Welcome!

@DevOpsSummit Authors: XebiaLabs Blog, Elizabeth White, AppNeta Blog, Stackify Blog, Carl J. Levine

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, @ThingsExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

What Cloud Startups Need to Know About Hunting Elephants

Large companies have several sets of requirements for solution providers that differ from smaller companies

"Cloud computing" is more than just a buzzword - it has transformed the tech industry. Having been in the business of building enterprise infrastructure for over 15 years, I've had the opportunity to witness how cloud has altered the landscape, including most recently at my company, Nexgate. It has not only ushered in a radical wave of innovation, but has also created new business models. The easily accessible and inexpensive nature of its on-demand structure has both paved the way for the rapid launch of new technologies and enabled the growth of businesses.

Yet, as with any technology, it also has its limits and risks, especially for cloud startups. If not configured well, cloud doesn't necessarily fit hand-in-hand with the needs of large enterprises. While the benefits of gaining a big customer are certainly obvious, the demands of doing so are not talked about nearly as frequently, despite that both are important. Hunting elephants is a dangerous game if you're a mouse.

Large companies have several sets of requirements for solution providers that differ from smaller companies, which aren't as concerned about security and scalability. Whereas the size of smaller companies doesn't require a focus on mitigating the risk of a high profile security breach or managing complex systems on a mass scale, for larger companies, these concerns are very real. Hence, it's not enough to just have a great product to engage on an enterprise level - large companies have dedicated security teams and requirements that you as a vendor need to work with to close the deal.

Having a disaster recovery plan in place is one of the first steps to becoming enterprise ready. Any sizeable organization is going to want assurance that in the event of a crisis, any lapse in the service you provide is going to be as brief and as painless as possible. And, furthermore, that enterprise is going to want proof to back up that assurance. That proof is called a disaster recovery plan. A disaster recovery plan specifies how your company intends to mitigate the risk of an incident resulting in downtime, as well as the processes in place for remediating and recovering from one. Given organizations' increasing dependency on information technology to run their operations, the more critical your product is to the day-to-day functioning of an enterprise, the more you must demonstrate this competency.

Creating and maintaining a disaster recovery plan is no simple task. Each employee should be trained in his or her role and responsibility in the event of a crisis or outage, and the plan should be documented and tested to ensure continuity of procedures and availability of essential resources in the event of a disaster. Your plan should specify easily executable and repeatable procedures for recovering and repairing any damaged IT resources and restoring them to operation as rapidly as possible. Be sure to include a summary of the critical assets and services, their recovery objectives, and recovery priorities, in addition to the contact information for disaster support agencies and a secondary data center service provider or other temporary means of providing service.

Security policy and practices are another prerequisite for navigating a large corporate environment. Without demonstrating the security of your product, you've effectively lost your seat at the table with enterprise companies. In today's tech-saturated world, an information security breach, hack, or hijack can cost thousands of dollars - not to mention inestimable damage to brands and consumer trust. This means an even greater burden of proof lies on vendors (and their cloud providers) as far as security is concerned to prevent such an event from happening. For example, if you're storing data on behalf of customers, are they encrypted in your database? Do you have strong access policies? Are your employees trained and certified when it comes to securing both corporate and personal accounts? If you're a web-based app, do you use a web app firewall (WAP)? Do you have IP and firewall restrictions in place from a cloud security service like Dome9? And what level of security does your cloud provider (e.g., Amazon Web Services) provide? The answers to these questions can help you structure your security policy and practices in alignment with enterprise needs.

To augment these policies and practices, you should also implement security review and testing. Policy and procedures are critical, but without confirmation and review of their execution, they only live in theory. For this reason, implementing internal and external reviews to ensure that your company, your employees, and your partners are all following your policy is critical. Ultimately, you should be able to show that you've created a process that's being applied day-to-day, which is sufficient enough to hold off socially engineered attacks and risks from phishing and malware, among other threats to your security. Allowing for third-party penetration testing is a great strategy to demonstrate your security capacity in this way. The more you can verify the process and results of that testing, the more you can prove to an enterprise that your product is effective and safe for use on a large scale.

Working with enterprise certainly has massive upsides, but with those benefits inherently comes a higher level of skepticism, scrutiny, and caution. Expect to have to prove that you can support sophisticated systems on a large scale, not only in terms of operation but also when it comes to appropriate processes, documentation, and security. The more you can anticipate enterprise needs and have the necessary procedures in place right out of the gate, the greater the level of confidence larger organizations will have in your company, and the better you can serve your customers.

