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Does your cloud strategy FLOAT, or is it just FOG?

March 15, 2012 / Tim Allen Over the past four years, I’ve been involved with more than 2,500 companies as they evaluated cloud-based technology solutions. My experiences have taught me some valuable lessons about what it takes to implement a successful cloud strategy, and there are a few that stand out above the rest. Last week, I sat down to think about what those attributes are, and I ended up with what I am now going to call FLOAT, an acronym for financial viability, love, on-time, alignment, and technical fit.I’d like to take you through each one of these elements so that you can apply them as you evaluate your cloud solution. If it hits all five of these points, well, then it will FLOAT. If not, it’s time to reconsider your cloud strategy.Here are the five key organizational requirements that will help business leaders determine if their cloud strategy will FLOAT, or get lost in the fog.1. Financial viability. Before spending any amount of time considering a cloud-based solution, stop and make sure you understand the financial ramifications of the endeavor. Does the cloud-based solution align with the financial goals of your business?Every business should have a formal process (established in a written document) that is used to determine the financial feasibility of implementing any new technology. If this document does not exist, company stakeholders must agree at the onset which measurement strategy is best suited to determine how well a cloud-based model will fit in with the current business model of purchasing, implementing, and managing technology.Whether it is ROI (return on investment), TCO (total cost of ownership), NPV (net present value), LMNOP, or some other benchmark, executives must agree that the method selected will be the final word on determining the financial viability of the solution.2. Love. If everyone is on the same page with the math on the money (i.e., you’ve determined the financial viability of implementing a cloud solution), it’s time to take a more intuitive read of the situation. Never underestimate the emotional aspect of buying decisions. Does everyone love the solution? The “l-word,” though a much less objective factor than the first, is a very real force to be reckoned with.Does the solution, regardless of the delivery model, have real benefits to the business? Does it reduce costs, causing CFOs to fall head over heels? Do operators swoon over the productivity gains the solution provides? Or does it offer less tangible (but equally important) feature benefits that end users fall in love with?Look for signs, or flat out ask people how they feel about the solution, and try to establish whether they like the cloud-based delivery model more or less than premise-based. Of course, if the top dog loves the solution, the floatability factor increases dramatically.3. On-time. Timing is everything. If the time is not right to implement a new technology, don’t waste a second of your time scheduling meetings with vendors or evaluating a migration.Review all contracts and obligations related to your current technology and technology partners. Find out when the next maintenance upgrade from your existing vendors is scheduled. Understand the depreciation of all assets in the mix. And for goodness’ sake, make sure that your organization is in the mindset for change and is ready and willing to implement a cloud-based solution before you go down that path.4. Alignment. For the cloud-based strategy to float, you need to gain acceptance of the model at all levels of the organization.Some parties in the organization will be more inclined to accept the cloud than others. For example, end users likely won’t care how an application is delivered as long as it works and offers at least as much functionality as the current model.The CEO, too, is likely ready to jump on board, probably having listened to multiple sales pitches and success stories of his or her peers.CFOs love the cost savings associated with the cloud model, but don’t want to worry about the fallout of a failed technology implementation. As a result, they will need to know that the CIO or IT decision makers accept the solution before jumping on board themselves.A major key to success will be ensuring that everyone — from the top dog down through the C-suite to the end users — accepts and aligns themselves with the new cloud strategy.5. Technical fit. A cloud strategy will only be successful if it is a technical fit for the organization. Unfortunately, this determination isn’t always black or white.If the cloud-based solution you are considering is identical to your current premise-based solution in everything but delivery, most of the objections go away. In this scenario, there is no need to retrain staff, wait out the user learning curve, or figure out how the new solution will integrate with your existing systems. There is virtually no interruption to the business. The only technical issues that will need to be addressed are related to the security and availability of the solution in its new home, the cloud. If you are evaluating the right solutions, these issues should be easily resolved.If the cloud-based strategy you are considering will introduce a new application, then technical fit is largely determined by the ability of the CIO and/or IT decision-makers to maintain control. This is complicated by how attached your IT people are to the tools and technology already in place, as well as by the cost of the tools and talent needed to maintain those applications.Many times, IT pros believe their value to the organization is determined by their knowledge of the existing technical environment. They are the ones that are relied on to support a critical cog in the corporate wheel. Replacing the technology that an IT organization is known for without providing an alternative it loves could turn your cloud strategy into mere fog.Additionally, you will need to conduct a detailed engineering review of the cloud solution’s compatibility with the current environment. This should be a very transparent and objective process to determine if the cloud services under consideration make technical sense.There is most likely an opportunity somewhere in your business to take advantage of the cloud model. After all, it does provide real benefits, like saving money, simplifying administration, and preserving the environment. The key is to find an area where a cloud-based solution will FLOAT. Otherwise, it will likely turn into FOG (financially unclear; objections not overcome; going with the status quo).Categories: Channel Featured Posts
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At Evolve IP we have a dedicated compliance and security practice and work with two of the world’s top 3rd-party compliance auditors, Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young, to enable customers to extend their compliance to our fully audited cloud. This focus allows us to deliver the documentation and assurances that other’s simply cannot including HIPAA / HITRUST, PCI-DSS (all 12 sections), SOC 2/3 and more. The Compliance CloudTM includes true client isolation, encryption in transit and at rest, private VLANs, firewalls and dozens of other security measures.

