Cloud-based Customer Relationship Management applications that are hosted on a private, public, hybrid or multi-cloud system, otherwise known as Cloud CRM, have many obvious advantages. When the data, application and related services are stored and accessed securely, especially given the dramatic shift to Work From Home (WFH) models, businesses can continue to work productively, ensuring sales, marketing, finance, legal, contact center agents and others can retrieve and interact with information from any location.
Decision makers running large enterprises have understandable apprehensions when it comes to moving their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from an on-site location to a secure cloud-based CRM. Given the sensitive nature of customer information, the red flags go up in the “C-Suite”, when company leaders imagine the damage that could be caused by cyberattacks, which have been on the rise with the global pandemic still growing around the world.
Security should be and is a primary concern for companies who are willing to transfer their CRM from on-site to a cloud-based system.
This week, two companies launched a partnership that addresses the growing need for Cloud CRM security – Ironsphere, a secure access management software and services company serving large enterprises and telecom service providers, announced Pegasystems (News - Alert) Inc., the software company empowering digital transformation at the world’s leading enterprises, has selected Ironsphere’s Privileged Access Management (PAM) software to further secure its Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) (AWS)-hosted CRM as-a-service offerings.
It is interesting to note that the two companies have initially focused on AWS, the largest cloud service provider to enterprises by far. For example, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill noted that AWS contributes about $10 billion of high margin incremental sales a year to Amazon, more than Azure and Google (News - Alert) Cloud Platform deliver combined. In addition, AWS margins are near 30% and driving operating profit for Amazon, with AWS accounting for most of Amazon's operating profit.
Pega is the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence. Its AI-powered software helps the world’s leading organizations optimize customer interactions on any channel, while ensuring their brand promises are kept. Pega’s low-code application development platform allows enterprises to quickly build and evolve apps to meet their customer and employee needs and drive digital transformation on a global scale. With many of its cloud-based solutions running on AWS, Pega needed a secure PAM solution that worked in its deployment model of Pega Cloud®. “After a rigorous evaluation process, Pega ultimately selected Ironsphere,” the announcement said.
The solution is coming at an important time. According to nearly every industry analyst firm, securing Cloud CRM is a high priority for enterprises and organizations.
For example, Forrester (News - Alert)'s Cloud Security Solutions Forecast 2018 to 2023 report estimates that by 2023 the global market for cloud security technologies will reach $12.7 billion, up from $5.6 billion in 2018, with that figure representing multiple technologies as organizations increasingly rely on specialized options for cloud security.
Pega announced last month it has been named a Leader in the Gartner (News - Alert) Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center for the 11th consecutive year. In the report, Gartner evaluated 16 CRM vendors based on their completeness of vision and ability to execute. According to the report, "Gartner defines the CEC market as the market for software applications used to provide customer service and support by engaging intelligently — both proactively and reactively — with customers by answering questions, solving problems and giving advice."
This report evaluated Pega Customer Service™, an application that helps organizations anticipate and quickly evolve to changing customer needs, connect customers to the right people and systems, and manage complexity. Part of the Pega Infinity™ digital transformation suite, Pega's AI-powered customer engagement solutions provide predictive analytics and decisioning capabilities that enable brands to glean unique insights and recommend the next-best action in real time throughout the customer journey. Contact center solutions help brands improve efficiency with omnichannel self-service options for customers, while intelligent automation capabilities route appropriate work to agents for faster resolution and optimal customer experiences.
This acknowledgement is among Pega's recent analyst recognitions for customer engagement. Most recently, Pega was named a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs report. Pega was also named a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) report, Q1 2019, and a Leader in The Forrester WaveTM: Healthcare CRM Providers, Q1 2020.
A conventional customer relationship management system or CRM system used to require a hefty and pricey software that depended on an entire IT team for the purpose of installation and maintenance of the system, and those now archaic systems, with inflexible hardware, software licenses, are being crushed by cloud-based options. So even while the buyers of these modern cloud-based systems will spend more on security, they are being relieved of the “technical debt” accrued in the past when buying on-prem gear, software and maintenance associated with legacy systems.
"As the digital transformation of enterprise systems accelerates, with more and more applications, services and data moving to the cloud, PAM is more important than ever,” said Michael Fritzlo, Executive Chairman of Ironsphere. “Increasingly secure clouds of any type - public, private, hybrid or a combination - are extremely valuable to enterprises whose success is based on trust, integrity and the protection of each customers' digital assets under management."
Due to the nature of cloud solutions, instances (virtual servers) are created or deleted within minutes based on demand, which means that technology infrastructure is much more dynamic than on-prem infrastructure, and requires an agile approach to managing and restricting privileged users, including admins, DevOps, and IT support.
“At Pega, we work with many of the world’s largest and most complex organizations, and it is our priority to continue delivering secure solutions for our clients,” said Frank Guerrera, Chief Technical Systems Officer, Pegasystems. “Ironsphere’s architecture and scalability delivers a high security standard while enabling continuous, fast, and lower cost operations, so our clients can continue to feel confident in the security of their cloud services.”
Ironsphere’s Cloud-PAM supports integration with AWS Inventory (Device and Tag Management APIs) so that created/deleted instances are auto-discovered, and privileges are auto-assigned or removed. Admins are presented a unified inventory list based on their roles and are always able to connect to instances smoothly (without knowing the instance credentials) while all sessions are silently recorded for security and regulatory compliance.
“We are extremely proud to support Pega in their continued growth in the enterprise cloud services market,” said Michael Fritzlo, Executive Chairman, Ironsphere. “As a leader in cloud-based PAM, made possible by our advanced software-defined platform and solutions, Ironsphere has invested in cloud-native solutions, unlike competitors who are struggling to retrofit expensive, legacy technologies into a cloud-first world. We recognized this opportunity early, and acted upon it by investing in greenfield PAM. Our architectural and investment decisions supported Pega’s adoption for AWS-hosted services, and by the choice of Ironsphere by some of the largest communications service providers, banks and other industries who rely on secure, real time applications.”
“Ours is a security solution which enables our customers to maintain continuous operations without sacrificing security practices,” Fritzlo continued. “And ours is a solution that can be implemented in days or weeks, not months or even years, which is light years ahead of the first generations of PAM.”
Juhi Fadia is an engineer, analyst, researcher and writer covering advanced and emerging technologies.
Edited by Maurice Nagle