KPN, the largest infrastructure provider in the Netherlands, offers a high-performance fixed-line and mobile network in addition to enterprise-class IT infrastructure and a wide range of cloud offerings, including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Security-as-a-Service. Drawing on its extensive track record of success providing VMware Cloud Verified services and solutions, KPN is now one of a distinguished group of providers to have earned the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction.

“With the exceptionally strong, high-performance network we offer, this is truly a sovereign cloud. Government agencies, healthcare companies, and organizations with highly sensitive and confidential data can confidentially comply with industry-specific regulations such as GDPR, Government Information Security Baseline, Royal Netherlands Standardization Institute, and the Network and Information Security Directive,” said Babak Fouladi, Chief Technology & Digital Officer and Member of the Board of Management at KPN. “KPN places data and applications in a virtual private cloud that is controlled, tested, managed, and secured in the Netherlands, without third-party interference.”

KPN’s sovereign cloud, CloudNL, reflects a rapidly changing landscape in which many companies need to move data to a sovereign cloud. Reasons why include a dramatic increase in remote or hybrid work, evolving geopolitical events and threats, and fast-changing international regulations.

“The more you digitize an enterprise, the greater the variety of data and applications you must manage,” says Fouladi. “Each requires the right cloud environment based on the required security level, efficiency, and ease of use. On the one hand, this might include confidential customer information that requires extra protection, and which must remain within the nation’s boundaries. Just as importantly, the information must never be exposed to any foreign nationals at any time. On the other hand, you have workloads that are entirely appropriate for the public cloud and benefit from the economy and scale the cloud offers.”

Fouladi stresses that this is why so many organizations are embracing a multi-cloud strategy. It’s a strategy he believes is fundamentally enriched with a sovereign cloud.

Based on VMware technologies, CloudNL is designed to satisfy the highest security requirements and features stringent guarantees verified through independent audits. All data and applications are stored in KPN’s data centers within the Netherlands – all of which are operated and maintained by fully-vetted citizens of the Netherlands.

ValidSign, a KPN CloudNL customer, is a rapidly growing provider of cloud-based solutions that automate document signings. ValidSign’s CEO John Lageman notes that the company’s use of a fully sovereign cloud in Holland is particularly important for the security-minded organizations the company serves, among them notaries, law firms, and government institutions.

“The documents, permits, and contracts that we sign must remain guaranteed in the Netherlands,” says Lageman. “Digitally and legally signing and using certificates used to be very expensive. Moving to the cloud was the solution, but not with an American cloud provider – our customers would no longer be sure where the data would be stored or who could have access to it. With CloudNL they have that control.”

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons to move data to a sovereign cloud, among them an increase in remote or hybrid work, changing geopolitical events, or fast-changing international regulations. KPN CloudNL empowers enterprises to handle these challenges with ease by incorporating sovereign cloud into their multi-cloud strategy.

Learn more about KPN CloudNL here and its partnership with VMware here.

Cloud Computing

With five state-of-art data centers located in the Sydney and Canberra metropolitan areas, including a facility created to manage cloud applications and data that require PROTECTED, SECRET and higher classifications, Macquarie Government, as part of the ASX listed Macquarie Telecom Group, was one of the first companies to provide sovereign IT services to Australia’s government agencies. It’s a journey that began nearly a decade ago when it became the first Australian cloud to be certified by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD). Today, 42% of the nation’s federal agencies rely on Macquarie Government’s cloud solutions and services to address the most stringent security and sovereignty requirements.

We recently connected with Aidan Tudehope, managing director of Macquarie Government, to see what he believes is driving the demand for more sovereign cloud services and to learn what it means for the company to have earned the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction. We also took the opportunity to see what he sees as the greatest misconception about data sovereignty.

“We have been championing the importance of sovereign clouds for more than a decade,” says Tudehope. “Earning the VMware Sovereign Cloud distinction is an important validation of our message, particularly given our close partnership with VMware for so many years.”

Tudehope notes that in addition to offering a wide range of VMware Cloud Verified services, the company’s private cloud offerings, including its OFFICIAL Cloud, a robust private cloud designed for non-classified workloads, and its PROTECTED Cloud – a high-security cloud built for the Australian government in Macquarie Government’s secure gateway – are all built on VMware technologies.

“Our customers use and trust VMware,” he says. “When they use our clouds built on VMware technologies they can still use the tools they are familiar with to safely deploy workloads containing sensitive information for Australia’s government agencies and citizens into the cloud without losing sovereign control. Another benefit of being based on VMware technology is that it is far easier for agencies to migrate, deploy or extend workloads into the cloud, or alternatively to move data back-and-forth with consistent information security controls already applied. This reduces the time and effort that otherwise would be required to have their cloud deployments assessed by the Infosec Registered Assessors Program.”

