If the first rule of security is obscurity, how protected is the cloud – both physically and virtually? The poetic image of the cloud is of some nebulous ‘other-worldly’ entity somewhere in the ether, that is somehow allowing businesses to store and access their data without impacting their own hard drive capacity – a virtual server, if you will.
Jurisdictionally, how secure is my data when it is stored in the cloud? With major cloud providers including American giants Amazon and Google, how can I be sure that media reports such as those highlighted by so-called Wikileaks’ Edward Snowdon are not going to happen to my data?
IT directors are beginning to recognise the benefits of the cloud from a straight cost benefit analysis, even though it could ultimately make their role redundant. A simple spreadsheet would identify tens of thousands of pounds worth of capital costs versus a few hundred pounds of ‘off book’ monthly payments for cloud storage, not to mention the impact on the valuation of the business and its long-term credit rating.
The UK’s top 100 CEOs almost exclusively come from a financial background where the black and white of balance sheets and cost benefit analysis drive investment decisions and the boardroom mantra is: ‘if it can wash its own face and pay its own way, it can come to the corporate party’.
When we talk about the cloud, what do we mean? Is it a generic term to mean reducing IT spend and capital costs, a measure to guarantee the security and integrity of our data, or a lot of both? It will mean different things to different pay grades, but the debate rages over whether it is, or should be, a massive data storage facility or a proactive resource that can assist utility and infrastructure issues facing UK plc?