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We’re going to the Cloud. Do I Still Need ITSM?

Greg LinkBy Greg Link

As of this writing, Boeing Aircraft Company is demonstrating its 787 Dreamliner at the Paris Air show. After a normal takeoff roll, the aircraft jumps off the runway into what appears to be a near vertical climb to the clouds! That is impressive. Recently a different form of cloud; cloud computing – has appeared on the horizon and appears to be here to stay. Forrester expects cloud computing will increase from approximately $41 billion this year, and rise to more than $240 billion in 2020. A 600% increase in 5-years is impressive indeed. Traditional IT shops have embraced IT Service Management (ITSM) frameworks, such as the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®), to help them respond to dynamic business requirements. But is this framework still needed as more and more companies turn to the cloud?

What is the purpose of ITSM?

ITSM and ITIL are often used interchangeably. They are synonymous because ITIL has become the de facto or gold standard for the design, delivery and operation of quality IT services that meet the needs of customers and users. Its approach focuses on 3 major areas:

  • Using a process approach to
  • Deliver IT services rather than IT systems or applications, while
  • Stressing continual service improvement.

With the success of ITSM initiatives all across the globe there is little reason to abandon these critical practices simply due to a shift in the way storage and computing are being performed. The cloud is merely providing companies with powerful utility to meet business requirements and demand.

5 reasons why ITSM is still needed in the cloud

Your transformation to the cloud can take several paths. You can go the route of the Private Cloud where you have total control over the infrastructure and applications that will be used to do business. Another option is the Public Cloud where you contract with a provider that will host storage and computing resources. The final option is the Hybrid Cloud – combination of the two – that allows companies to meet seasonal or growing demand. Any path chosen will still require the basics covered in ITIL.

1) Service Strategy

Service strategy helps in understanding the market and customer needs to create a vision of the services needed to meet business objectives. In this phase we look at things like Financial Management. The cloud is best served when costs and fees are known and predictable. This segment also looks at Demand Management. This discipline proactively manages the dynamics of how the service will be governed from a resource perspective. Both of these are critical to success in the cloud.

5) Service Design

Service Design is the practice of taking a holistic approach to end-to-end service design while considering such things as people, process, technology and vendor relationships. Processes within this phase that are critical with the cloud are:

  • Service Level Management – setting and keeping service targets
  • Supplier Management – this is essential if you are considering going into the Public Cloud as the vendor you choose will be responsible for the delivery of your services.
  • Service Continuity Management – what is the backup plan and if needed, the recovery plan to resume business services should there be a disruption?
  • Capacity and Availability Management – will resources be available and in quantities needed to meet the business requirements in a cost effective manner?

3) Service Transition

Service Transition assists in getting a service into production with processes such as:

  • Transition Planning and Support – planning and coordination of resources in ensure your IT service is market ready.
  • Evaluation – does the service perform and do what it is supposed to do (warranty and utility)?
  • Knowledge Management – make sure that people have the information they need, in whatever capacity, to support the service.
  • Change Management – Private cloud users will follow existing process, however a well coordinated change management process will be needed for Public and Hybrid cloud users. Your vendor’s changes may affect your application in unwanted ways. Additionally, if the cloud is to be used for provisioning servers and environments, the Change Management should be optimized for agility and repeatability.

4) Service Operation

Service Operation manages how a company balances areas in consistency and responsiveness. Processes important when considering deployment to a cloud environment are:

  • Incident Management – where do cloud users turn to when things don’t go as they should and how is that managed?
  • Access Management – the method by which only authorized users are allowed access to use the application and other resources used in the delivery of services.

5) Continual Service Improvement 

  • Now that you’ve deployed to the cloud, how are customers reacting to your service? Is the service meeting their needs? Is it fast enough clear enough, secure enough…?

IT Service Management principles will help guide you into a successful cloud experience with ease and confidence.  Luckily, you’re not alone.  VMware professional services are not only experts in cloud innovation, we have ITIL Experts on staff who can help you ensure ITSM best practices are applied throughout your operating model.


Greg Link is a Transformation Consultant based in Las Vegas, NV

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Make “IT Relevance” a Reality

Sue Holly-RodwayBy Sue Holly-Rodway

It’s that time again―the dawn of a new year, and its accompanying surge of post-holiday, re-energised intention and commitment to improvement.

