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Networking Unplugged

Perspectives on cloud networking and software-defined WANs

Posted November 01, 2012
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When The Sky Unleashes Its Fury, Clouds Can Provide IT Relief

We were all reminded once again this week of the devastation that can occur when the sky unleashes its fury. While my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Sandy, today's blog post is about the ramifications of natural disasters on small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and the role the cloud can play in helping to keep businesses up and running.

When it comes to natural disasters, SMBs are in the dichotomous position of being the most vulnerable and the least prepared. Most vulnerable because their enterprises tend to be more regionally concentrated with offices, plants, warehouses, call centers, and datacenters in relatively close proximity. Least prepared, not because they don't value disaster recovery and business continuity planning, but because implementing and maintaining DR/BC plans can be exceedingly expensive, time intensive, and requires specialized experience.

During disasters, IT teams become first responders tasked with trying to keep the business operational. They often have to deal with a wide range of issues, including keeping back-up power running, physically relocating servers, and grappling with an entire workforce that suddenly needs secure remote access. For many organizations, cloud services can offer IT teams relief in terms of prevention and rapid recovery of  infrastructure outages.

Many of today's trusted cloud service providers offer resilient, geographically diverse computing services that are ideal for mission-critical application and file servers. For on-premise servers, their automate instance and image provisioning makes it possible to stage servers in advance or rapidly migrate them when disaster hits. This perspective is shared by Greg Bailey, director and cloud computing lead at Deloitte Consulting LLP , who recently authored an article on how Hurricane Sandy builds a case for more government agencies to migrate to the cloud  (See http://fcw.com/articles/2012/10/31/sandy-cloud.aspx).

Pertino's cloud-based, wide-area network service overlays multiple compute systems within cloud service providers and across multiple geographies to deliver always-on access to company networks from anywhere. As such, Pertino solves the vexing challenge of providing temporarily displaced employees, who might be stranded at home, hotels, airports, and with relatives, with secure access to the IT resources they need to keep the business running.

Because the Pertino cloud network requires no hardware and makes onboarding employees as simple as friending someone on Facebook, connectivity can be instantly expanded from a handful of everyday mobile workers to an entire company in a matter of minutes. All an employee needs is Internet access – such as a public WIFI or 3G/4G connection – and within a few clicks they are on the company network from anywhere. Since the tedious process of installing and using a traditional VPN client is eliminated, end user calls to an already swamped IT team are alleviated.

One thing is for sure; the sky will open-up and wreak havoc again in the future. The next time it does, SMB IT organizations can look to the cloud to find instant relief for their IT disruptions.

Todd Krautkremer

Todd Krautkremer

SVP, Strategy and Strategic Partnerships

Pertino is my 5th start-up since "doing time" at AT&T and Siemens. I thrive on building new market opportunities and speak networking, security, cloud, XaaS, mobile, Big Data, carriers, and чуть-чу́ть Russian.

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