If you know me, you know I believe in the value of hands-on training and the lessons learned from actually working directly with different technologies. It’s at the core of everything we are doing here, at Cloud Harmonics. It’s why we have invested heavily in trainers who have decades of real-world experience and taken the time to build out our proprietary, virtual education platform, Orchestra. These investments have given our partners and their end-user customers the opportunity to quickly see for themselves what next-generation technologies can really do, which helps accelerate adoption and bring the benefits of new, advanced capabilities into their businesses.

I know the belief in experiential training is nothing new – Julius Caesar back in 52 B.C. has been credited with coining the proverb “Experience is the teacher of all things.” Truer words were never spoken. You may take away some information when you hear how someone else solved a problem, but when you actually solve a problem yourself, you take away a real understanding and new skills. You learn how to think critically, improvise, identify interdependencies, understand relationships, and innovate as you work through an issue and develop a solution.

New experiences create new connections.

Research around brain plasticity, a.k.a. neuroplasticity, describes how new experiences help us reorganize pathways, create new connections and even create new neurons within the brain. As we get older, the creation slows down, as our cumulative experiences strengthen some connections and eliminate others. So, we need to be proactive. Particularly, when it comes to the use of new technology.

It is not unusual, and actually very understandable, to gravitate towards an “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” mentality. With so much on the plate of our understaffed, overworked IT departments, it’s easy to see why there is a hesitancy to deploy something new that could end up disrupting what is currently in place. Unfortunately, the pace that cybersecurity and cloud technologies are changing can make doing nothing (or doing something very slowly) a very dangerous approach to take.

Virtual Sandboxes offer a safe place to play and learn in a real-world environment.

Inertia and complacency are the enemies of security, so we need to push ourselves to not only be open to change, but actively look for it. This is where virtual sandboxes can come in to play. A virtual sandbox creates a safe, isolated environment that can be used to give us experience with new technologies. vSandboxes replicate real-world operating systems and production networks, so you can deploy and play with new technologies to see how they actually work. You can quickly and easily:

  • Run a proof of concept (POC) to see exactly what does and doesn’t work in a customer’s specific environment.
  • Try different configurations to identify the impact small changes may have on the environment.
  • Introduce different technology integrations to understand how they interact with one another and the environment at large.
  • Experiment with different feature sets – try new capabilities to see what they do.
  • Sandboxes are one of the most underutilized sales tools.

    In today’s world, where everything is immediate, I think the experiential learning that virtual sandboxes provide offers one of the best, and most underutilized, tools we have in our arsenal. So, why aren’t they being used more regularly? Time and resources are probably the most obvious reasons.

    It can be extremely expensive and time consuming to architect, build and maintain a realistic production network that is completely isolated to create a safe experimental environment. As a result, it’s often a drain, and not realistic, for value added resellers or end-user customers to build out one-off vSandboxes themselves.

    We’ve seen technology vendors do it, but the environment they create is often skewed to showcase their own solutions in the best light. This doesn’t actually provide the end-user the experience and understanding they are looking for – they still don’t really know how the solutions will enhance or affect their own environment.

    It’s all about creating realistic production environments.

    This is why we, at Cloud Harmonics, stepped in and built out our vSandbox program. We have the broad market visibility and real-world experience needed to create realistic production environments that partners and end-customers can use to see how the latest technologies will work. We operate at a scale that makes sense, allowing us to offer these environments to our partners at little to no cost to them.

    The benefits are immense. Partners and end-users get to see for themselves exactly what new capabilities will bring to their environment. They get to experience what its like to use these new solutions, so there are no surprises, no gotchas when they actually deploy them. They get to confidently move their cybersecurity forward and quickly and efficiently strengthen their stance, at little risk to them. It’s a win-win, which is always the best kind of offering.

    To see what kind of vSandboxes we have available or to schedule time to play around in one, please visit www.cloudharmonics.com/vsandbox/ or contact sales@cloudharmonics.com. Or you can download our vSandbox data sheet from our resources page by clicking here.