Quick Study

By Brian Robinson

Blog archive

Cloud computing and the disaster in waiting

There’s nothing like a disaster story to get the headlines whirring on just about anything else, and the fairly mundane subject of cloud computing -- all the current hype aside -- is apparently no different. Some industry watchers now warn that the IT industry’s own Deepwater Horizon event is just around the corner.

An Ars Technica writer recently spoke to various industry sages who talked about how, at some point, there will be a major breach of security or act of terrorism involving the cloud that will cause everyone in industry and government to engage in a massive rethink of the worth of the cloud.

Of course, whether the oil spill disaster in the Gulf ends up causing anything more than a momentary blip in offshore drilling is an open question, given all the money and political capital invested in the issue. Cloud computing isn’t exactly in the same league, but it’s arguable that the tipping point about the move to the cloud has already been reached, so how badly such IT-based disasters would affect that is questionable.

However, there’s no doubt that security and privacy are among the strongest of the potential show stoppers for the cloud. A recent Pew Internet survey (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/The-future-of-cloud-computing.aspx) said as much, as did an IDC survey. Those worries tend to outweigh the perceived benefits of the cloud, at least for now.

Then again, you could take the attitude that the current frenzy over cloud computing is just the result of clever marketing. According to a story in Internet Evolution, at least, cloud computing is really nothing more than a fancy term for the good old client/server link. At the end of the day, according to the author Gideon Lenkey, “you’re using a software client to access data on a server, a machine in a rack, across a network.”

Instead of worrying about the security of the cloud, he says, just focus on worrying about security, period. No matter what name you give to today’s favored IT flavor, that problem never seems to go away.

 

Posted by Brian Robinson on Jun 24, 2010 at 9:03 AM


Reader Comments

Thu, Jul 1, 2010 Cochise

I agree completely! To modify a famous Ben Franklin quote... "They that give up essential [data responsibility] to obtain a little [convenience] deserve neither [control of their data] nor [convenience]." It should be named "Big Brother Computing" as I assure you "deals" will be made regarding the disposition of any of OUR private data stored there!

Thu, Jul 1, 2010

The companies that suffer from that security breach will get get hit regardless of their use of Cloud. And if they put sensitive data in an unsecure place... shame on them. Their is still great benefit from cloud that do not require exposing sensitive information (that is until the security hurdle is solved).

Thu, Jul 1, 2010 Dr Bob Hacker Texas

This cloud scene is yet another case from our crazy IT world where so many huge technical enterprises are run by non-technical managers. The list includes GM, BP, Fed Gov, ......

Tue, Jun 29, 2010 Jack

Finally someone is thinking critically about this important issue. This should really be called "swamp computing" or something similar so people don't get psychologically wrapped around the axle.

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