My team and I work in the shape-shifting world of technology, helping customers drive business transformation through IT transformation. And that can be challenging simply because today, technology is the business. As Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE Corporation, said, “If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up today as a software and analytics company.”

That makes the CIO and IT team central to shaping business strategy, including planning and execution. And of course, you still need to optimise the operation of core systems while reducing operational budgets as well. Based on our experiences over the past year, I wanted to suggest three resolutions to help you meet these goals.

Resolution 1: Put IT in the Driver’s seat

In order to shape successful business transformation, the CIO must be in the driver’s seat. By the end of 2015, act as the “Chief Innovation Officer,” and play a central, creative role in shaping business strategy where technology is the accelerator for growth.

We believe that many businesses still have a long way to go in recognising the central, critical roles of the CIO and IT team in guiding business strategy through expert understanding of how technology can drive growth. So what gets in the way? Often IT is seen by the rest of the organisation as old-fashioned and a roadblock to innovation and agility. All too frequently IT itself is stuck in the mindset that their job is just to keep the systems up and running—and let “the business” worry about the rest. For real transformation to happen, both of those mindsets have to change.

To be in the driver’s seat, the CIO must first be heard in the boardroom, proactively advocating IT-driven business transformation. In addition, the IT organisation needs to change focus from traditional, operational, project-based thinking to innovative, cross-organisational business growth initiatives where technology is central.

In 2015, the transformational CIO will be working to put more focus on innovation. That means sponsoring initiatives that assess the gaps between the current and desired state, and plotting incremental steps toward improvements that don’t disrupt the whole IT organisation. External advisory partners are really helpful in this area, where the challenge isn’t purely the capabilities of the technology, but people and processes as well.

Resolution 2: Drive the journey to the cloud

Nearly every organisation is at some stage of exploring cloud services, especially in terms of enabling innovative new business initiatives to fly―or fail―quickly. Cloud-enabled IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) should be the natural domain of the CIO and IT, based on their years of experience putting technologies such as security, integration and connectivity at the centre of their strategies. Cloud strategies should be no different.

But this past year, our team has seen multiple examples of organisations lurching toward using so-called “open” or “free” cloud-based services, rather than having a well-thought-out strategy with an execution plan for robust, secure, cloud-based services to support the business as part of a wider technology capability, delivered or brokered through the IT organisation.

As the CIO, make a resolution to create and own the “travel plan” for your organisation’s journey to ITaaS through the cloud. This is a journey that can involve a number of potential potholes along the way – and like all successful journeys, it requires a well-thought-out plan, informed by experience, expertise and appropriate risk management.

An important part of preparing for the journey involves encouraging closer working relationships between the operations and development teams. In a recent VMware Europe CIO event in Barcelona, Spain, IT leaders agreed upon the importance of bringing these teams closer together to build more collaborative ways of working to deliver better outcomes for the business.

Resolution 3: Protect the business with proactive security investments

Today, almost every user in your organisation has one or more mobile devices, which they use—or would like to use—to access business-critical information and applications. The process of closing the gap between IT’s capabilities and end-users’ expectations creates serious cyber security implications that warrant the full attention of the business.

This has typically been regarded as the domain of risk managers, and has not been seen as central to business success. However, the speed of change in technology and the blurring of lines between external and internal IT requires the insight and leadership of the CIO and their technology experts and security teams to address it.

As CIO, resolve to convince the business that cyber security is a business-critical topic and one that merits proactive investment. My team and I have had many conversations on this topic with CIOs and IT leaders in EMEA this year. Elan Yanovsky, ex-CIO of Israel Post, and now part of the EMEA Accelerate Advisory Team, shares this view:

“Though much has been said and written regarding cyber security, this is still the largest threat for the CIO. Many organisations still believe this will only happen to others. Mobile, Cloud and Social push us―IT―toward interesting times but also closer to the hands of evil players. What happened to Sony recently can―and actually does on a daily basis―happen to others.   See this infographic from Business Insider on the world’s biggest data breaches.  The CIO needs to be allowed to invest more on understanding the threats, exposing the vulnerabilities, and preventing the usage of them. The technology capabilities, such a micro-segmentation in the network, which VMware offers through NSX technology, or managing mobile email through Airwatch mobile management technology, are now available. Now it’s not just an option, it is all about survival.”

