As the cloud heats up and hosting service providers increasingly become the new innovators of virtual and cloud environments, they’re getting the attention of many technology providers. The growth in this space isn’t new—it’s been happening for years—but as the cloud has shifted from the latest new thing to a proven model, it’s become clearer that hosting service providers are leading the way. Over the years, many technology companies have worked with service providers… but the results have been mixed. There’s more to a successful partnership than forklifting an enterprise product into a data center environment—and as cloud capabilities become a requirement, that traditional approach is even less effective. Here at Alert Logic, success has been fueled by taking a different approach, and it’s paying off for our partners and even more importantly, for the customers who use our security solutions. To succeed in the cloud and hosting space, you have to have a cloud/hosting business model, and that starts long before it’s time to deploy your solution in a multitenant data center environment. The value proposition of IT as a service is clear, and customers of service providers get it – eliminate up-front capital investments, leverage the expertise and economies their providers offer them, and scale as needed, consuming the IT they need when they need it. But it doesn’t work if that idea stops with the managed server or a cloud instance. Customers expect the same easy-to-buy, easy-to-consume approach from everything else in their infrastructure, and it doesn’t work as an afterthought:
- Service provider revenue is based on monthly fees (and now, by-the-minute fees in the public cloud)—providers need solutions that they can pay for the same way, not additional capital investments.
- Robust APIs and easy integration into the provider environment is key. Customers turn to the provider to manage their IT infrastructure – if a solution doesn’t integrate easily, it’s hard for a provider to deliver on that. That means billing, usage tracking, support, monitoring—everything, to give the customer a seamless experience.
- Solutions must be built for easy productization in the provider environment. The hottest technology in the world isn’t useful if it’s six months before it can be deployed and ties up the provider’s operations staff.
When solution providers do this right, it means that customers get the latest technology exactly the way they want to get it, from the providers they trust. That’s why we’ve built our business to align with our provider partners: our SaaS tools are delivered from the cloud, and designed for rapid deployments in hosted and cloud environments. We’ve led the way, but other technology providers are catching on, and that’s great. We’re excited to see companies in markets such as big data/NoSQL databases, backup and disaster recovery and content management systems partner with the cloud provider channel by adopting the cloud provider business model. That’s not competition; that’s the way that great technology becomes available to cloud and hosting customers, and success for providers. The growth of the cloud means opportunity for all of us who “get it,” and we are happy to see our approach proving effective where it counts—with the customers who we protect every day.