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SNAPSHOT2021 Jul 21, 2021

AWS: "90% of what we build is driven by what customers tell us matters"

Jana Wuyts

Every day, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is used by millions of customers to deliver reliable, secure, scalable and cost-efficient cloud computing solutions. We spoke to Phil Soane, senior Channel Business Development at Amazon Web Services, and Raf De Backer, Director Professional Services at Rank 1, partner of AWS in Belgium.

Q: Why are enterprises moving to the AWS cloud?

Phil Soane: There are five reasons companies are moving to the AWS cloud. The first is agility. AWS lets customers quickly spin up resources as they need them, deploying hundreds or even thousands of servers in minutes. This means customers can quickly develop and roll out new applications. Teams can experiment and innovate more quickly and frequently. If an experiment fails, you can always de-provision those resources without risk.

The second reason is cost savings. If you look at how people end up moving to the cloud, almost always the conversation starter ends up being cost. AWS allows customers to trade capital expense for variable expense, and only pay for IT as they consume it. The variable expense is low because of AWS’s economies of scale.

The third reason is elasticity. Customers used to overprovision to ensure they had enough capacity to handle their business operations at the peak level of activity. Now, they can provision the amount of resources that they actually need, knowing they can instantly scale up or down along with the needs of their business. This reduces cost and improves the customer’s ability to meet user’s demands.

The fourth reason is that the cloud allows customers to innovate faster. They can focus their IT resources on developing applications that differentiate their business and transform customer experiences instead of managing infrastructure and data centers.

The fifth reason: AWS enables customers to deploy globally in minutes. AWS clusters data centers in regions around the world. Customers can leverage 77 zones across 24 geographic regions worldwide. And, we don’t plan to stop there.

AWS is customer-focused and long-term oriented. 90% of what we build is driven by what customers tell us matters. The other 10% are things we try to read between the lines and invent on their behalf. We’re trying to build relationships and a business that lasts longer than all of us, and you do that by doing right by customers over a long period of time.

Raf De Backer: Their broad portfolio is an advantage AWS has over its competitors. I often hear developers say: 'On AWS, I’d have finished this in minutes!' AWS makes inventive, creative solutions possible and that’s exactly what makes the difference for many companies. AWS is flexible and versatile, so it’s perfect for companies who want to keep an open view of the future - both big and small companies. One of our most recent customers is a Ghent restaurant that as a result of coronavirus wanted to digitise its menus with a QR code. With AWS, we managed to get that done over 70% faster.


Q: Is AWS secure?

Soane: AWS has been architected to be the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available today. Our core infrastructure is built to satisfy the security requirements for military, global banks and other high-sensitivity organizations. AWS uses the same secure hardware and software to build and operate each of our regions. All customers benefit from the only commercial cloud that has had its service offerings and associated supply chain vetted and accepted as secure enough for top secret workloads. This is backed by a deep set of cloud security tools, with more than 230 security, compliance, and governance services and key features.

We have a shared responsibility model with the customer. AWS manages and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities in which the services operate. AWS customers are responsible for building secure applications. We provide a wide variety of best practices documents, encryption tools, and other guidance our customers can leverage in delivering application-level security measures. AWS partners, such as Rank 1, offer hundreds of tools and features to help customers meet their security objectives, ranging from network security, configuration management, access control, and data encryption.

AWS’s scale allows significantly more investment in security policing and countermeasures than almost any large company could afford themselves. We’ve achieved a number of internationally recognized certifications and accreditations.

De Backer: Our role as a service partner is to help Belgian companies navigate a sea of possibilities. Let’s say you want to migrate your IT to the cloud. How do you go about this? And who will do what? Imagine the cloud as a building with lots of windows. AWS is responsible for the security of the building, but you are still responsible for what you put into the building. You have to choose the correct type of windows, with the right layer of security. Attackers may try to enter through the windows, especially if you haven’t chosen the correct protection. Software solutions like those provided by Sophos help you identify this, while Rank 1 helps you install and monitor the whole.

Phil soane

Q: What is the AWS Marketplace?

Soane: We have built a curated digital software catalogue with over 8,000 products that enable customers to benefit from both software agility and ensure governance. This empowers customers to unlock innovation by accessing the tools to tailor software discovery, procurement, and provisioning to the needs of multiple teams across their organization. Rank 1 is an AWS Marketplace consulting partner, which means they have the ability to resell ISV solutions and deliver customized pricing, duration, end-user license terms across a number of key security products.

De Backer: AWS Marketplace is attractive to developers who like to add extensive integrations. Software suppliers have optimised their products for use on AWS. As a result, you can make use of the native properties of AWS quickly without having to set this up from scratch.

Through a cloud security assessment, Rank 1 helps customers identify what exactly they need in terms of security, specifically for their business. Contact Rank 1 at https://www.rank1.be/


This article first appeared in Gumption Snapshot Magazine.

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