In Europe, specifically, IDC predicts the passage of recent EU Data Protection Legislation will also require incremental investment in IT governance and security. The CIO has a critical role to play in guiding the business in the best ways to apply the time and money required to complete a full assessment of the organisation’s security vulnerabilities and take action to eradicate them.

These are just three ideas around goals which might help to reinforce your focus for 2015 – and whatever they are, all the best for a successful and exciting year!


Sue Holly-Rodway is VMware’s Senior Director for Advisory and Professional Services Business Development in EMEA. Sue has held this role since January 2014 and is responsible for driving the deployment of the skills and capabilities in VMware’s Advisory and Professional Services teams.

Managing Your Brand: Communications and Marketing for Today’s IT

By Alex Salicrup

Let’s talk about the subject in which every IT department lacks expertise — and that is how to effectively market your capabilities and communicate value. And readers may think I am exaggerating on my next statement: IT departments around the world are ubiquitous in that their consumers usually have a less than favorable opinion of them.

Of course, we know that this perception is not true in all cases. However, in my experience, IT does not do a good job at managing consumer perceptions. And in the IT service provider world, managing these perceptions is critical. Unlike yesteryear, IT service providers now have to compete with public cloud providers that manage their brand very well and educate prospects on how their capabilities map to consumer needs.

During my time at VMware, I’ve had the pleasure of working with industry-leading global entities. Many of their IT organizations claim that their consumers are not taking advantage of using external providers, only to find out that they actually are — and in a big way. Others have accepted the fact that competition exists, and that they must address it.

Many IT organizations have concluded that they must manage consumer perception of their capabilities and offerings. In other words, they are trying to figure out how to sell their brand and services internally. Most have no idea how to achieve that. That’s where I come in.

IT communications and marketing is not just building out an IT education campaign.  It’s making a significant change in how IT strategizes and changes its internal culture to think and act like a hungry service provider. IT begins looking at a service as though it were a puzzle, with consumer needs as pieces of the puzzle.

Let me share a few areas to consider as you begin to develop your communications and marketing strategy. I concentrate on eight areas when assembling a marketing and communications plan:

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Interpret consumer perceptions
  3. Define your brand
  4. Identify the catalyst for change
  5. Create your vision
  6. Who, how, and what to communicate
  7. Managing organizational change
  8. Brand perception metrics

Understanding Your Audience
In every organization there are three main levels of strategic and tactical execution, as shown below:Salicrup-Comms Mktg graphicExecution is different at each of the three levels. Individuals within each level listen to and address solutions based on their domain of responsibility, and they understand solutions only from the point of view of addressing the needs of their level. This in turn needs to be addressed with the appropriate message for each level.

Interpreting Customer Perceptions
Marketing campaigns are designed to create perceptions (we’re better than those other guys). Consumer perceptions are always our reality. Understanding consumer perceptions help us identify how to manage them, and, how to package a solution.

The problem with negative consumer perceptions about your IT organization or the service you provide is that those perceptions are hard to change. So how do you communicate to your consumers that your people and services are the best solution for their unique needs?

Defining Your Brand
Brand is synonymous to reputation but also aspiration. However, a positive brand, as with reputation, takes time to build and is easily tarnished. Service providers have a good awareness of their brand perception with their consumers. This allows the provider to shape a consistent message, improve credibility, and enhance its brand through advertising its goals and achievements.

Identifying the Catalyst for Change
Change is not easy. There are two groups within any business that have to experience change. The group most impacted is the IT group. They are transitioning from traditional IT delivery to a service provider model. Therefore the hardest task — the part takes the longest — will be converting the IT personnel. Identifying why change is necessary and “what’s in it for you” can motivate your staff to follow your vision.

Creating a  Strong Vision
The critical aspect of a successful service communication strategy is the clear articulation of the vision.

Your vision must:

  • Be strategically feasible
  • Be effective
  • Incorporate the current position of the enterprise and catalyst(s) of change
  • Be ambitious
  • Be evidently accomplishable

Managing Organizational Change
No one is really happy about change. Turning your organization from traditional IT or project-based consumption to a service-based consumption model will incur role and cultural changes. The former is easier than the latter, and it needs strong leadership to guide it there. Furthermore, IT is changing the way that the business deals with IT. This is why organizational change management is so important. It is not just a operating change, it’s a massive behavioral change that people need to be guided through. If this is done crudely it will impact the brand severely and cast doubt about IT’s capabilities.

