The growing importance of data sovereignty, scrutiny of data access and control, and increasing geo-political friction is leading governments and regulated industries to closely analyse their cloud strategies and evaluate whom may have access to their data.
The VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative helps customers identify and engage with trusted national or regional cloud service providers to meet their unique sovereign cloud requirements. Today, VMware is announcing the expansion of the initiative with new partners, as well as new cloud-native developer-centric capabilities that bring more value to all VMware Cloud provider offerings.
The newest VMware Sovereign Cloud designated partners are IONOS SE, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Sopra Steria AS, and TDRA. This brings the total to 14 participants in the VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative in distinct sovereign regions covering Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and the US.
“We are pleased to welcome new partners to our Sovereign Cloud initiative and see existing partners demonstrate momentum in meeting the sovereign cloud requirements of customers around the world,” said Rajeev Bhardwaj, vice president of product management, Cloud infrastructure and business group, VMware. “New data services from Tanzu will enable all our VMware Cloud Provider partners, particularly, sovereign cloud -focused partners, to expand their data and application transformation portfolios and accelerate cloud adoption. This will allow customers to remain within sovereign regions and jurisdictional control while achieving cutting edge transformation at scale.”
Customers Worldwide Turn to Sovereign Clouds built on VMware
VMware Cloud providers offer Sovereign Cloud solutions for customers in regulated industries, such as banking and finance, healthcare, local retail and ecommerce, energy, government services, defence, intelligence, regional telecom and public sectors.
Hummingbird, an Australian IT services company providing a range of business enhancing services across government and the private sector, partnered with AUCloud as a sovereign cloud provider. “Providing digital and managed services solutions across a broad range of industries, it is imperative that we meet the constantly evolving challenges of data protection, availability and governance,” said Andrew Thomlinson-Munn, Solutions Architect, Hummingbird Solutions.
“Hummingbird Solutions choose to work with AUCloud as an IaaS provider for their strength in delivering hosting solutions on a proven platform with VMware and their ability to provide a sovereign cloud solution to conform to our customer’s internal and regulatory compliance requirements. Working with AUCloud, which is part of the VMware Sovereign Cloud initiative, provides Hummingbird with the confidence that we are backed by a best-in-class infrastructure solution, with a partner that has the skills and expertise to complement our own.”
Nimble, a leading Canadian supplier of document imaging products, services, and solutions, teamed with ThinkOn to meet the company’s cloud sovereignty requirements. “The success of any digital mailroom or document digitization solution relies heavily on the accuracy, security, and accessibility of the digitized documents,” said Daryl Stott, VP Digital Transformation, Nimble Information Strategies Inc. “Not only does that extracted data need to be highly accurate but the authority, control, and accessibility of this data must reside within Canadian Federal and Provincial boundaries to meet the data residency obligations of Nimble Information Strategies customers. Nimble partners with ThinkOn to align our data residency and security business needs with the strict data sovereignty demands and expectations of our clients.”
Geoff Smith Associates (GSA) is a leader in supplying cloud-hosted IT solutions for Information Management, Covert Systems, Criminal Justice, and Case Management. “Working extensively with the UK public sector requires GSA to operate within certain guidelines for cloud security and data privacy,” said Geoff Smith, Managing Director, Geoff Smith Associates. “GSA’s ability to deliver our SaaS offering on UKCloud’s sovereign cloud technology has helped transform information management for some of the many UK Policing customers. With GSA’s CycFreedom fully hosted cloud solution on UKCloud, we serve customers with agile, efficient, and cost-saving solutions for more secure and compliant management of their data.”
New Developer-Ready Cloud Services Powered by VMware Tanzu
With VMware, cloud providers can extend beyond basic infrastructure and platform as a service and offer managed app modernisation services for cloud-native workloads. Cloud providers can offer fully managed developer-ready clouds on the customer’s premises; hosted private clouds in partner data centers; or as a managed service on leading hyperscaler clouds. VMware is now offering VMware Tanzu Application Platform and VMware Tanzu Data Services portfolio for cloud provider partners to expand their developer-ready cloud services.
Tanzu Application Platform provides a rich set of developer tooling and a fast and simple path to production for developers to build and deploy software quickly and more securely on any compliant public cloud or on-premises Kubernetes clusters. Developers can start quickly with preconfigured templates, gain access to best-in-class tools in the application development pipeline, and create and maintain a more secure, sustainable, and reusable pathway for modern applications throughout their lifecycle. Importantly, customers can establish a clear separation between developers and operations for seamless app handoffs from development to production.
Tanzu Data Services is a portfolio of on-demand caching, messaging, and database software for development teams to use while building modern cloud-native applications. With Tanzu Data Services, which include Greenplum, SQL, Gemfire, and RabbitMQ, developers gain on-demand self-service access to these critical data services. Automated provisioning supports rapid development, testing, and continuous delivery practices for a consistent developer experience within Sovereign Clouds. Customers can bring legacy data into the cloud native model and more reliably run data services at web scale.
