs, data, and applications then I might argue that we go tons further than most customers. See our security FAQ”

The underlying message is clear: utilizing the Cloud is risky if a hasty, ill-informed leap is formed during procurement.

The Cloud eco-system remains maturing and that we aren't yet ready to transfer all services to the Cloud, however, there are many situations where it's potentially safer than in-house IT if implemented correctly.

If a vendor offers a Cloud service that provides a raft of advantages and features, it falls to the business to determine whether or not this is often proven. Turning to experts and industry counsels for guidelines and advice is invaluable, given the complexities that procuring Cloud services entails.

Getting past the myths surrounding the Cloud is crucial to encouraging widespread uptake, but with a proportion of the overall public still convinced the Cloud is of the meteorological variety, with many believing our data is floating around within the sky; demystifying Cloud services presents no easy task.

Although the Cloud is often difficult to grasp, its offerings are still growing, establishing, and being gradually accepted by consumers. However, this is often hindered by a misunderstanding of the merchandise, compounded by misinformation driven by some desperate or perhaps just plain ignorant sales teams.

I want to thank everyone who commented on this article: Hibu plc, Fire host, ProAct, CompareSafe, Razor Thorn Security, Speechly Bircham, and DMH Stallard.

I’d like to hear your views.