Effective communications are key — it’s very important that IT staff understand the unified message. They should become active ambassadors of the IT brand and the services the team provides. Communication, in this sense, refers to the art of persuasion. Crafting a message that is persuasive is a learned skill and essential if a perception is to be changed successfully.

In order to be persuasive, the IT team really needs to learn how their consumers think, and, predict what consumer reaction will be to events and solutions. People who are good at persuasion develop a keen sense of what solutions work and how messages need to be successfully crafted. This is paramount for any emerging service provider. Communication is about knowing what influences decisions at the three levels illustrated in the figures above. Therefore, different messages need to be crafted to persuade the different levels.

However, one of the highest risks a service provider has is individuals within IT not believing in the solution, the need for it, or how it’s being delivered. These individuals that are skeptical pose a threat of creating doubt within the consumers of the solution and its merits or capabilities.

A critical and difficult aspect of change for the IT staff is the understanding, adaptation, and dissemination of the vision and how they choose to communicate it. It is essential that leaders understand the dynamics of their teams, customers, and stakeholders. Understanding how to communicate and use your team to promote your brand and vision is important to your success. (Stay tuned for a future post, where I will talk more about individual motives and capabilities and how they can be mapped to three distinctive groups…)

Measuring Success — Brand Perceptions Metrics
It is imperative that an IT organization gauges how its consumers feel about the services they’re consuming from the service provider. The IT team needs to put in place metrics that capture performance against the needs of the customer and set realistic targets on what is to be measured.

This does not have to be complex — a simple 5-question survey is a great way to start. If the response is mainly positive, the IT team can include that message to its consumers to reinforce the positive perceptions. If the response highlights challenges, it’s a great way for the IT team to focus energy on fixing them — a catalyst for change.

In conclusion, I have covered steps and actions in this post that are fairly simple — perhaps perceived as common sense. However, IT traditionally does not have these communication and marketing skillsets. And, the IT organization has not needed them before the advent of public cloud — but they are needed now.

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Alex Salicrup is a transformation strategist with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California.

Why the “3 Cs” Are Vital to IT When Deploying a Private Cloud

By Joe Chenevey

JChenevey_1Last year, a colleague and I worked with an enterprise IT organization to develop a private cloud strategy. As with many other enterprise IT organizations we’ve worked with, this organization was faced with customers demanding IT infrastructure faster than traditional methods were allowing and increasingly looking outside internal IT. The organization wanted to provide its internal customer base with a viable alternative to creating workloads in the public cloud (where IT has both less visibility and control).

After spending months planning, developing, and testing a private cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offering, the IT team met their objective of reducing time to provision and overall request fulfillment times by well over 50 percent. A great achievement for their first release. During a follow-up meeting with our client earlier this year, we learned that after putting the service into production, the IT team fully expected requests for IaaS to coming flooding in from their user base. After all how many times have we all heard, “If you build it, they shall come…” presumed when it comes to private cloud? Unfortunately for our client, it didn’t happen that way.

Cloud Transformation Success InfographicHere’s why: our client overlooked a seemingly low-impact but in fact very important step of our guidance —Internal Sales & Marketing — #6 in a recent interactive infographic — describing seven key pieces of cloud transformation.

This particular enterprise IT organization neglected to engage its internal customers regularly to create awareness of what problems their IT organization had solved, details of the overall IaaS solution that would interest customers, and the benefits to the internal customer base.  Often my clients don’t fully realize that without repeated communications to their prospective user base, it will be difficult to generate the demand necessary to achieve the inherent benefits that come with the utility or scale of a cloud model.

If you want your internal customer base to use your new private cloud and also demonstrate the value your IT organization can provide with that model, remember the 3 Cs:

  1. Communicate (Before): Before you start addressing the architecture and design of a private cloud solution, your strategy should include developing a communication plan.  Your communication plan addresses when, where, how, and how often you will communicate to your potential user base, but it also provides an early description of the new private cloud services, new capabilities, customer benefits, and release timelines. This communication plan serves as the basis for your internal sales and marketing efforts.
  2. Communicate (During): As you go through the service development process, you must continue to promote—market—the services to your potential user base in order to keep up interest and potential demand. I also advise you to identify potential early adopters to help develop and refine the service during development. Early adopter buy-in also generates good word of mouth and demonstrates your new service-oriented approach to delivering IT.
  3. Communicate (After): After you’ve tested and piloted your new private cloud service and are ready to release it into production, support the launch with an internal publicity campaign to create broad awareness of its availability to your prospective user base. I recommend using every means possible including: town halls, webcasts, email, enterprise social networks, and even information booths/kiosks in key locations.  And, provide information on how to request the service, and develop training for your users on how to engage. If you followed the first two Cs, this last C will be icing on the cake.