For additional information about making your organization enterprise ready, check out these resources:

  1. Disaster Recovery Journal Sample Plans
  2. Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) Security Guidance
  3. AWS Security Center

More Stories By Rich Sutton

Rich Sutton is co-founder and CTO at Nexgate, a cloud-based social media compliance and security solution. Along with holding multiple patents, he has more than 15 years of experience in enterprise software and application development experience. Prior to working at Nexgate, Rich led a 50+ person engineering team building Websense’s web security product portfolio and also held senior management and technical positions at Symantec, 8e6 Technologies (now Trustwave), and eFunds (now Fidelity) building everything from SaaS applications to high-throughput network appliances, client security software, and mobile applications.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@DevOpsSummit Stories
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ocean9will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ocean9 provides cloud services for Backup, Disaster Recovery (DRaaS) and instant Innovation, and redefines enterprise infrastructure with its cloud native subscription offerings for mission critical SAP workloads.
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, will provide a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with Tintri's web services architecture and APIs. Impress your DevOps team with smart and autonomous infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to change lives by teaching Linux and cloud technology to the tens of thousands of students that learn at the Linux Academy.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore the ways that Nutanix technologies empower teams to react faster than ever before and connect teams in ways that were either too complex or simply impossible with traditional infrastructures.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named “Platinum Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business – from apparel to energy – is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the application economy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in San Francisco and Tel Aviv, Loom Systems works with customers across industries around the world.
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverless applications, such as the AWS Serverless Application Model (AWS SAM), Chalice, and ClaudiaJS.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly provision resources and deploy unique, mission-critical, self-designed solutions to add-onto or create any type of infrastructure as per the business requirement. HTBase is the first company to enable a true multi-cloud strategy, enabling organizations to automate movement of data and workloads between private and public clouds. This means that organizations can now move data and workloads between pub...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud computing technologies. Get certified, manage the full lifecycle of your cloud-based resources, and build your knowledge based using Cloud Academy’s expert-created content, comprehensive Learning Paths, and innovative Hands-on Labs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on quality and value.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buyers their thoughts on their experience.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Infranics will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Since 2000, Infranics has developed SysMaster Suite, which is required for the stable and efficient management of ICT infrastructure. The ICT management solution developed and provided by Infranics continues to add intelligence to the ICT infrastructure through the IMC (Infra Management Cycle) based on mathematical analysis and forecasting Big Data Analyze and Control.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional third-party data centers across Europe. Its full-service Unified ICT platform serves international enterprises and many of the world’s leading service providers, as well as governments and universities.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a single platform to drive unprecedented simplicity in the data center. Customers can start with a base infrastructure and scale to multi-site and multi-geo infrastructures with predictable economics and performance.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SD Times | BZ Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and commercial UAV markets.
Building custom add-ons does not need to be limited to the ideas you see on a marketplace. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sukhbir Dhillon, CEO and founder of Addteq, will go over some adventures they faced in developing integrations using Atlassian SDK and other technologies/platforms and how it has enabled development teams to experiment with newer paradigms like Serverless and newer features of Atlassian SDKs. In this presentation, you will be taken on a journey of Add-On and Integration development using popular tools.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (releases quarterly).
After more than five years of DevOps, definitions are evolving, boundaries are expanding, ‘unicorns’ are no longer rare, enterprises are on board, and pundits are moving on. Can we now look at an evolution of DevOps? Should we? Is the foundation of DevOps ‘done’, or is there still too much left to do? What is mature, and what is still missing? What does the next 5 years of DevOps look like? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by DevOps Summit Conference Chair Andi Mann, panelists looked back at what DevOps has become, and forward at what it might create next.
In their Live Hack” presentation at 17th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty and Paul Fletcher, Chief Security Evangelists at Alert Logic, provided the audience with a chance to see a live demonstration of the common tools cyber attackers use to attack cloud and traditional IT systems. This “Live Hack” used open source attack tools that are free and available for download by anybody. Attendees learned where to find and how to operate these tools for the purpose of testing their own IT infrastructure. They also witnessed a cyber-attack from both sides – attacker and defender. An inside view of how indicators of compromise are researched to develop security content to be deployed for detection based on these attacks.
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor - all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organizations must focus on what is most relevant to deliver value, reduce IT complexity, create more repeatable agile-based processes and leverage increasingly secure and stable, cloud-based infrastructure platforms.
The modern software development landscape consists of best practices and tools that allow teams to deliver software in a near-continuous manner. By adopting a culture of automation, measurement and sharing, the time to ship code has been greatly reduced, allowing for shorter release cycles and quicker feedback from customers and users. Still, with all of these tools and methods, how can teams stay on top of what is taking place across their infrastructure and codebase? Hopping between services and command line interfaces creates context-switching that slows productivity, efficiency, and may lead to early burnout.
Virtualization over the past years has become a key strategy for IT to acquire multi-tenancy, increase utilization, develop elasticity and improve security. And virtual machines (VMs) are quickly becoming a main vehicle for developing and deploying applications. The introduction of containers seems to be bringing another and perhaps overlapped solution for achieving the same above-mentioned benefits. Are a container and a virtual machine fundamentally the same or different? And how? Is one technically superior to the other? What about performance and security? Does IT need either one, or both?