Posted by Emma Ban on 2015-10-23 14:30:00
The cloud marketplace is in continuous evolution. As a cloud service provider, you’re facing new challenges every day: new cloud technologies are stealing your thunder, and new data breaches like the (in)famous Ashley Madison case are refreshing security concerns with regards to cloud services. And surely, when talking with potential customers, you’ve faced them more than once. You are expected to answer not only questions about the technology, scalability and cost of your solutions, but also about your security model.
One way to address these challenges is to add security to your cloud offering – either by integrating it into your services to make them stronger against ever evolving threats, or offering it as an additional cloud service. Here are 5 reasons why companies choose to address market challenges this way:
Increase customer trust and retention, without sacrificing resources.
A recent study by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) shows the security of data in the cloud is now a board-level concern for 61% of organizations. IDC research suggests that organizations considering public cloud technology want to see increased investment in security products and technologies from cloud service providers. The overarching issue here is trust. Companies find it difficult to let go of their full control of company data once they switch to a cloud service, be it file sharing, web hosting etc. Hence, the push for investments in “securing the cloud”. Adding cloud security features helps you answer market requirements with a security-enhanced cloud offering, shows that you listen to and act on these concerns. This, in turn, will help you gain more trust from potential customers, and retain existing ones. And since we’re talking about a cloud-based security feature, the investment doesn’t have to put a strain on your resources. For example, a URL scanner that detects malicious websites in real-time sends the URLs or IPs to the provider’s cloud service for scanning/detection without adding significant processing overhead or memory requirements.
Last year, the file-sharing and storage service from Dropbox was reportedly being used by hackers to spread dangerous malware. And it wasn’t the only time. Being a popular service, cybercriminals had tried to use it as an attack vector many times in the past, which led to a negative brand perception among its users, some of which even migrated to other file sharing services. In order to restore their reputation and reduce their security risk exposure, they started adding layers of security. And part of their response to last year’s attack was that they were constantly improving how they detected and prevented Dropbox users from sharing spam, malware or phishing links.However,
Dropbox is not the only cloud-based service out there targeted by cybercriminals. Yahoo’s email service is known to be a constant target for hackers and spammers. In fact, cloud services, in general, can be used for malicious purposes and the cloud delivery mechanism accelerates distribution of malware. Conversely, cloud antimalware and cloud antispamtechnologies reduce the incidence of malicious threats and spam waves.Even though the inherent threats to cloud securityare known, there are companies that sacrifice the security of their offerings in order to get them out to market quickly. For these companies, licensing cloud security features could be the answer to a quick product launch, but with basic security features. In time, these can be expanded as needed.
As a cloud service provider, it’s important how you mitigate security risks from the very moment you launch your service. You don’t have to wait until it becomes popular enough to draw hackers’ attention, and get millions of users’ data compromised, and your brand with them. Depending on the type of cloud service you’re providing, you can enhance it with security technologies, such as the ones mentioned above, or a combination of multiple solutions. Or offer them to you customers separately, as extra options to secure their cloud. Which leads us to the next reason.
Stay relevant and differentiate from competition.
According to IDC, spending in cloud IT infrastructure will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%, and will reach $54.6 billion by 2019, accounting for 46.5% of the total spending on IT infrastructure. As the benefits of cloud adoption crystalize – greater business agility, employee efficiency and market innovation – the breadth and width of cloud offerings will expand, with a wealth of business and consumer solutions being built in or moved to the cloud. So you need to keep up not only with the market demands, but also with innovating competitors. You need to stay current, by meeting tomorrow’s demands of potential customers, while getting a competitive edge. How do you do that? By looking for clear differentiators that can set you apart from the pack.
Some companies are differentiating themselves from others by licensing technologies that can complement their products or services. For you, as a cloud service provider, the solution that would make most sense would be adding cloud-based security feature to your cloud offering:
- As shown above, security concerns around data in the cloud are more vivid than ever, so a complementary cloud-based security feature will enable you to stay relevant on the market
- Licensing technologies can translate into SDK integration, product rebranding or white-labeling, or bundling, so you can choose whichever licensing option best suits your business model and resources. However, if you already have a security feature in place, you can add further ones. But keep in mind that regardless of the approach you choose, you’ll be helping your customers better secure their cloud. And that’s not only addressing a pain point, but also relevant market positioning.
Expand into new markets.
Companies looking to diversify their portfolio and expand into new markets often include licensing products and services in their long-term strategy. Not only do they spend less time with the actual product development, which enables them to accelerate time to market, but, in some cases, they also benefit from their provider’s expertise and experience with the respective market.
As a cloud service provider, you have several options in terms of what markets to expand into. But consider this predictionfrom Gartner: “by 2018, more than half of organizations will use security services firms that specialize in data protection, security risk management and security infrastructure management to enhance their security postures.” Given the ever-present concern for cloud security and these predictions from Gartner, a sensible choice would be to add security solutions to your portfolio. This strategy can also increase customer loyalty by attracting your customers to a comprehensive cloud-based security solution from you, rather than having to manage different vendor relationships.
Generate additional revenue from customers.
A diversified product portfolio helps companies develop upsell and cross-sell strategies, in order to generate more revenue from existing customers. Licensing existing solutions can drastically reduce development costs, while enabling you to focus on your core competencies. Licensing security solutions keeps you current and relevant, given the constantly changing malware landscape affecting users web-wide. In other words, licensing cloud security technologies helps reduce costs and maximize your revenue.
It all depends, of course, on the security technologies you are looking to license. And even more so, on the provider you’re going to choose as a partner. You have to make sure the security solution/product is that piece of the puzzle your product portfolio is missing, and it’s powered by industry-leading, attested technology and expertise.
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