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Joe Chenevey is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in Oklahoma. You can follow him on Twitter @VIJoe_Chenevey.

Successful Cloud Transformation Must Go Beyond Technology

By Michael Hubbard

Cloud technology has matured in recent years, offering cost optimization, security, and quality of service for the full range of enterprise requirements, not just tactical needs. Yet many businesses have adopted cloud services in an ad hoc fashion with IT organizations tending to focus on the part of a cloud transformation that comes naturally to them—the technology. IT leaders shouldn’t forget that success equally depends on transforming how IT operates, factoring in people resources, processes, financial management, governance, service delivery, and communication, along with other areas, as highlighted by this new interactive infographic.

Michael Hubbard is the Vice President of Enterprise Services, VMware North America,
and is based in Chicago.

 

Cloud Transformation and Its Impact on IT Service Delivery

By Franck Besnard

I believe that 2013 was the inflection point for private cloud adoption within large enterprises embarking on their journey to cloud computing. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure estimates that approximately two thirds of x86 workloads are on virtualized infrastructure.[1] We’ve now entered the post-x86 virtualization era, with large enterprises such as SAP—with 80 percent of its global infrastructure virtualized—touting the benefits of virtualizing business critical applications.[2]

Last October, I participated in VMware’s CIO Event Europe in Barcelona, and many of the senior IT leaders attending acknowledged that now is the time to embrace private cloud and reap the associated benefits.  In addition to taking advantage of lower costs, improved operational efficiency, and increased business agility that cloud computing brings, IT now has the opportunity to provide real business value through innovation that can drive growth and directly impact the bottom line.

Yet these same IT leaders also understand that it’s not simply a technology or architecture play, but a true transformation that will occur over multiple years, impacting people and processes within their IT organization. One participant asked me how he could reduce TCO by an additional 50 percent if his data centers were already 80 percent virtualized, and my answer was straightforward: “By changing your IT operating model.

A private cloud infrastructure solution allows IT to achieve cloud service provider economics in the data center by leveraging a software-defined data center architecture. This architectural approach delivers virtualized infrastructure services (compute, network, security, and availability) with built-in intelligence that provides benefits allowing IT to:

  • Automate through software-defined environments, especially networking
  • Streamline complex business critical application deployments
  • Orchestrate IT service management processes
  • Standardize IT systems deployed on the infrastructure
  • Deliver true self-service and chargeback to lines of business
  • Provide predictive analytics on business usage

The dynamic environment of a private cloud presents challenges to IT operations that have been established for static data center architectures, but it also represents a major opportunity. Changing the operating model for the way in which IT delivers services will provide significant savings, and it will also require an investment in people and processes—for example, the training costs of developing new skills, or the change management involved as a result of moving to a model of automation.

To achieve the benefits of operational efficiencies gained from cloud computing, existing IT processes must be streamlined and new ones implemented while your IT organization is transitioning to become much more proactive. In my experience, most large enterprises will take at least three to five years to realize the full transformative benefits of cloud computing.

Keep in mind that the IT evolution is a journey. The way that successful CIOs leverage virtualization to transform the IT organization to become more service-oriented will be a combination of innovative technology and adapting to a new way of operating that’s focused on delivering business value.

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Franck Besnard is a business solutions architect with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services based in France. Follow him on Twitter @besn0847



[1] Source: Gartner “Magic Quadrant for x86 Server Virtualization Infrastructure” by Thomas J. Bittman, George J. Weiss, Mark A. Margevicius, Philip Dawson, June 27,  2013

[2] Solution brief: “Virtualize Your SAP® Environment, A Joint Solution Offering from SAP and VMware to Increase IT Agility and Minimize  Virtualization Risk

 

4 Tips to Make Your IT Transformation a Success

By Gene Likins

Accelerate consultants are fortunate to work with a wide variety of IT organizations. Our clients vary by industry, global footprint, size, and competitive landscape. But one common theme among IT leaders has been that true IT transformation involves much more than just updating the technology. In fact, technology consistently ranks low for the challenges IT executives brace for as they push their organizations to modernize and shift toward ITaaS.