Data Protection and Security Offerings from Ecosystem Partners
VMware’s large technology ecosystem helps ensure that sovereign cloud providers have a wealth of solutions to augment their offerings. VMware is working within this connected ecosystem to provide new capabilities in the following areas:
Integrated Self-Service Sovereign Object Storage: Sovereign clouds require local Object Storage capabilities to meet the needs of data residency, a key pillar in sovereign clouds. Cloudian provides an integrated Object storage service that meets growing data volumes of national data and innovation in application development.
Ransomware protection, backup, and recovery: Data protection is another critical aspect of Sovereign cloud as all applications and workloads can be targets for cybercrime. Ransomware protection from Veeam and Cloudian uses immutable storage and instant workload recovery to help protect sovereign environments and critical national data from being changed or encrypted.
Key management services: Sovereign cloud environments require the highest levels of protection, with a core requirement for encryption and key management. Fortanix delivers an integrated data security platform that provides VMware Cloud providers’ customers more control over their security-sensitive workloads and simplifies partner key services with encryption, tokenisation, and secrets management. Additionally, Fortanix provides VMware Sovereign Cloud customers full control and ownership of the keys within the VMware Sovereign cloud boundary. Fortanix DSM complements this with FIPS 140-2 level 3 certified hardware security modules and key management with regional level isolation and enables full compliance with specific data privacy/transfer regulations including Shrems II and GDPR.
Through VMware Cloud Director, VMware Cloud providers can easily leverage ecosystem partners to deliver integrated services, creating a robust platform to meet many Sovereign Cloud principles.
Productivity Hacks for Remote Workers
It’s no surprise that these days, there seem to be more and more opportunities for remote work, and an increasing creation of “distributed” workplaces.
While the allure of working from home (or being able to work from “anywhere”) can be exceedingly appealing, let me be the first to tell you remote work is a lot more difficult than just casually sitting with your laptop on the beach.
When settling into remote work, there are a few different tricks you can use to be your most productive self, instead of feeling stressed, demotivated, and regretting the day you ever went “location independent.”
The Practical Aspects of Remote Work
There are a few different approaches to remote work these days. You may be a full-time employee to one company that allows you to work from home, or that doesn’t even have a specific headquarters, but instead has built an entire distributed team (think companies like Buffer). Or, perhaps you are a freelancer or contractor who may work with a number of different projects or companies where you are not required to be on location.
In any case, you may have opportunities to move around freely, or you’d rather stay put in one place. In the latter case, perhaps you choose to work from home or rent an office, or have a membership at a coworking space.
With many different options, how you do remote work is completely up to you. But there are some basic challenges that remote workers in every type of situation can feel. Staying personally motivated, reducing distractions, and being efficient in work execution are on the top.
For me at least, the key to being more productive while working remotely has been to admit when I’m struggling, and be aware of the conditions that I would like to work in, but just aren’t feasible for my productivity. Remote work solutions can be very individual depending on what motivates you, what kind of hours you like to keep, and what types of environments you thrive in.
Non-Tech Hacks for Remote Workers
Some of the best solutions for remote worker productivity have nothing to do with technology or fancy techniques. When thinking about how to be productive when working remotely, often the best thing to do is to start with the basics.
Stick to a Routine
You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s crucial for remote workers to create a routine, and stick to it. Some of us remote workers may be rebels when it comes to keeping to the ordinary, but routines aren’t boring, they’re necessary for being productive.
Without a routine, you can often waste a ton of time just figuring out what you want or need to do next. If you don’t have a schedule for your morning, like reading your emails by 9:30, checking and making your daily to-do list by 9:45, and getting started on completing your first task by 10:00, you may find yourself rounding 10:30 and all you’ve done so far is had four cups of coffee and checked facebook.
Routines create some semblance of structure, and structure is actually a really necessary component of being productive with remote work.
Create Some Variety
But sometimes too much routine or structure can stifle creativity and the execution of your best work. Monotony isn’t good for anyone’s work satisfaction, so find out how and where you work best. Variety may be sitting at your kitchen table to work for the morning hours, and then switching it up to your home office in the afternoon. Or, perhaps you find a coworking space that gives you a nice change of scenery a couple days a week.
Variety (with structure) can be good for helping you to get out of mental ruts, and can help to inspire you in some ways. Not to mention, if you are only working from home it can be at least slightly more difficult to hold yourself accountable when there is no one else there who can see you doing work, or for you to talk to and discuss ideas with. Even just getting out to a coffee shop to work from may be beneficial for your productivity levels.
