Cloud - Ready for Prime Time?
Tim Weber from the BBC calls to light a few very interesting points in his recent article asking if the cloud is ready for enterprises to completely trust with their applications in light of the recent and well documented problems at Sony and Amazon. The problem is that the twin worries of cloud computing, security and resilience, are back, and back with a vengeance.
He outlines two views of cloud computer: the bullish "No computer is perfect, but if you look at the history of cloud computing, it's more secure and reliable than traditional on-premise computing" and the bearish "When a software upgrade at Amazon's data centre in North Virginia went wrong, many companies using the service disappeared from the face of the online world for a full four days."
In my view, as with many facets of life in general the answer lies somewhere in the middle. I do believe that cloud computing is here to stay - its benefits are simply too great to be ignored and of course, the big corporations want control over your data (but maybe that is too cynical). It is interesting to note that with both disasters (I think that is a fair word to use under the circumstances), the problems may easily have been mitigated with (that elusive) hindsight, and remember that today's hindsight is tomorrow's wisdom.
Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at internet security firm F-Secure, warns both consumers and companies that when they "move into the cloud, you get lots of benefits, but at the same time you lose control of your data... you have to blindly trust the vendor."
Consumers can help by playing it safe. When answering security questions "don't use your mother's real maiden name; don't give out your real birthday; answer with a number, or a street name or deliberately misspell."
"If you build a robust infrastructure across geographies, you can sustain an outage," he [John Engates of Rackspace] says and points to video-on-demand provider Netflix, one of the Amazon customers that dodged the outage without obvious problems.Continued on the next page