With ITaaS, the expectations and ground rules for IT are rapidly changing from “internal shared service” to “quality services at a competitive price.”  As IT, our customers are no longer captive; they can easily work directly with public clouds and SaaS vendors. This conjures up a new meaning to “rogue IT.”

With any trend or shift in an industry, there are always those companies that lead through innovation and/or necessity. Based on our experience with these ITaaS leaders, here are a few recurring themes worth considering for your IT transformation.

  1. Set up a governance structure
    This structure should empower service managers to prioritize and fund end-to-end services, rather than point projects. For example, an end-to-end IT service might focus on quarterly budgeting and planning. This is made up of infrastructure, ERP, BI, and dashboards. Strategically minimize IT point projects that are simply limited to deploying one particular technology or application.
  2. Deploy services incrementally
    Avoid the “big bang” approach to launching services—agility is the name of the game now. Two potential options are to quickly deploy a couple of simple services across a large number of businesses, thus maximizing the footprint of the impact. Another option is to focus many services on a single business unit to showcase deeper impact. Either way, the incremental approach will enable iterations, which will enable IT to monitor and refine the outcome.
  3. Avoid wholesale org changes
    First gain a sense for the services and service level agreements (SLAs) you will offer. Develop the IT operating model to deliver IaaS then ITaaS with a private cloud. Then use the operating model to gradually build a new organizational structure. There has been much discussion about cloud centers of excellence (COEs). One weakness I’ve observed with COEs has been accountability. An alternative may be to form a small greenfield team to start. This team could then generate some quick wins and slowly grow to eventually envelope the existing IT model over time.
  4. Market IT services –   Never forget, that as a services business, you must always market and promote your services. Put in the effort and invest in communication and marketing plans to ensure customers are seeing the value, and that you are advertising the successes right back to your customers. Being IT no longer gives you an excuse not to market yourself.

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Gene Likins leads the VMware Accelerate Advisory Services practice for North America and is based in Atlanta.

Cloud, End-User Strategies Guard Against Data Breaches

Author: Alex Salicrup

The Fifth Estate hits theaters October 18, and with it a reminder of the corporate and government secrets exposed when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange obtained breached classified data and released it to the world.

Assange and WikiLeaks, as we know, gained access to classified documents through US Army Private Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst who was recently sentenced for espionage. In addition to this breach, there was Edward Snowden, the contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who outed the organization’s telecommunications monitoring programs.  — See related by Richard Rees on the VMware Consulting blog: The Snowden Leak: A Windfall for Hybrid Cloud?

In the 80s and 90s the spy scandals centered on individuals passing secrets to enemies of the state, like Aldrich Ames and Richard Hanssen, government employees who sold sensitive information to Russia for big bucks.

These days data breaches are more likely to be driven by a cause than cash. Widely described as hacktivism, breaches and malware attacks are made against corporations—not just governments—often by organizations that see themselves as the arbiters of online justice (like Anonymous). Two-thirds of all data breaches last year were made by installing malware on corporate systems. Almost all breaches were made from external sources.

Since its breach, the NSA, which already had plans to build a private cloud, has accelerated its implementation, largely because it sees automation as a key to eliminating the need for contractors like Snowden. In my experience, this is a good start, but only when it is followed by security policies focused on data classification rather than per application or system.

One of the advantages I see to software-defined networking is that it allows better visibility into where data, platforms, and infrastructure reside as part of the larger virtual infrastructure. The closer to a software-defined data center a corporation gets, the more control and visibility it has over its data security.

I was recently part of a deployment where the client designed innovative ways to classify and secure data, making it harder to breach, easier to monitor, and mostly automated. That’s a scalable solution that delivers enhanced security of precious data.

End-user computing (EUC) is another area where the right strategy needs to safeguard data accessible from devices that can potentially be accessed by someone besides the intended user. In my experience, if a company does not employ a comprehensive EUC solution, staff members will eventually bypass data security policies in order to have access data on their mobile devices.

Organizations will do well to start an internal assessment of how well-positioned they are to manage their data securely in the age of hactivism. Are there opportunities to enhance data security using virtual infrastructure and software-defined networking? Which is more cost effective and efficient? How much would a breach potentially cost? Is your organization capable of managing the infrastructure needed to support virtualization and EUC initiatives?