Get Ready For Your Day
I’ll admit, I’ve had more than a few “Donald Duck” video meetings: I may be dressed professionally on top, with my hair done and teeth brushed, but out of the line of site of the camera, I may or may not be wearing pants. When working from home it can be so tempting to throw on the same sweatshirt you’ve been wearing for the past four days. But this can be detrimental to your productivity.
Getting up and taking a shower, getting properly dressed and ready as if you are going to the office, will get you in the right mindset for your work day. It can make you feel more awake, in a working mood, and it’s the first thing you can check off your list of accomplishments. When working remotely, you need to count every win.
Leave the House
It’s a common conundrum for remote workers: a whole day passes and you think to yourself, “have I spoken to another human today?” When working from home especially, you can sink into the bad habit of not getting out enough or interacting with others, but this can be problematic for your productivity.
Just getting out of your house, even to grab a coffee down the street, or taking a drive to the store, can be a quick and easy way to refresh your motivation and jump-start your energy. Not to mention that the benefit of remote work can be flexible, but sitting at home all day is not making the most of that benefit, no matter how much you enjoy the nonexistent commute.
Create a Hard Line between Professional Life and Private Life
When you aren’t being watched over by a manager, or there is no one really keeping tabs on the hours you keep, the problem isn’t always that you don’t work enough. The problem may be that you don’t set hard boundaries for what is work and what is personal.
In the beginning of my venture into working remotely, I found myself wanting to be eager, available, and seemingly always on top of things. What that translated to, was answering emails at all hours of the night, never really “logging off,” and finding the lines between my professional life and private life completely blurred.
But the fact is, it made me stressed all the time, and the companies I worked for didn’t really notice a difference in my work ethic. Work issues bled into my nights and weekends and free time until I felt that I was in work mode basically 24/7. And as it turns out, it killed my productivity when I needed it most.
Setting hard boundaries, and establishing the precedent to your company or customers about sticking to specific hours can be crucial for your motivation and also your sanity. Be sure to create that hard-line early on, so that you know when to be in productive time, and when you can (and should) relax.
Fill Your Time
As with procrastination, remote work has a fun way of making even small projects take up all the time you have available. The less busy you are, the less efficient you’ll actually be. When you have a lot to do, and a lot to fill your time with, that is when you’ll actually be your most productive.
Especially if you are just starting out freelancing and are still collecting projects to fill your docket, block your days for work, and then your days for doing errands or job searching, or whatever else you need to do. If you try to fill your 40 hour work week with only 20 hours of work, you’ll be slow, inefficient, and definitely not cost-effective. Try to get as much work assignments as you can, because when you can fill your time with actual work, then you will be more productive.
Tech hacks for remote workers
Remote workers would be nowhere if it wasn’t for the plethora of productivity and collaboration tools that are now available to us. While self-motivation and old school methods for productivity can create a good foundation, the tech will be your friend when working remotely.
Rely on Productivity Tools
Thankfully, productivity tools for that are beneficial for remote work are basically an industry in and of itself. There are many different options you can use for being the most productive.
Project management tools like Asana and Trello can help you stay the course when it comes to just getting things done. With these types of tools, you’ll have a good overview of what you need to complete and when, and at what stage each project is in, or if you need input from others to complete tasks.
Task management tools like Wunderlist and Todoist can be awesome for tackling to-dos, especially for visual people who like to look at a clear overview of what needs to be prioritized or if there are impending deadlines. Time trackers like Toggl and The Pomodoro Tracker can help you be more aware of the time you spend on different projects or just work in general and can help you to be better about being productive in sprints.
Limit Tech Distractions
While you should use tech to help you be more productive, sometimes those tools should work to actually limit the number of distractions you have, and what you have access to. Social media, email, RSS feeds, news notifications, personal messaging apps, and many others can cause major problems for remote workers. Use app blockers like Freedom or Self Control to ensure you can turn off the things that are not essential for getting your work done.
Collaborate as Much as You Can
While remote work lends itself to a lot of independence and autonomy, it can actually really help your productivity to collaborate with others. On one hand, working with a team that relies on you and vice versa can give you some accountability for completing tasks in a timely way. But it can also cure some of the side effects of working “alone” like basic loneliness, or mental blocks.
Collaboration tools make working with distributed teams a non-issue. In many ways, they can encourage us to be more efficient in our communication, and be very transparent in our work. Communication apps like Slack, doc sharing such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Basecamp, and video conferencing with Zoom, or GoToMeeting, make collaboration easier than ever.
Remote work can be a great experience and can allow you to have freedom, flexibility, and autonomy like you’ve never had in work before. But it can be very easy to fall down a rabbit hole of bad habits, distractions, and lack of motivation. Be honest with yourself about the kinds of environments that are best for your productivity, keep routines and structure, and use the right tools to help you stay on top of your assignments, and you’ll have no problem being successful working remotely.