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Securing the Cloud

September 28, 2011 • TECHNOLOGY

By Gareth Williams

Any cloud that relies on the public Internet for its connection is exposing its data to unnecessary risk. CIO’s and CTO’s are right to be cautious when faced with highly unpredictable access through the Internet. What is the alternative?

 

Clouds of confusion

It’s easy to forget from the constant barrage of marketing messages and hype that heralded the arrival of cloud computing that we’re still in the early days of enterprise adoption. Given the wave of enthusiasm that carried the cloud message to all corners of the IT world, it’s also not surprising that there is a still great deal of confusion regarding what cloud computing actually is.  What is broadly accepted though, is that cloud computing has the ability to fundamentally change an organisation’s IT for the better.  The cloud effectively frees the enterprise from its responsibility for directly managing large parts of its IT infrastructure. Instead, it allows businesses to benefit from increased efficiencies and flexibility by moving IT infrastructure into a shared resource, managed by a trusted third party that is the ‘cloud’.

Adding to this confusion is the variety of services available from cloud computing.  The most commonly talked about is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), where business applications like desktop productivity, accounting, collaboration and enterprise resource planning are delivered to the user’s desktop on demand (think streamed video rather than physical DVD).  At the other end of the cloud is Infrastructure-as-as-Service (IaaS), which enables organisations to purchase processing, operating systems, storage and networking on a utility basis.



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