The Cloud and Cradlepoint

This is the third and final part in a series about how the cloud impacts business:

The Cloud and Cradlepoint

There's a lot of "cloud" talk around Cradlepoint these days. That's probably true for most businesses (there are many reasons why businesses are looking to the cloud for solutions). But our position is kind of unique.

Like many businesses, 1) we're learning how best to use the cloud. Unlike most other business, we also 2) connect you to the cloud and 3) offer cloud management for our devices.

1) We're Learning How to Use the Cloud

We're an Internet connectivity solutions company, so yeah, we understand networking – and therefore the cloud – like few others in the world. But we're still learning.

Newton's First Law (sort of): People stick to what they're comfortable with … unless there's a really good reason to change.

We use a few major cloud services as a company (e.g. Salesforce and Marketo) and many more at the department and individual level (e.g. Smartsheet and Evernote). But when I take a step back and think about it, there are still plenty of examples of Cradlepoint employees processing and exchanging information rooted in local software that could should be cloud-based.

Spreadsheets are a classic example. We often use project spreadsheets built with collaboration in mind: lots of people are contributing to a project, so all of them need to be able to view the project spreadsheet, and it would make sense if they could edit it as well. This is a perfect example of how a cloud service could benefit a business: it just makes sense to have an editable, collaborative spreadsheet living in the cloud. At Cradlepoint, it's a mix of spreadsheets on local software and the more efficient cloud solutions.

It's certainly not easy to navigate the rapidly changing world of cloud services. Some of these new products are all shiny and glittery … but don't actually make things more efficient. Others logically would make things more efficient, but aren't well-crafted enough yet. With so many popping up so quickly, it makes sense that people default to what they know. 

But there are some great ones out there that really do make business processes dramatically more efficient. We all have an enormous challenge in front of us of filtering through the myriad options and finding the most helpful cloud products.

(Spoiler Alert: We're confident that Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager is one of the most helpful cloud products available.)

2) We Connect You to the Cloud

The more applications you move to the cloud, the more dependent you are on your Internet connection. Downtime is not an option.

What we do – better than anyone else worldwide – is enable secure 4G for your business. That might mean:

4G routers from Cradlepoint provide flexibility so that companies can access the cloud reliably in lots of environments where wired Internet just isn't the right fit – at least not by itself. Sometimes Ethernet + 4G is the perfect combination (see: failover and load balancing). And sometimes 4G (with failover to 3G) is all you need.

3) We Offer Cloud Management

Suppose you have Cradlepoint routers in a few different locations (e.g. branch offices, retail stores, M2M sites, buses, construction sites). Then suppose you might someday want to, you know, manage those routers (e.g. view data usage, upgrade firmware, enable a new feature, make a configuration change).

So, which of the following would make more sense?

  1. Travel around to each of those routers and manage them one-by-one
  2. Manage all of the routers from the cloud

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p>Think of it like this:

cradlepoint_cloud_comparison

I think the difference is obvious and profound.

We just launched Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager, our next generation network management system. It's a significant step up from WiPipe Central, although many customers – including some very, very big ones (that I'm not allowed to name) – were already using WiPipe Central to successfully manage thousands of devices all over the world.

NetCloud Manager (NCM) is faster, more intuitive, and more powerful, with real-time updates and a robust API. We took the lessons we learned from WiPipe Central and created a much better product, so you can be confident that NCM is ready for critical enterprise needs.

cradlepoint_ncm_cloud_graphic

So, like you, we're wrestling with how best to move our processes into the cloud, which is an incredibly complex process. We also connect you to the cloud with 3G/4G routers, adding WAN diversity to wired networks or enabling Internet where wires won't go. Finally, we offer cloud management for our routers.

(That last one – that's one you won't have to wrestle with. It just makes too much sense.)