Let’s face it: No one expects to have their data breached. And yet, the majority of US corporations are victims to it every year. Why risk being one of them?

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Alex Salicrup is a business solutions architect for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services.

 

IT, It’s Time to Change Your Relationship with Change

Author: Reid Engstrom

Many IT organizations are reluctant to drive virtualization to high levels in their compute environment, while casting a speculative eye toward the software-defined data center (SDDC), which expands virtualization to include networking, storage, and management platforms. This reticence is hardly surprising since these advances require changing the data center environment, and change has always introduced the possibility of a technical fault widespread enough to affect business operations.

Though IT continues to build stronger change management systems and to test environments to mitigate risk, the IT organization in general is still reluctant to consider major or rapid change.

That may have to change as cloud providers put increasing pressure on IT organizations. Whereas IT formerly had a monopoly on services for lines of business, they now have to compete with public cloud services, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), that include fast provisioning, known costs, and a higher level of end-user control.  Plus, these services are not controlled or limited by restrictive IT processes.

This competitive landscape is forcing IT to rethink its resistance to change. There is a growing sense of urgency for the IT organization to become more agile, more transparent on service costs, and more collaborative with business stakeholders.

The software-defined data center extends the virtualization concepts you know—abstraction, pooling, and automation—to all data center resources and services. In conjunction with a sophisticated virtualized and automated environment, the SDDC also provides usage cost transparency that will keep your IT organization well ahead of the third-party service providers nipping at its heels.

Watch this short video to learn more about the results that Columbia Sportswear IT has achieved with a VMware software-defined data center.

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Reid Engstrom is a VMware Accelerate Advisory Services strategist emeritus.

VMware AccelerateTM Advisory Services can help you and your key stakeholders understand the IT-as-a-Service value proposition—our consultants quantify the potential benefits, develop architectural designs, recommend organizational and process changes, create a migration plan and advise during implementation. Visit our Web site to learn more about our offerings, or reach out to us today at: accelerate@vmware.com for more information.

Would you like to continue this conversation with your C-level executive peers? Join our exclusive CxO Corner Facebook page for access to hundreds of verified CxOs sharing ideas around IT Transformation right now by going to CxO Corner and clicking “ask to join group.”

VMware Cloud Compass Tool (powered by Alinean)

Author: Thomas Pisello, Alinean CEO and founder

It can be a challenge knowing which cloud solution is best for your particular workloads and business requirements: a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid solution?

To help you determine the best option, VMware worked with the business value experts at Alinean to create the VMware Cloud Compass Tool.

The VMware Cloud Compass Tool factors your unique workloads, budget goals, risk tolerance and desired business outcomes to provide a customized 3rd party recommendation as to the best cloud option for your unique requirements. The tool factors the most important elements to help guide your cloud decision, all in less than 10 minutes to complete.

Starting with a few simple questions about your company and workload requirements, the tool then provides:

  • A comparison of total cost of ownership (TCO) for various compute options, differentiating the costs for on-premise with public and private cloud options, tallying differences in CapEx, OpEx and business benefits.
  • An assessment of your Risk Tolerance, analyzing the importance of Availability, Governance and Compliance, Security and Privacy and Business Relationship Management in your selection of the right cloud platform.
  • An assessment of Results Expectations, determining how important Accessibility, Business Responsiveness, Scalability and Cost & Accounting is to the cloud decision.

Based on the workloads, TCO, risk and results assessments the tool delivers an online summary of the recommendation results; with an overview of the right cloud recommendation based on your unique factors and requirements.

For a more detailed view, a complimentary customized white paper can be downloaded and shared with your team, personalized for your specific workloads, budget, risk tolerance, desired business outcomes, and most importantly, cloud recommendations.

For a quick introduction to the VMware Cloud Compass, watch the short video below with VMware Accelerate Advisory Services Benchmark Practice lead Craig Stanley, and you can read Craig’s recent blog, The 3 Rules for Making Confident IT Decisions, for a deep dive on VMware’s risk analysis methodology.

Access the VMware Cloud Compass to determine the best cloud solution for your workload and business requirements.

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Craig Stanley is the Benchmarking Practice Lead for VMware Accelerate Advisory Services. You can follow him @benchmarkguru and Thomas Pisello @tpisello on Twitter.

If you’re at VMworld San Francisco today, stop by the VMware Accelerate Advisory Services demo booth in the Solution Exchange, and meet Craig in person!