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SilverSky: Empowered by the cloud

Consider this: By 2016, cloud computing will matter more to business leaders than to those in IT. According to a recent study conducted by the IBM Center for Applied Insights, cloud’s importance to business users is expected to grow to 72 percent, exceeding its importance to IT users at a mere 58 percent.


"SilverSky safeguards $525 billion in customer assets and handles more than 500 million security events every day."


So while it may not generate the same breathless excitement it once did when the technology first emerged, cloud has undoubtedly become ubiquitous. As the technology matures and lingering security concerns dissipate, even the most conservative businesses have jumped on the cloud bandwagon. According to a study released in 2013 by the IBM Institute for Business Value, 64 percent of CIOs plan to invest in cloud over the next few years.

And as cloud technology continues to mature, how companies use cloud will also continue to evolve. What was once primarily used for cutting costs is growing into so much more. Today’s companies are increasingly looking to the cloud to not only improve efficiency, but also to innovate and create.

Meeting high expectations with the cloud
One midsize company that recognized that cloud could fuel innovation is SilverSky, a provider of cloud security solutions. With over 6,000 customers worldwide, this growing technology company uses its comprehensive network and email security services to protect its clients’ critical data. SilverSky safeguards $525 billion in customer assets and handles more than 500 million security events every day.

As SilverSky’s customer base grew, the company was faced with making substantial capital investments in order to support its growing data centers and increase its international presence. What’s more, many of its larger clients expressed interest in having a dedicated email environment, a service that required a sizable and sometimes unpredictable investment from a technology company. SilverSky sought a cost-effective solution that would offer simpler, more predictable infrastructure costs.

What made SilverSky’s dilemma even more interesting is that while the primary focus was on more predictable costs, the company also required a solution that could meet its high demands for performance. Charged with protecting its customers’ most important data, the midsize company takes great pride in offering a service that meets or exceeds major federal industry standards. The solution needed to satisfy the high expectations that SilverSky had set and its customers had come to demand.

In order to simplify its business model and reduce costs, SilverSky ultimately selected SoftLayer’s infrastructure cloud platform to power its comprehensive and high-performing email and collaboration services. In just a few weeks, the company successfully transitioned to SoftLayer’s cloud platform and anticipates significant cost savings and greater flexibility as a result. Empowered by the cloud, the technology company achieved the more predictable infrastructure costs it desired and is now able to build out dedicated email environments for its clients both quickly and affordably. The company’s time to market, for example, was vastly improved from months to days. And access to SoftLayer’s worldwide data centers has given SilverSky the global footprint it needed to expand its business.

Fueling innovation
In addition to achieving its goal of saving on costs, SilverSky has used cloud to innovate and provide a greatly improved customer experience. With its newfound geographic diversity, for example, the midsize company offers a geographic redundancy that ensures a high level of email uptime and delivery assurance for its clients.

The improved customer experience also includes a newly launched disaster recovery service with an active-active failover scenario that assures email availability for SilverSky’s clients. In fact, so improved is the experience that the company boosted its service-level agreement for email availability from 99.9 percent to 99.999 percent.

As midsize companies like SilverSky evolve their cloud strategy, they will find that cloud not only comes in many shapes and sizes, but can also be used to achieve an even wider variety of goals. And therein lies the power of cloud. For all the hype around this technology, we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what cloud can do. Companies like SilverSky are successful due to their willingness to look beyond cutting costs and seek out areas where cloud can provide them with the greatest competitive differentiation. Like every great new technology before it, cloud’s legacy will come not from the dollars it saved but from the innovation it helped to deliver.

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