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Cloud provider insights: How to leverage the cloud in mobility strategy

A panel of cloud providers at Interop 2012 discuss how the cloud can help enterprises mitigate mobility, BYOD concerns.

Enterprise interest in cloud services and the rising bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend are presenting a unique opportunity for cloud providers to offer mobile cloud services to their customers.

With IT budgets stagnant or shrinking, enterprises are looking to the cloud to help accommodate these new mobile devices on their networks. A panel of vendors at Interop 2012 discussed how their companies were leveraging the cloud to fit into a modern mobile strategy for their customers.   

Mobile cloud services: a growing opportunity for cloud providers

The cloud is a perfect extension of mobility, noted Joe Weinman, senior vice president of Telx. "Mobile devices, no matter how powerful they get, will never have all the processing and storage capabilities of the cloud," he said. "Mobility and the cloud fit well together because neither is location-dependent."

Cloud providers have identified mobile cloud services as a category of cloud services that enterprises need, noted Marc Hayden, executive vice president of the Client Services Business Unit for CHR Solutions. Private and hybrid cloud environments are the most popular right now in the enterprise, and cloud providers should demonstrate the cloud's use case for mobility's unique considerations.  

"Users want the same experience everywhere they go for functionality such as music, gaming and communication, whether they are in the office, at home, or up in the air," Hayden said. Just as the cloud is being leveraged for mobility in the consumer space -- like Apple's iCloud -- the enterprise is beginning to realize its value. "You need to have those cloud applications that they enjoy in the consumer space and then move it into the enterprise and SMB space," he said.

BYOD is posing a unique challenge for IT pros and CIOs, said Vijay Kanchi, a partner in EMC's service provider cloud services practice. By the end of 2012, half of the Internet-connected devices within an enterprise will be mobile devices.

IT is seeking a way to manage devices more effectively, while being mindful of its budgets. "[The enterprise] has to find a way to deal with these devices, render access to mission-critical data through those devices, as well as maintain security and compliance," Kanchi said. "This is a challenge that cloud providers can help."

Enterprises want to make use of their existing platforms and capabilities to address mobility, and service providers can be leveraged as part of that mobile solution, he said. "We see the cloud and mobility really merging together."

More on Interop 2012:

Special conference coverage of Interop Las Vegas

Cloud providers giving enterprises data control via mobile cloud services

Enterprises are seeking ways to gain control over data that employees store in the public cloud via their mobile devices.

Network administrators are enjoying the ease of data control mobile cloud services enable, Kanchi noted. "If a device is lost or stolen -- which comes along with mobile device territory -- the cloud provider can give a system administrator the capability to quickly take down any data that may be on the device, as the cloud can allow for a separation of personal and corporate data."

The cloud can also help alleviate WAN concerns for the enterprise, as large data files sent to mobile devices can be optimized via the cloud, noted Telx's Weinman. "The application performance that the cloud allows for can help make the mobile experience much better," he said.  

The workforce is becoming increasingly mobile, and the enterprises now must plan for devices other than the desktop computer. "Cloud providers must strive to take the applications that are there today within the enterprise and create new applications that really build out a service layer which can then be rendered in all the devices coming into the enterprise network," Kanchi said. "All devices need a single connectivity point where all the security can be easily managed. [Cloud] providers can help solve this problem."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer.


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