Guest Column | November 2, 2015

What Cloud Resellers Need To Know About Security Vulnerabilities

By Samina Subedar, Senior Channel Marketing Manager, Connected Data

New research has shown just how easy it is for hackers to get their hands on cloud data. So-called “man-in-the-cloud” attacks can steal cloud-based files without a password in a way that’s nearly undetectable, while infecting systems with malware. That means no matter what public cloud system your customers use — whether Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or OneDrive — all files and valuable data stored on these systems are vulnerable to security breaches.

This new vulnerability is pushing cloud value-added resellers (VARs) and their customers to a crossroads. Let’s explore what opportunities this situation presents to cloud resellers, and how they can best help their clients overcome the inherent challenges.

Public Vs. Private Debate

When most people think of the cloud, they think of the public cloud, where an organization’s data gets uploaded and stored in a provider’s cloud storage. But while perhaps less well known than public cloud solutions, many of which have become household names, International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that spending on private cloud infrastructure will balloon 16 percent in 2015 over the previous year — the same rate that’s predicted for the public cloud infrastructure. So cloud VARs would be wise to stay up to speed in both developing markets.

Companies needing the agility to support modern productivity for employees might initially think they prefer a public cloud solution, if they don’t have restrictions on where the files are located. Public cloud solutions offer flexibility to users and many file management benefits, including easy access and sharing of data. But as is evident from the increasing prevalence of man-in-the-cloud attacks, there are some downsides to the public cloud, particularly in the area of security. Industry analysts caution users of public cloud systems in several areas relating to privacy and security. For example, one leading analyst notes Dropbox’s enhanced security features are not available natively, and that the solution lacks certifications including HIPAA and FISMA.

Private cloud solutions offer some clear advantages over public solutions for VARs and their customers, particularly in the area of data privacy and security. Since security issues top the list of concerns for IT leaders across many industries, channel partners can add value by finding ways to ensure that their customers’ data is as secure as possible. Private cloud solutions take care of this, helping your customers achieve their security goals through a privately owned cloud device that guarantees businesses total control over access to and the location of their data to ensure its security and privacy.

Private cloud solutions safeguard data within your customers’ own firewall, and also eliminate cloud subscription fees. The appliances are privately owned, so your customers have 100 percent total ownership and control over their data for a one-off fee. Because the architecture deploys the enterprise file sync and share platform within a private data center, cloud resellers can help their clients ensure privacy and security by directing them to a private cloud solution.

Private solutions also rely on an appliance approach rather than a software approach, which makes them easier to deploy and integrate into existing infrastructures. Such solutions can effectively complement a company’s existing storage and security assets without replacing them, which means as a reseller, you can still sell more storage into these accounts. Another benefit for resellers is that private cloud solutions avoid the lengthy, complex sales cycles that plague some public cloud solutions.

Saving Money, Adding Value

There are additional reasons that VARs might consider private cloud solutions for their clients. Price drops are becoming standard in the public cloud market, since so many players from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Google and Microsoft are competing for a piece of the public cloud pie. Earlier this year, for example, Google slashed prices up to 30 percent across the board for its cloud platform, which means certain services are going for around $0.01 per core hour. Price cuts like this make it harder and harder for channel partners to turn a profit when reselling public cloud solutions to their clients. Not so with private cloud solutions, which still allow resellers to benefit from healthy margins.

Private cloud solutions also give cloud resellers a chance to differentiate and add value, helping their customers solve the problems inherent in public cloud solutions. Your clients need to outpace their competitors in getting to the cloud as quickly as possible, saving money in the process. Public cloud moves can take five years or longer to complete.  It is a highly complicated and oftentimes underestimated process — which has given birth to new firms that specialize specifically in this area. Channel partners who introduce their customers to a private cloud appliance can help speed their cloud migrations, saving them time, headaches and a great deal of money.

In short, private cloud appliances deliver the same file management benefits as the public cloud, allowing users to share, edit, and have read-only rights — but they avoid the data protection limitations and privacy concerns of public cloud solutions. The resulting solution is more secure, private, cost-effective, and higher performing than public cloud-based file-sharing services. What does this mean for you?  You deliver a winning solution that enhances your trusted advisor status, while significantly boosting your bottom line.