In Australia, government agencies are required to host data classified as “PROTECTED” or above in a facility with the highest level of certification. It’s a requirement that also applies to all “whole of government systems” provided or used by numerous agencies. Macquarie Government was one of the first companies to be certified “strategic”, the highest level of certification, and the only company to have this certification for both it’s cloud and datacentre offerings.

Macquarie Government also created Australia’s first purpose-built cloud exchange designed specifically for federal agencies. Coupled with a security layer, it enables government agencies to implement a multi, hybrid-cloud strategy through Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and other cloud providers when appropriate.

Tudehope stresses though that data sovereignty is not just about where data resides. It also means that agencies maintain authority and control over the data at all times.

“The greatest misconception that my colleagues and I encounter is that data residency and data sovereignty are synonymous and can be used interchangeably. Data residency of course refers to where data is located. That’s important, but data sovereignty enables government not only to ensure that data remains in its jurisdiction, but that it cannot at any point be accessed by foreign contractors, support teams, or any individuals that do not possess required security clearances,” says Tudehope. “Data sovereignty is crucially important for regulatory and data security purposes.”

He points to the Australian Government Information Security Manual to convey just how important it is. The manual states, “outsourced cloud services may be located offshore and subject to lawful and covert data collection without their customers’ knowledge. Additionally, use of offshore services introduces jurisdictional risks as foreign countries’ laws could change with little warning. Finally, foreign owned suppliers operating in Australia may be subject to a foreign government’s lawful access to data belonging to their customers.”

It’s an important reality Tudehope believes can’t be stressed enough and one of the reasons Macquarie Government employs more than 200 Australian citizens with the proper security certifications, to oversee not only its cloud solutions and services, but also its many security offerings for federal agencies. These include a security operations center with threat monitoring and proactive threat hunting, and Security Incident and Event Management-as-a-Service – offerings that enable the company’s security experts to analyze more than 7 billion security events each day.

“Digital services make government more accessible and more effective, but citizens will only use them if their personal information is safeguarded with exceptional vigilance here in Australia,” says Tudehope. “That requires the right cloud, the right employees to oversee it, and robust security services to keep it all safe.”

Learn more about Macquarie Government and its partnership with VMware here.

Data and Information Security, IT Leadership

The pace of business is accelerating. Enterprises today require the robust networks and infrastructure required to effectively manage and protect an ever-increasing volume of data. They must also deliver the speed and low-latency great customer experiences require in an era marked by dramatic innovations in edge computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, unified communications, and other singular computing trends now synonymous with business success.

We recently caught up with Mike Fuhrman, Chief Product and Information Officer at Flexential, to learn how the company is helping customers gain the connectivity and cloud solutions they need and what it means to be VMware Cloud Verified. We also took the opportunity to learn what he sees as the next big transformative trends in cloud computing.

“We serve companies in numerous industries, including those in software and IT services, manufacturing, finance, insurance, retail, health care, transportation, media and Internet, and telecommunications,” says Fuhrman. “The kinds of organizations that benefit most from our unique approach are those that require a seamless and integrated solution, low-latency connectivity across North America and beyond—and access to an all-inclusive solution from a single vendor so they can offload as much or as little of the IT management burden as they want. Organizations also turn to us for access to an extensive bench of professional services and IT experts who can assist in everything from strategy and design to implementation, ongoing management and optimization regardless of how their businesses scale.” 

Flexential’s 40 state-of-the-art data centers in North America – located in metropolitan areas across the country to ensure short hops and low latency – are connected by a 100 Gbps network backbone that is easily upgradable to 400 Gbps for those customers that require ultra-high speeds. Notably, the company offers cloud solutions with built-in security and compliance to the hypervisor for the peace of mind that results when infrastructure is audit-ready at all times. Industry-leading SLAs also guarantee that applications and the data within and used by them – the very lifeblood of the enterprise – is always accessible and protected.

The company’s unified cloud platform, FlexAnywhere™, integrates colocation, cloud, edge, connectivity, data protection, and the managed and professional services to deliver a true hybrid IT approach. Flexential also offers two types of private clouds, a hosted private cloud with dedicated resources for compute, networking and storage; and Advanced Access, a hosted private cloud offering that enables enterprises to maintain control of the provider-owned VMware vCenter server. An industry-first, it allows for greater personalization in a virtual environment that performs and functions like an on-premise solution.

Flexential also provides a managed public cloud service that lets customers use AWS and Azure, through a managed, consumption-based model that ensures they only pay for the public cloud services and capacity they use. And the Flexential Cloud Fabric, a Network-as-a-Service solution, makes it easy to spin-up, configure and manage all cloud connections from a single pane of glass, an innovation that makes true multi-cloud operations a reality.

The company also offers Desktop-as-a-Service, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, managed containers, as well as managed services for networking and infrastructure, security, and compliance. Addition services address each stage of the cloud journey, from design and migration to optimization.

All of the company’s cloud offerings are based on VMware technology. This includes vSphere, HCX, vROps, NSX accessed through Flexential’s FXP portal, which is tightly integrated with VMware vCloud Director.