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Our analyst-acclaimed solutions are built on a world-class, compliant architecture that leverages the blue-chip technologies organizations already know and trust.


We deploy best-of-breed solutions including: Disaster Recovery, Contact Center, Unified Communications, DaaS, IaaS. Our services are analyst-acclaimed, vendor-validated, client recommended and award-winning.


Evolve IP is proud to have achieved the honor of being HITRUST CSF certified! Certification to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) affirms that all of Evolve IP’s cloud computing and cloud communications services adhere to the strictest security standards for electronic protected health information (PHI). The HITRUST security standard was developed by and for the healthcare industry as a means of going above and beyond the compliance requirements of HIPAA.

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing healthcare organizations. The HITRUST CSF was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to provide an efficient and prescriptive framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA. HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. An important part of the “What is HITRUST” answer is understanding that the CSF is risk-based and compliance-based so that organizations can tailor the security control baselines and vendor management programs that they follow based on their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.


The Privacy regulations of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require health care providers, organizations, and their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI — paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Those who fail to adhere to HIPAA can suffer from huge fines climbing into the millions of dollars for major violations.

The Compliance Cloud™ fully enables covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA regulations to leverage a secure environment to process, maintain, and store protected health Information (PHI) featuring among other controls.

SSAW 16 Service Organization Control II (SOC 2)

Evolve IP has received an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II report on our internal controls relating to how we assess and address the potential risks associated with the security, availability, and confidentiality of not only the cloud-based services that we provide, but also our physical and logical infrastructure. Evolve IP utilizes the Certified Public Accounting firm of Grant Thornton to perform its annual audit and attestation in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 and the associated Trust Services Principles, as published by the AICPA, to evaluate the effectiveness of Evolve IP’s service organizations controls.


While Forbes regularly features coverage and recognition about Evolve IP, they've most recently recognized Evolve IP as being the "Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2017".  They've ranked Evolve IP in the Top 3 just behind Google and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure classification.  (Feb 2017). Forbes  also recently recognizes Evolve IP for bringing Singer Equipment Corporation, a mainstream business based in PA, into the cloud by means of unified communication. (Sept  2017). Last year, Forbes recognized Evolve IP's survey of 1,080 executives citing that the number one reason to go to the cloud is the same reason that it is avoided. (Mar 2016).

Unified Communications Product of the Year

TMC and Internet Telephony Magazine have named Evolve IP’s unified communications platform as a 2017 Unified Communications Product of the Year Award winner. This marks the 6th time Evolve IP has been honored with this prestigious award and follows a series of product innovations that have allowed the company to rapidly expand its international coverage.

