Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Jerry Melnick, Liz McMillan, Michelle Drolet, Elizabeth White, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Open Web, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Open Web: Blog Feed Post

Innovation and Risk in the Clouds - II

In business there are some very memorable moments in risk taking (Part 2 of 3)

Early Bird at Cloud Expo

In Part 1 of Innovation and Risk in the Clouds, I focused on the alignment between strategy, organizational culture, innovation, and cloud computing.

In part 2 we will discuss some of the risks and challenges cloud computing presents.

Do you remember the last time you took a risk?  The first time?  Do you remember the first time you saw your company take a meaningful risk?

In business there are some very memorable moments in risk taking.  Which ones do you recall?  One of my favorites is the Apple, Xerox, Microsoft, and IBM story told in the Pirates of Silicon Valley docudrama.

It’s a classic tale of a large enterprise not fully recognizing the value of technology, and a smaller organization being sufficiently bold and nimble to capitalize on that mistake.

As a former project manager, one of the activities I enjoyed most when managing projects was risk planning.  It slowed us down and forced us to think through our activities, identify risks, analyze the risks, and plan appropriately.  Some believe the speed of being a first mover, and its advantage, is enough, but it’s not simply the fastest car that wins the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix; it’s the team that best manages the risks inherent in participating at such events.  The risk of a tire blowout is very real, and is a risk that needs to be properly managed.

Similarly, organizations need to be structured with the people, resources, processes, and strategic focus to adopt risk-taking endeavors in an acceptable and measured way.

The discipline of risk management focuses on addressing organizational risk inherent in its people, process, systems, and external environment.  Some of those areas of risk include:

  • Strategic (M&A),
  • Regulatory Compliance,
  • Financial (Cashflow) and Operational (IT systems, Supply Chain)
  • Environmental, Political, Economic, Technological, and Competitive

Corporate transformation to a more creative culture leveraging the latest cloud computing model is not without risk.  The consequences of the transition, chance of success, and impact on the business needs to be weighed, and planned for appropriately.

The good news is that cloud computing represents a positive risk shared with the cloud service provider, enhanced with key partnerships, and exploited for corporate benefit while leveraging service level agreements (SLAs) to mitigate risks.  Risks, such as, hardware and software technological obsolescence, are transferred; although many considerations, including security, interoperability, lock-in, business process governance, and management remain, and need to be properly evaluated.

Security: I have heard it said that up to 70% of security threats are from unauthorized access by internal employees, so perhaps the focus on external attacks in a cloud computing environment should be re-evaluated.

Enterprise security, governance, risk management, and compliance has enabled many large government and financial service organizations to meet their audit requirements while reducing risk and improving operational efficiency.  I have no reason to believe that cloud service providers (CSPs) meeting the same audit criteria will fare worse in this regard.

Interoperability: There is the risk of emerging technology and lack of interoperability standards; though large private enterprises and government will put pressure on CSPs to inter-operate between clouds.

Lock-In: The risk of vendor lock-in given the lack of interoperability standards, while real, should be kept in context.  Is the absence of lock-in worth an expensive choice of multiple hardware and software providers?  Are you willing to pay a multiple to not be locked-in?  Interoperability will eventually come to the cloud, while legacy service providers are moving to their own solution bundles given the acquisitions we have seen – Oracle/Sun, Dell/Perot, HP/EDS.

Business Process Governance: In this area, Salesforce.com announced the Force.com Visual Process Manager, and Makara announced its cloud application deployment and management platform, you can expect many developments here as organizations race to provide a variety of solutions in this area.  I have written on this topic before, the original blog entry is found here.

Management: Ultimately, for some, managing Clouds will offer the appearance of control – dashboards, and real-time reporting mechanisms, all provided by Cloud Service Providers with the degree of detailed monitoring determining the costs incurred by the client.

For others, that will build and support their own enterprise cloud environments, the dynamic nature of cloud computing – with servers, networks, and storage dynamically showing up and disappearing from the environment, it will be a difficult and challenging model to manage; particularly if the organization does not adapt its legacy business management culture and approach, for the new environment.

Though by far, the greatest risk that I see is the failure to recognize the potential that lies within cloud computing to transform organizations.

In part 3 we will discuss the organizational challenges of innovation in the cloud.

-Tune The Future-

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ray DePena

Ray DePena worked at IBM for over 12 years in various senior global roles in managed hosting sales, services sales, global marketing programs (business innovation), marketing management, partner management, and global business development.
His background includes software development, computer networking, systems engineering, and IT project management. He holds an MBA in Information Systems, Marketing, and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Systems from the City University of New York at Baruch College.

Named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Computing Bloggers in 2009, Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2010, and Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2011, he is the Founder and Editor of Amazon.com Journal,Competitive Business Innovation Journal,and Salesforce.com Journal.

He currently serves as an Industry Advisor for the Higher Education Sector on a National Science Foundation Initiative on Computational Thinking. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. DePena now lives in northern California. He can be followed on:

Twitter: @RayDePena   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook   |   Google+

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.
Chief Security Officers (CSO), CIOs and IT Directors are all concerned with providing a secure environment from which their business can innovate and customers can safely consume without the fear of Distributed Denial of Service attacks. To be successful in today's hyper-connected world, the enterprise needs to leverage the capabilities of the web and be ready to innovate without fear of DDoS attacks, concerns about application security and other threats. Organizations face great risk from increasingly frequent and sophisticated attempts to render web properties unavailable, and steal intellectual property or personally identifiable information. Layered security best practices extend security beyond the data center, delivering DDoS protection and maintaining site performance in the face of fast-changing threats.
From data center to cloud to the network. In his session at 3rd SDDC Expo, Raul Martynek, CEO of Net Access, will identify the challenges facing both data center providers and enterprise IT as they relate to cross-platform automation. He will then provide insight into designing, building, securing and managing the technology as an integrated service offering. Topics covered include: High-density data center design Network (and SDN) integration and automation Cloud (and hosting) infrastructure considerations Monitoring and security Management approaches Self-service and automation
In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, David Holmes, Vice President at OutSystems, will demonstrate the immense power that lives at the intersection of mobile apps and cloud application platforms. Attendees will participate in a live demonstration – an enterprise mobile app will be built and changed before their eyes – on their own devices. David Holmes brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing leadership to OutSystems. Prior to joining OutSystems, he was VP of Global Marketing for Damballa, a leading provider of network security solutions. Previously, he was SVP of Global Marketing for Jacada where his branding and positioning expertise helped drive the company from start-up days to a $55 million initial public offering on Nasdaq.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 14th Cloud Expo, Marc Jones, Vice President of Product Innovation for SoftLayer, will explain how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.