September 8, 2017
**Editor’s Note: Register now for Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 25-28, in Austin, Texas.**
Data security and WAN capacity are holding customers back from cloud computing.
Broadview Networks’ Domenic Cutry
Channel experts will advise partners on how to ease those concerns at Channel Partners Evolution in Austin, Texas.
The Sept. 26 panel, “Security, Speed, Spend: Knocking Down Cloud Objections,” will feature Bill Wohnoutka of Level 3 Communications, Sanjay Srinivasan of Vonage, and Domenic Cutry of Broadview Networks, now a Windstream company.
Wohnoutka and Cutry spoke to Channel Partners, previewing the session. We have edited the transcript for clarity.
Channel Partners: What is a significant factor that is preventing customers from demanding cloud services?
Domenic Cutry: One of the more pervasive factors I observe (particularly in the SMB space) is the lack of understanding regarding roles and responsibilities; some customers really haven’t fully grasped the business-operations implications of a true cloud adoption. They perceive “the cloud” to be a magic remote data center without fully understanding the management and maintenance of their applications/services related to their internal staff. More important, they miss the concept of truly moving the organization into the cloud (vs. moving “data” or “apps”). And using the cloud as a tool to transform how they do business. Many customers simply don’t see the overall value because they compare costs using a model that applies to how they do business today. They don’t comprehend the potential value of what’s possible when you really embrace the cloud.
Level 3’s Bill Wohnoutka
Bill Wohnoutka: Businesses are still uncertain how cloud service providers will handle security for their data at rest. How will the cloud provider control administrative access to the customer data? How will the cloud provider treat data that is to be permanently removed from storage? How will the provider offer visibility to the customer? Perhaps most importantly: Businesses face uncertainty with regard to how they can extend their existing network-based security controls into a virtual environment where the perimeter has been eroded or no longer exists.
CP: How should partners address the concern you mentioned?
BW: First, partners should work closely with their cloud suppliers to ensure they can articulate vendor policies and controls that are part of the services provided.
Second, partners should be in a position to articulate and demonstrate data access policies for administrative employees, APIs and interfaces for monitoring — in addition to most policies regarding the physical and system-level removal and deletion of customer data. Partners should be familiar with their customers’ network security framework and understand the key options for extending that framework into the virtual environment. They should be able to augment cloud providers’ security features with third-party tools, such as replicating controls inherent in the customers’ segmented network architecture into their virtual environment using …
… tools aligned with cloud access security brokers’ (CASB) capabilities.
Finally, partners should also be prepared to help customers understand additional options available to them, such as:
Embedding security into architectures and design patterns that are aligned to approved technology stacks. Amazon, Microsoft and Google all offer templates into their virtual environments.
Streamlining testing and auditing activities by taking a unified approach to security and providing security functions via an abstraction layer. Through the abstraction layer, developers can reuse prepackaged routines to manage encryption across multiple platforms.
Pre-provisioning hooks into workloads running into the cloud to enable instrumentation to allow for easy security operations center monitoring into the both the infrastructure and data at rest.
Adopting DevSecOps holistic methodology to achieve security consistency from design to operations, and to ensure the security patterns are integrated earlier in the code life cycle.
DC: A combination of education, product and services. First educate the customer about the possibilities. To do this the partner has to actually adopt the partner stance; get to know your customer and more important get to know their business. Help identify those potentially disruptive cloud applications that can produce meaningful results by changing how they do business today. Then build a suite products that meet those needs. Finally, identify opportunities to develop ancillary services to help the customer avoid gaps in areas between process and product.
CP: What do you hope the audience will take away from your talk?
DC: Given the audience at Channel Partners, I hope the audience leaves with a new perspective about how their customer might see the world and how some providers/partners are helping to tackle the challenges of the day.
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