Evolve IP’s business collaboration tools and IP phone system dramatically improve employee productivity in the office and on the road with a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) platform that fully integrates voice, video, instant messaging & presence (IM&P), desktop sharing, audio/web conferencing and more. The company also provides a sophisticated Web-based management portal, OSSmosis®, that allows administrators to easily configure system functions and quickly modify users without the need to reach out to a third party for changes.


Inc. magazine has recognized Evolve IP in the 34th annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive listing of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc.

The story of this year's Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top," says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. "You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don't achieve that kind of success by accident.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Evolve IP has achieved Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance covering all 12 sections of the PCI DSS. The PCI data security standard is a comprehensive set of standards that require merchants and service providers that store, process, or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to strict information security controls and processes. It was created by the founding brands of the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes American Express, Discover Financial, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc.


Evolve IP is also a registered and participating member of the CSA Security, Trust & Assurance Registry (STAR). The CSA was formed to encourage transparency of security practices within cloud providers. It is a free, publicly accessible registry that documents the security controls provided by various cloud computing offerings, thereby helping users assess the security of cloud providers they currently use or are considering contracting with. CSA STAR is open to all cloud providers, and allows them to submit assessment reports that document compliance to CSA published best practices. The searchable registry will allow potential cloud customers to review the security practices of providers, accelerating their due diligence and leading to higher quality procurement experiences. CSA STAR represents a major leap forward in industry transparency, encouraging providers to make security capabilities a market differentiator.

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM

Evolve IP has been ranked for the second consecutive year on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America – both public and private. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of technology that has included tech companies like Google, VMware and Facebook.

Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, life sciences, and energy the companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the period from 2012 – 2016.

Red Herring

Red Herring has named Evolve IP as one of the Top 100 Companies in North America.  Red Herring’s Top 100 recognizes the leading and most promising private companies from around the world. Among the over 20 criteria used to analyze companies for the award, Evolve IP was noted for its financial performance, technological innovation, customer footprint, the DNA of its founders and addressable market.

Red Herring selects the award winners for North America from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these organizations and its editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype,, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.


Evolve IP has been recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” in Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index, a study involving a comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. Based on this study forged by Entrepreneur, Evolve IP is recognized as a company that exemplifies growth, not just in top and bottom line, but in sustainability and the ability to achieve lasting success.

According to Entrepreneur, after evaluating approximately 10,000 U.S. based firms, the team of editors and researchers behind the E360 Performance Index collected more than 250 pieces of data from the finalists, focusing on growth drivers and challenges, goal setting, resource allocations, and reward systems. The analysis uncovered a class of leading companies, including Evolve IP, whose continued success is largely based on superior value creation for their customers, building an adaptive learning culture, and aggressive geographic expansion—placing them amongst the most dynamic firms in America today.

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Evolve IP Enhances Its Microsoft Teams and Cisco Voice Direct Routing Platform
September 22, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP announced that it has integrated SMS business messaging and voice recording with AI speech analytics into its Microsoft Teams direct routing platform.
Evolve IP Integrates Business Messaging Into Microsoft Teams; Enhances Microsoft’s Direct Routing Solution
September 17, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP® announced that it has launched a fully-integrated SMS / business messaging platform for its Microsoft Teams Direct Routing solution.
Evolve IP® Named For Eighth Time to the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies
August 12, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP®, the world's leading provider of Work Anywhere™ solutions, today announced that it has been named to the Inc. 5000 for the 8th time since 2012.
Evolve IP Delivers World’s Only Omnichannel Contact Center Integrated with Microsoft Teams and Virtual Workspaces
August 5, 2020 / Evolve IP
Evolve IP®, the world's leading provider of Work Anywhere™ solutions; today announced that it has integrated the omnichannel Evolve Contact Suite with Microsoft Teams and the company's virtual Workspaces...
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