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Working in an any device world

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The professional workforce today is very different from that of 13 years ago when I first moved to Silicon Valley. Back then one laptop per employee was a luxury and Dell’s devices were the choice of any tech-savvy employee. Today, an employee starting at Accellion has at least three devices – laptop, tablet and smartphone – if not more. In this world of multiple devices per employees, there are positives and negatives.

Initially, there is an expected productivity increase, but eventually employees struggle to find the apps and tools that will let them seamlessly work between these devices.   They want to edit a document from one device and then instantly access it on another device, which would allow for easy collaboration between teams, no matter where they are.

The critical infrastructure for this seamless mobile enablement access is the cloud – but the problem is which cloud? Public cloud solutions while available for almost instantaneous provisioning have data privacy and confidentiality concerns, while private cloud solutions provide complete control of data ownership and ensures compliance to various regulatory policies, they are perceived as being more difficult to setup than public cloud solutions.

A few weeks ago, I met with the CIO of a large research hospital in Canada. All of their doctors carry iPads and smartphones and they often use these devices to take notes about their patients’ conditions. These notes need to be securely stored in cloud, so that not only can the doctors could continue to work on their patient notes from a different device if needed, but so the hospital can ensure compliance for personal health related data.  They wanted a private cloud solution that is secure, which would scale to their environment, and be easy to use for their doctors.

This requirement is not unique to hospitals. I have heard similar requirements from an international helicopter company who has operations in more than 100 countries. They want to mobilize their flight plan distribution to their pilots, so that they can instantly access their flight plan from any device, regardless of wherever they are in the world. They needed a solution that can scale to their global network, as they cannot rely on a public cloud solution, which may have glitches or outages, to serve up information to a pilot waiting for his flight plan in Tanzania.

The bottom line is that when enabling your multi device workforce, it is important to address the question of public cloud vs. private cloud solution in the context of data privacy, security, scalability and ease of use.  In these two examples the sensitivity of the data made the private cloud a requirement.  The reality is that the additional work required initially to deploy a private cloud solution versus a public cloud solution is minor in relation to the ongoing data security benefits of private vs. public cloud.

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