“Being VMware Cloud Verified is important to us because it not only allows us to demonstrate Flexential delivering best-of-class solutions to our customers today, but it also contributes to an important strategic partnership that allows us to innovate and easily deliver market-leading future enhancements to our customers going forward,” adds Fuhrman. “Being VMware Cloud Verified is also important for our customers because it gives them the confidence and assurance that our cloud solutions utilize best-in-class network, storage, and compute solutions that are future-proofed and based on industry-leading technology that will continue to leverage market-leading innovations.”

Fuhrman notes that this confidence and assurance will be crucial as enterprises embrace what he sees as the next big transformative trend in cloud computing. It’s a trend he says already has significant momentum and will be increasingly commonplace in the near-term future.

“Multi-cloud deployments that enable enterprises to capitalize on the strengths of individual clouds for specific use cases, software-defined data centers, and enhancements to virtualized networks are where we will see a dramatic increase in activity,” says Fuhrman. “And that will only increase as more organizations stretch workloads across multi-cloud environments to dramatically improve customer experiences and simultaneously lowering their overall IT costs.”

Learn more about Flexential and its partnership with VMware here.

Cloud Computing, IT Leadership

The tenth largest IT service provider in the world, Fujitsu’s more than 124,000 employees can be found on the leading edge of digital transformation in virtually every industry. These include the automotive, financial services, health care, law enforcement, manufacturing, and retail sectors. It is also found in efforts to accelerate environmental, social, and governance efforts.

We recently caught up with Antonio Medianero, director of cloud application at Fujitsu Services España S.A. to learn more about the company’s cloud services and solutions, what it means to be VMware Cloud Verified, and what he sees as the next big thing in cloud. We also took the opportunity to explore Fujitsu’s vision for hybrid IT.

“On the most basic level, as a company we have more than 80 years of experience working in various industries around the world,” says Medianero. “We design, develop, implement, manage and optimize the systems businesses of all kinds need to address their operational, application, and infrastructure needs.”

Fujitsu offers a wide range of consulting services and infrastructure and business continuity solutions. Its team of cloud specialists helps clients deliver services to their customers and achieve strong, seamless operations that reflect the power of the cloud and the innumerable technological gains it makes possible.

“Everything we provide, from rapid advice and guidance to extensive application services, robust platforms, and multi-cloud functionality, reflects the breadth and depth of our teams’ technical and business expertise,” he says. “We scale to meet demand, offer new ways of working, create the foundations for future growth, and design clouds that meet the cost, data protection, compliance, and security requirements of our customers. We believe it’s imperative for enterprises to have the freedom and flexibility to use the right cloud for every task, application, and business need.”

Fujitsu supports all major public clouds. The company’s Fujitsu Cloud is a private cloud based on VMware technology that delivers high levels of security and privacy to ensure that sensitive operations and data are protected. Fujitsu also offers Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Containers-as-a-Service, and Platform-as-a-Service in private cloud environments.

“For hybrid cloud we seamlessly combine public, private, and managed cloud infrastructures with traditional on-premises IT,” he adds. “We can do this on a modest budget to ensure that every customer’s hybrid IT integration is as cost-effective as possible. Our approach provides an intelligent architecture that seamlessly integrates into the existing environment through a management framework that can adapt and evolve as business needs change. It also offers the right mix of services for the rapid deployment of new cloud-based solutions while ensuring strict alignment with governance, compliance, privacy, and security needs – all while enabling data availability across any geography and device.”

Notably, Fujitsu’s PRIMEFLEX is an integrated system that includes pre-configured, pre-tested hybrid cloud-enabled systems – including those for VMware technologies – and all of the services needed to offer a fast path for the development of hybrid data architectures. PRIMEFLEX accelerates the entire process, including design, deployment, and maintenance. It also lets customers easily turn their on-premises infrastructure into a private cloud, introduce cloud pricing models, and connect on-premise systems to the cloud of their choice.

“Our hybrid cloud solutions and services enable growth, reduce risk, lower costs, and increase productivity,” says Medianero. “They also deliver the centralized control that is so important in a world where business units are using the cloud directly.”

Medianero stresses that being VMware Cloud Verified is an important distinction for the Fujitsu team in Spain. It also reflects a longstanding and productive partnership between both companies.

“The VMware Cloud Verified distinction is an important milestone for us because it demonstrates to those in Spain that we comply with, and achieve, the highest standards,” he says. “Fujitsu and VMware’s longstanding partnership also allows us to leverage world-class public and private cloud-based technologies to drive fast-paced continuity strategies. Whether an organization is looking for the performance, resilience, and control of the private cloud or the scale, innovation, and changeability of the public cloud, together we can offer the ideal solutions, services, and seamless integration needed to fully support those efforts and the work of employees today and tomorrow.”

Learn more about Fujitsu Spain and its partnership with VMware here or review success stories from across the globe.

Cloud Management, IT Leadership