I am proud to say we are progressively seeing the cloud demystified. Simply put, it is where customers who choose not to own or manage their servers and hardware may locate their applications. For those of us who sell access, this gives way to huge opportunity.
At the same time though, it does raise a few questions. If you are selling Internet to your customer so they can access the applications in the cloud, is there a difference between public and private? The easy answer is yes, but what is it and what does it mean for your customers?
The key here is security and performance. I strongly believe that security is going to be a primary driver in the continued evolution of our business. Internet threats are getting more and more sophisticated to the extent that even companies like Target and Citibank are not safe. This is the primary reason so many companies have chosen to invest huge capital to maintain “on-net” servers. Most of our customers today do not have the capital of a Target or a Citibank. For them, the ability to store their data and applications in a virtual hosting setting would have a dramatic impact on their IT budget. The key is to have those applications residing in a protected data center, sitting as a node on your private MPLS network.
It is imperative, that as the trusted adviser to your customers, you ensure them that there is no public Internet anywhere near their sensitive data if at all possible. Too many providers who tout a MPLS network use IPsec to bring sensitive customer data across the public Internet – either from the customer’s premises or from the applications in the cloud back to the customer. Introducing IPsec technology into a network not only increases security risks but dramatically degrades performance. The key to performance is the ability to retain Class of Service (COS); the ability to tag a specific packet with priority that can be retained from origination to termination.
Again, our partners’ customers look to them to figure out this whole cloud thing and to ensure that they are protecting our business. Make sure you are evaluating the carriers you do business with to ensure that they have a solution that meets your customer requirements. The cloud does not have to be a scary solution if you know how to get your customer there.