The excitement surrounding the potential for moving data and applications to the cloud is not just an enterprise focus as the small- to medium-sized business (SMB) can also benefit from the migration. Even with proven benefits, however, the SMB can be hesitant to make the change, facing unknown territory and new operations. To help leaders in the SMB space to bridge the gap between strategy and execution, the CLOUD4SMB Expo is being offered as an event collocated with ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2012.
To prepare for this exciting event, TMC sought to interview executives who plan to be in attendance. Saad Shahzad, Chief Strategy Officer, dinCloud, talked with Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) as they explored the real and imaged challenges in this space. When asked about the resolution of cloud security, Shahzad highlighted that dinCloud offers multiple layers of security to help the SMB overcome such fears. These layers include the Physical Layer, the Network Layer and the Virtual Machine Layer.
As for the status of cloud adoption, Shahzad believes it has picked up in 2012, although it has not been what leaders in the industry, including Gartner (News - Alert), had forecasted. The paradigm shift, according to Shahzad, is taking place, albeit slowly. From the dinCloud perspective, 2010 was the year of education, 2011 was the year for testing and 2012 is the year for adoption. Apple’s (News - Alert) iCloud is certainly helping in the process, spending billions in advertising. “As users get attracted to storing their music and pictures in the cloud, they will demand similar services in the corporate environment, which will further drive adoption,” says Shahzad.
In further exploration of the importance of the cloud, there are critical elements to understand. First, there is a big difference between consumer and enterprise public clouds, mainly in security and access. Shahzad believes the most important thing to understand, however, is companies like dinCloud are not trying to take power or resources away from IT as the cloud must be a co-managed environment. The dinCloud team believes in making the job easier for IT through the simplification of IT management with the company’s proprietary cloud orchestration software known as dinManage.
As for moving communications to the cloud, “Communication is critical for us as human beings to live and interact in society,” says Shahzad. “The cloud enhances the transfer of knowledge through consumer social tools like Facebook or Twitter (News - Alert) and enterprise social tools like Salesforce chatter or Yammer. The reach these tools provide over the cloud make it easier for all of us to receive information and put it to good use.”
Some in the industry suggest that cloud computing and communications is just a fad, something more companies will come to realize in time. Shahzad disagrees. He believes the paradigm shift is happening and there is no turning back as it no longer makes sense for corporations to own expensive IT assets that must be refreshed every year or pay for its ongoing management. IT should be delivered as a service, especially for the SMB. The playing field has been leveled as small businesses and corporations have access to the same resources once only afforded by their larger competitors.
In turning to the benefits afforded in the cloud, Shahzad believes one of the best things is the corporation is constantly backed up in the cloud, eliminating the risk of ever losing data or having to deal with issues in continuity. As for the deployment models we’ll see in the future, Shahzad and the dinCloud team think hybrid clouds will ultimately be the long-term winners in industries where compliance and security are critical. It will especially be a great and affordable solution for the SMBs that are not regulated by the government or manage super sensitive data in the public cloud.
For those organizations that must pay close attention to compliance, however, Shahzad had this to say: “In some respects it makes compliance harder as your data and applications now sit with a third party service provider. In some respects it makes compliance easier because the service provider could have a lot of experience dealing with certain industry verticals. dinCloud, for example, works with multiple doctor’s offices and we have helped one of our clients pass their HIPPA audit. We went to the meetings with them and helped answer questions around security and compliance.”
Shahzad does practice what he preaches as he stores all of his data in the cloud, enjoying access anywhere, at any time and from any device. For attendees interested in seeking out his expertise at the CLOUD4SMB Expo, they will be privy to ROI insight from an ex-investment banker and venture capitalist. Shahzad’s background in finance puts him in a great positive to offer a different perspective.
Want to learn more about cloud computing solutions geared specifically towards small to medium-sized businesses? Don’t miss the Cloud4SMB Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud4SMB Expo. Follow us on Twitter.