Conviction collaborations: Who's afraid of the big, bad cloud?

When it comes to offering your customers what they want, I’m a big believer in accepting that sometimes somebody else might offer them something that you can’t. Technology vendors shouldn’t try to be something they aren’t.

So why not team up with another specialist technology solution that does offer what your customer wants? It seems like a no-brainer to me and cloud computing makes it easy.

That’s why I think ‘conviction collaborations’ are the future. No longer will customers have to search for one technology that does everything and inevitably fails to do much of it well. SaaS technologies, combined with private or published APIs, allow customers to choose the best technology fit for their business and seamlessly integrate them, without the need for extortionate professional services.

Its clear that the old days of managing Windows-based PCs and servers are over. Cloud services and the mobility, scalability and flexibility they offer are now starting to appeal to small, medium and large businesses. So vendors, like my company, need to respond and fast. We need to enable our customers to bring in the best in class solutions easily and at an affordable cost. We should not be creating needless barriers or anti-competitive walls. We need to be flexible and open to collaboration or integration.

A clear direction

Technology vendors need to decide what services they are offering and what they need to do to make themselves indispensable to their customers. Software providers need to grow, evolve and converge to ensure they’re ready for the coming tidal wave of mobile, cloud, social and Big Data realities. That’s certainly what my team and I are doing. We recognise that managing and monitoring devices, ensuring performance and protecting those devices are on-going challenges for our customers, and the more distributed the environment, the greater the challenge.

That’s why we knew we needed to extend our security provision to ensure that we offer enterprise-grade endpoint security to our customers. By enterprise-grade I mean knowing where your assets reside, actively managing their current state and the associated risk, and being able to act immediately should the need arise.

Our on-boarding team spend many hours helping customers integrate CentraStage into their operating procedures. They estimate - and our statistics confirm - that over a third of servers and workstations are missing critical security patches. Not only that, well over 20 per cent lack an active anti-virus solution. That’s why I believe our strategic partnership with Panda Security is a big step forward in enabling our customers to remain ahead of the game. Being able to discover, audit and monitor your IT estate is critical to head off security vulnerabilities, but adding a discreet but effective anti-virus solution lowers your exposure to threats and improves – or eliminates – your response.

RMM platforms have become the ‘glue’ that help tie cloud based services together and can give you full visibility of your estate. With that in mind it’s important to select an RMM platform that promotes open standards and interoperability rather than one that works with one set of providers only. I believe our partnership with Panda is the best approach for our customers; we provide them with a cloud-based enterprise-grade security product without compromising our core business proposition – simple, scalable and affordable. It also protects our flexibility to work with multiple vendors while at the same time providing a great solution for those who don’t yet have end point security deployed, or are considering switching providers.

Ian van Reenen is the CTO and co-founder of CentraStage, the IT management-from-the-cloud provider.