Verizon cloud computing services meet SaaS provider's expectations

Verizon Business won the cloud computing services contract for a digital rights management SaaS provider on the strength of its network, security and customer service, as well as the hope of plowing profits into its core business.

Modevity LLC is a textbook example of an early cloud computing services adopter. Founded in 2004, this Software as a Service company offers its global enterprise customers secure digital rights management for their content.

One of the things cloud hosting companies do is sell themselves short on discussing how they support their customers.

Tom Canova

By 2009, Modevity's founders wondered if it made sense to continue hosting and managing its own technology or put any savings going forward on the return on investment (ROI) side back into core product research and development.

Modevity decided to assess cloud computing services, and its short list had two tiers of providers to consider for its move to a virtual environment: The first consisted of large, global telecom companies that own their network facilities; the second included traditional cloud hosting companies whose primary expertise was in the data center.

During its detailed evaluation process, Modevity had two requirements at the top of its list that are important to its current and future business plans:

  1. Network capabilities and operations, an obvious cloud computing services-related issue that would help the company launch a secondary service for its customers;
  2. Customer service, which wasn't even mentioned by the majority of cloud computing services providers Modevity talked to.

In addressing both, as well as security, as part of its Computing as a Service sales process, Verizon Business won Modevity's business.

Because Modevity's customers rely on its ARALOC system to secure their digital content, the Verizon Business network, with its firewalls, security and supporting technologies, reassured Modevity customers that their content wasn't at risk, according to Modevity co-founder Tom Canova.

"We were using the strength of Verizon Business early in the relationship to carry over to our customers," Canova said.

Verizon network capabilities work for Modevity and its customers

Modevity's decision is in keeping with Forrester Research VP Ellen Daley's view that CIOs are very concerned about security as the perimeter of the enterprise continues to expand outside the company wall.

"Telecom providers have a good story to tell because their network assets and security are tightly integrated. We think those capabilities can pass the purchase test with CIOs," she said.

Making the Verizon Business choice even better, Canova said many of his customers were already Verizon and Cisco customers, so a comfort level already existed with them. The Cisco Learning Network that delivers core technology training for Cisco customers worldwide is Modevity's biggest customer, and Modevity is also an integrated Cisco WebEx partner.

"We knew we needed a world-class partner that could withstand IT scrutiny of customers like Cisco," Canova said. WebEx meeting sponsors can now use Modevity's proprietary ARALOC cross-platform digital rights management solution to secure confidential content files for WebEx meeting attendees rather than sending files in email before a meeting with no security.

Customer service as a cloud computing services selling point

Customer service isn't one of the first things that potential cloud computing services customers mention, but it was at the top of Modevity's list because its proprietary ARALOC cross-platform digital rights management solution requires 24/7 support, and the company wanted a cloud partner with the same orientation. Having a dedicated Verizon Business go-to person for any issue sealed the deal, Canova said.

But price was the key positioning point for most of the cloud computing services companies Modevity talked to, according to Canova. "The customer service component wasn't something most providers talked about, and cloud hosting companies sell themselves short by not discussing how they support their customers," he said.

Verizon cloud computing services serves secondary line of business

Modevity hosts confidential content for its digital rights management customers, which it can now host in the Verizon cloud, Canova noted. "An added benefit is that if customers want us to manage their secure content, we can do that in the same environment," he said.

Modevity's ARALOC solution uses 256-bit DES encryption and offers content management controls down to the file level. But in a move to the cloud, Modevity wanted to ensure customers felt protected. "With the additional layers of security from Verizon Business, they get multiple layers of security protection," Canova said.

Read the related commentary: The network is the platform for cloud computing services.

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