When Craig McLellan, the CEO of ThinkOn, founded the company in 2013, he had three core principles in mind. First: All of the company\u2019s cloud computing services would be easy to understand and simple to deliver. Second: They would be transparently priced, with no hidden charges. Third: They would be secure and well supported.\n\nToday it\u2019s clear that the company, based in Etobicoke, Ontario, has delivered on McLellan\u2019s vision. A cloud services provider delivering IaaS solutions and data management services through a global channel network, ThinkOn works with more than 150 resellers; oversees and manages more than 100 petabytes of data (the exact volume cannot be disclosed); and provides the compute, network, and storage capabilities more than 1,500 organizations rely on.\n\nAmong these are the Canadian Federal Government, provincial and local agencies. The company also works with customers in highly regulated industries such as healthcare that must not only ensure their data remains in Canada, but that it complies with numerous requirements, including the sovereignty of all employees and networks.\n\nWe recently caught up with McLellan to learn why he feels it\u2019s important to offer sovereign cloud services and to achieve the VMware Cloud Verified Sovereign Cloud distinction. We also took the opportunity to get his thoughts on how he sees the market for sovereign cloud services evolving.\n\n\u201cOur tagline at ThinkOn is \u2018Where Data Thrives,\u2019 but it\u2019s more than a marketing message. It\u2019s what we aspire to every day,\u201d says McLellan. \u201cIn no area of our business is this more important than in our Canadian service delivery infrastructure. It\u2019s entirely sovereign. We don\u2019t rely on employees or organizations that reside outside of Canada to support it, and we\u2019ve taken a number of steps because of our commitment to the Canadian Federal Government to ensure enhanced reliability and security. I would say that all Canadians are being served with our sovereign cloud.\u201d\n\nThe role sovereignty plays\n\nMcLellan notes that organizations often fall for the misconception that the data they are trusting cloud providers with is managed and secured in a sovereign way; however, many hyperscale clouds rely on offshore resources for tasks even when the data remains at a domestic location. For that reason, he says, they are not sovereign.\n\n\u201cOrganizations based in Canada must adhere to the laws of Canada,\u201d he says. \u201cTrue sovereignty is important because even our closest neighbors have regulations that completely contradict the privacy and data security laws we have in place in Canada and believe are important. If you look at the U.S., for example, data is monetized in ways we consider abhorrent. So why would you put your data at risk and not rely on the laws and regulations established in our own country to protect our people and their data?\u201d\n\nVMware plays an important role in this.\n\n\u201cWe are very committed to the entire VMware stack, and as the company comes out with interesting and innovative technologies, we look for ways to complement our VMware-powered service data infrastructure,\u201d adds McLellan. \u201cVMware does not pass its designations around lightly and being VMware Cloud Verified and VMware Sovereign Cloud certified is valued by our customers.\u201d\n\nNot surprisingly, McLellan believes more organizations will look for sovereign cloud solutions as they see their data abused or even stolen. He notes that this not only includes organizations in highly regulated industries like energy, financial services, healthcare, and telecommunications, but organizations across all industries.\n\nThis extends to any businesses in which customers want to be assured that their personally identifiable data is stored and safeguarded by organizations that must comply with the most stringent, local, regional, and national data protection regulations. Notably, this includes those that utilize or process individuals\u2019 payment information such as retailers and e-commerce companies. \n\n\u201cSome people equate data as an asset to oil, but I disagree with that comparison, because if someone steals your oil, you know it,\u201d he says. \u201cAs the headlines reveal, most organizations don\u2019t know when their data was taken or compromised until it\u2019s too late. As more organizations face that reality, more will understand that if there are laws in place to protect their data, it behooves them to leverage infrastructure that aligns with them. At ThinkOn, we\u2019ve made the commitment to align our offerings with the regulatory frameworks imposed on us by the people of Canada.\u201d\n\nLearn more about ThinkOn and its partnership with VMware here.