“The question isn’t whether to be in the cloud—this is inevitable. It’s how to build the best security possible into a cloud environment. It’s important to start with the mentality that you will find a way to build in protections.”

Roger MacFarlaine , Vice President, Technology & Systems                                       at Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts

Our survey revealed important differences in the ways large, medium, and small companies view mobility.

As the chart above shows, more medium-sized companies are focusing on deploying mobile clouds through areas such as internal productivity, virtual collaboration, and fast time to value for business. Here is a look at a few other ways medium-sized firms set themselves apart in their approach to mobility:

Read more about approaches to mobile cloud deployment in our paper, “Unleashing the Cloud.”

“The increasing use of mobile technology and clouds is creating a data dispersion that leads to significant security and business integrity concerns.”

–Lincoln Wallen, Chief Technology Officer at DreamWorks Animation

From our paper on security, “Protecting the Cloud” (free download ).

From our paper, “Connecting the Cloud.” .

Business networks can significantly increase the value of cloud computing initiatives. These networks link and coordinate a virtual “extraprise” of customers and partners in a shared community. They help organizations manage business processes in a more informed way than in the past. Ultimately, they pave the way for a new wave of productivity.

Much like their social counterparts, business networks provide:

  • Cloud-based applications that allow sharing of a business process and the underlying technology infrastructure that enables that process. This shared cloud infrastructure ensures that all parties collaborate using the same information, and that they coordinate process execution on a common platform. And, because there is no hardware or software to install or maintain, parties can join in from any device, whenever and wherever required.
  • A community or network of partners through which companies can quickly discover, qualify, connect, and collaborate to share and execute a process. The most advanced business networks are truly open, enabling businesses to extend any of their existing systems to their community of partners.
  • Capabilities in the form of best practices, community-derived intelligence, and other unique features or services available to members of the community, such as unique analytics, preferred financing, or group discounts. Companies are moving beyond their traditional inside-out view of IT infrastructure and are much less focused on the features and functionality as of technology. Instead, they desire access to the people, processes, and tools that make their businesses flourish.

On the cloud integration front, organizations can achieve success through a few basic best practices:

  • Create dedicated teams to focus on cloud integration;
  • Develop a strategy and framework for cloud integration;
  • Follow best practices for cloud networking, including building vendor networks, engaging in ongoing reviews;
  • Centralize visibility and controls; and
  • Establish strong KPIs and metrics for measuring results.

In the end, an integrated cloud network results in a more flexible, agile, and cost-effective IT department. It builds a solid foundation for the digital enterprise and unleashes business and IT gains that would not have been imaginable only a few years ago.

(Wired): In the BYOD era, Mobile Device Management and Enterprise Mobility Management are strains on IT departments. Employees don’t want to be tracked, and IT departments’ time would be better spent on other tasks. More and more companies are turning to the cloud to make BYOD work.

Big Data & Cloud Technology In Formula One (Gulf Business): Huge amounts of data are generated during grand prix races and testing sessions; correlating this data allows teams to solve problems and strategize. All of their decisions are data-driven, from design and manufacturing to understanding the car’s performance during a race.

Why CIOs stick with cloud computing despite NSA snooping scandal (PC World): Recent interviews with 20 senior IT executives reveal that the recent NSA scandal has not significantly changed their approach to cloud–but what could?

Seven Cloud Computing Trends in 2014 (Forbes): 2013 has been a big year for cloud, and 2014 will see even more growth. Check out Forbes’s take on what’s ahead for cloud.

From our paper, “Protecting the Cloud.”

Where you stand on cloud security depends on where you sit. Views differ, sometimes sharply, according to the title of the respondent. For example, 52% of business-unit heads say that the biggest challenges they face from cloud computing is ensuring consistent security. CEOs see things the same way, but IT executives (39%) and executives in operations (30%) are less likely to list security as their top challenge.

Why the disconnect? IT and operations have a more granular focus on all aspects of cloud computing, which gives them a variety of things to worry about, from regulatory compliance (a major concern for operations) to avoiding silos in information and business process flows (more of an issue for IT than any other group). CEOs and business-unit heads, meanwhile, are most attuned to the high-level business risks of security problems.

This pattern continues as one looks deeper into the survey data. For example, CEOs are more focused on the financial risks of cloud adoption (70% concerned or highly concerned) than are IT executives (58%); CEOs also worry more about brand and reputation risk (62% vs. 54%), while IT is somewhat more concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of regulatory compliance than chief executives.

The lesson from these numbers is unsurprising, but bears repeating: Security in the cloud is a multi-faceted problem that presents issues across the enterprise.

Mobile Devices to Drastically Boost Online Gambling – and That’s a Bad Thing (CIO Magazine): Three states have now legalized online gambling, and another is looking into the idea. How will the ease of using mobile devices affect gambling habits, and what is the potential economic impact of this new trend?

5 Pillars Of Enterprise PaaS Strategy (Information Week):  More enterprises are embracing PaaS, but it isn’t easy to know the right way to use these systems. This five-point strategy from InformationWeek outlines the strategies companies should implement to take full advantage of PaaS.

EU lawmakers ask for help tackling copyright questions in the cloud era (PC World): The European Commission has released a survey that addresses copyright in the new digital age, asking questions about complex issues such as second-hand digital content and potential methods of imposing tariffs.

Cloud Storage in 2014: 10 Bold Predictions (eWeek): TwinStrata founder and CEO Nicos Vekiarides explains his predictions for the new year, which focus on the expansion of cloud capabilities and new responses to security concerns.

Connecting clouds and building joint business networks via cloud platforms can simplify the integration process, especially with the use of IaaS and PaaS. Yet it is critical for business and IT executives to avoid thinking of cloud tools and technologies as simple plug-and-play options, tempting though that idea may be when many services can be switched on with nothing more than a credit card. The reality is that a robust infrastructure and integration strategy is required to achieve maximum value from cloud networks, expanding their capabilities.

And these capabilities are wide-ranging, including mobile services, social media, and Big Data analytics—all of which must also be integrated. Another pressing need is for consistent data across an entire IT environment, including internal servers, virtualized systems, and cloud systems and platforms. A growing stream of unstructured data—audio, photos, video, e-mails, text messages, text files, metadata, and so on—must coexist with structured data that is slotted into conventional databases. Finally, the focus must always remain on security.

Download “Connecting the Cloud” (free, but registration required).