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Cloud Computing: Potential Risks Associated with Embracing the Public Cloud

Posted by Blog Administrator

Thu, Apr 22, 2010

Author: Sean Gilbride, Director of Professional Services Operations

Cloud computing is one of the hottest topics in the IT industry today and for good reason; it is fundamentally changing the way that many companies think about delivering information technology to their client base. Two of the main promises behind the adoption of cloud computing are the ability to increase responsiveness and reduce costs. This is an attractive proposition because, let's face it, these two things are tough to achieve simultaneously in IT. Couple these benefits with the desire to provide a more flexible and scalable infrastructure and it is easy to see why cloud computing is making an impact.

While there are many strategic advantages, there are also risks associated with embracing the cloud. There have been a number of recent articles which discuss some of these risks, ranging from management of data in the public cloud to locality and security of data. While many of us are embracing the cloud on one level or another (e.g., it is more important than ever to exercise caution when moving business applications outside of the datacenter and into the cloud.

I've been doing a lot of reading about this topic, and thought I'd share some of the more interesting items I've come across. Below is an excerpt from a recent article and link to a recent study targeted at IT professionals which provides insights into the impact these issues have had on the perception of the cloud. As with any disruptive technology there will always be growing pains and they are certain to continue while the vision of the cloud and how it can impact your business evolves. I'll post more articles in an upcoming post.

Survey: Cloud computing risks outweigh reward
Though cloud computing is often touted as a cost-saver for companies, IT pros still have lingering doubts about the safety and security of working in the cloud.

Around 45 percent of 1,800 IT professionals recently surveyed by the ISACA (formerly known as the Information Systems Audit and Control Association) said the risks involved in cloud computing outshine any benefits. Only 10 percent plan to use cloud computing for mission-critical IT services, 15 percent will use it only for low-risk services, and 26 percent don't expect to tap into the cloud at all.

Yale ITS delays switch to Gmail
Information Technology Services at Yale recently decided to postpone the University's move from the Horde Webmail service to Google Apps for Education, a suite of communication and collaboration tools for universities, pending a University-wide review process to seek input from faculty and students.

Concerns about the switch to Gmail fell into three main categories: problems with cloud computing, technological risks and downsides, and ideological issues.

Google stores every piece of data in three centers randomly chosen from the many it operates worldwide in order to guard the company's ability to recover lost information - but that also makes the data subject to the vagaries of foreign laws and governments, according to a Yale computer science professor.  He added that Google was not willing to provide ITS with a list of countries to which the University's data could be sent, but only a list of about 15 countries to which the data would not be sent.

What's your position on cloud computer? Join the discussion by sharing your comments.