OPINION

A Private Room in the Cloud

The word “terminal,” before the computer revolution, had several meanings, one of which described it as either end of a carrier line containing facilities for freight and passengers. Nowadays, in the computer age, it can mean the end point of a carrier line containing data “floating” in a cloud and saved for many users and uses.

Specifically, in the case of V-Rooms, it means the secure cloud-location used as a warehouse of private portals.

Safe Storage in Clouds

So many individuals and businesses are now looking to cloud computing in order to store valuable data off-site. This gives those storing such data in clouds the security and peace of mind of having their precious “cargo” — data — stored in an offsite location and not having to worry about a force of nature, sometimes referred to in legal terms as a “force majeure.”

Many companies, such as HP, provide cloud computing for their customers. Users are relieved of the responsibility to provide a redundant on-site infrastructure in order to ensure that, in the event of some sort of calamity, their proprietary and confidential data is safely backed up. So many of us remember, in fact, that not too long ago a company had to back up each day’s data on floppy disks or cumbersome reels. That task, fortunately, is no longer required, thanks to cloud computing, among other things.

Using the Cloud as a Safe Storage Site for Portals

V-Rooms is one of the companies specializing in a more “active” type of data storage — the actual storage of companies’ various portals in a secure location (the cloud).

The portals are, and remain, the private, proprietary repositories of a company. In that fashion, a corporation can “send” its portal to the cloud and securely and privately use it behind the firewall that the cloud creates.

Portals that V-Rooms has to offer are varied:

  • Legal Portals: Sharing litigation information with outside counsel, experts, etc.
  • Client Portals: Keeping clients informed about project status
  • Board Portals: Providing collaboration between board of director members
  • Investor Portals: Informing investors of financial status under new transparency rules
  • Vendor Portals: Communicating with vendors and suppliers on a global basis

Legal Portals

When a law firm has a very involved litigation case, it might want to share its files with outside counsel, experts in the field, and even certain government agencies. The law firm, of course, wants to be totally assured that the data is not only secure, but is also shared only with specifically identified individuals or entities.

Having such a portal means that the law firm can constantly update its files and share certain of the files, or all of the files, with certain specified outsiders. The outsiders, assuming that they have been given access by the law firm, can even edit and annotate the file. The file then can become a work in progress being contributed to by several expert sources.

Client Portals

Much of what I stated above can be said about client portals. Clients can be kept informed about what is going on with a particular project and can even update the document through file-sharing.

Thus, using the cloud as a repository of portals can enable companies to post their project status on their secure cloud portal, then invite clients to collaborate with them to ensure that the data is not only accurate, but it is also up-to-date.

Board Portals

I have written about board portals in the past for the E-Commerce Times. The beauty of a board portal is that it can create a working and evolving board book. In the past, boards on which I’ve served would overnight a board book to its directors. And since board books have notoriously been delivered to board members at the last minute in order to make them up-to-date, we would be expected to quickly digest the book.

Nowadays, electronic board books are kept constantly up to date. However, with a cloud portal, the corporation no longer has to be concerned about the safety of the electronic board book. The board book is stored off-site in a secured portal that is contained within a cloud.

The same type of collaboration as can be had with client portals is also available on a cloud-based board portal. Access can be given to certain persons in order to make the board book a collaborative effort. In fact, certain board committees can be given sole authority to view and update the minutes and activities of their committees. Therefore, we not only have a board portal that permits file-sharing and collaboration, but we also have a portal that is stored off-site in a cloud.

Investor Portals

Sarbanes-Oxley, the corporate regulatory law that came about as a result of the Enron scandal, now imposes strict transparency rules upon corporations. For companies anxious to comply with these rules, having a cloud portal that is updated with the latest financial data goes a long way toward addressing the transparency challenge.

Qualified viewers, investors, regulators and analysts merely have to go to the cloud portal to obtain the latest financial information on the corporation in which they have an interest.

Vendor Portals

When there is a need to communicate with vendors and suppliers who are located all over the world, an electronic portal is ideal. Actually, an electronic and secure cloud portal is even more ideal.

Vendors and suppliers can now be apprised of the latest specification updates for a particular product or service. They can now be assured that the products and/or services that they are supplying a company will meet the company’s exacting and ever-changing requirements.

So when your company is feeling insecure about its data storage, it now merely has to look to the clouds.

Good luck!

Theodore F. di Stefano

Theodore F. di Stefano is a founder and managing partner at Capital Source Partners, which provides a wide range of investment banking services to the small and medium-sized business. He is also a frequent speaker to business groups on financial and corporate governance matters. He can be contacted at Ted@capitalsourcepartners.com. Follow Theodore F. di Stefano on Twitter.

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