By Vern Hanzlik
In the current business landscape – remote offices, outsourcing and globalization of operations – video has become a powerful tool for more personalized contact, particularly internal meetings and trainings. As more of the C-suite becomes interested in enterprise video, it's important to understand the technical and economic considerations of video communications. The fact is that most enterprises are not media companies and do not have direct knowledge of what it really takes to maintain and deliver their own video repositories. So how can you navigate this space? There are many options for your company on the public, private or hybrid cloud, or even a VPN (virtual private network) solution.
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If your security requirements are limited, the public cloud might be the right solution for your business. It's perfect for marketing purposes, where you're providing on-demand, external-facing video to your audience. Additionally, the public cloud can work for internal-facing content, since certain platforms can provide options to protect it even in a public-cloud environment. You even can safely enable users to upload, automatically transcode, and share their own videos, as well as provide a portal where they easily can find relevant content, assign access rights based on groups and extend the reach of your video programs to mobile device users.
The private cloud is a cloud-computing platform housed within the corporate firewall and controlled by the company's IT department. Private clouds are ideal for those who want to deliver live streaming to internal audiences and need to overcome the limitations related to concentrations of viewers on private networks. When a live event begins, all stream requests traverse the company firewall and hit the video service in the cloud. The challenge is that the return video traffic, unless managed, will go through the network firewall with a separate stream for every viewer, adversely affecting the inbound internet connection or even the entire intranet.
The hybrid cloud uses the key attributes of public and private clouds, and often provides the best solution. This allows businesses to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud, without exposing private applications and data to potential third-party vulnerabilities.
To access data behind a firewall, you might consider a VPN. This can be a good solution if your requirements include a good deal of interactivity with on-premise security systems and a high degree of security. Video storage can exist behind a corporate firewall, providing additional security for your proprietary information. The video management application also has direct access to the company user directory, simplifying authentication and single sign on.
Video in the cloud is an easily adaptable business platform that offers an immediate, low-risk and flexible solution to the complexity of rich content implementation and distribution, providing your employees and clients with a dynamic and collaborative medium. But starting in this space can be daunting, so it's important to partner with the right platform that can offer a scalable security offering – everything from password-protected content to SSL secure communication, single sign-on capabilities and usage audit trail. With the right platform in place, you can choose the cloud solution that fits your needs best, and your enterprise video system will be able to grow and change right alongside your company.
Vern Hanzlik, senior vice president and general manager of Qumu, has spent more than 20 years building and growing enterprise software and service companies. Most recently, he served as president, EMEA and member of the Board of TEAM Informatics, a global enterprise solutions and technology company. Prior to that, he co-founded Stellent, an enterprise content management software company that was acquired by Oracle in 2006 for $440 million and became the basis of Oracle's WebCenter offering.