The Other Challenge is Security

by Willy Leichter
Director, Product & Solutions Marketing
Axway

Earlier this week, Michael Osterman wrote a provocative article for MessageWire.com, arguing that “given that it is replacing largely local/on-premises capabilities that today offer reasonably snappy performance, cloud services will have to compete on performance as well as their other benefits.”

I agree with his position. With all the current noise around cloud services, there are fundamental challenges that need to be addressed before there is widespread adoption by enterprises. Performance is definitely one challenge, but I think for many organizations, security will be just as daunting.

The conventional cloud model derives incredible efficiencies and cost savings by abstracting and sharing resources—from storage and platforms to applications. One assumption is that multi-tenancy is a must, and a good thing. While this may bring the vendor’s costs down, it also leads to serious concerns that are preventing most security-conscious organizations from jumping into the cloud.

Let’s say I’m bound by HIPAA, PCI, or other compliance requirements—I need to know where my data is going, where it’s stored, and ensure that only the appropriate people have access. The security SLAs from many cloud providers essentially say, “trust us, we’ll be very careful…” But that simply doesn’t cut it when the regulators come calling.

This leads to the interesting concept of private clouds. Instead of focusing on multi-tenancy, private clouds ensure the segregation and integrity of customer-specific applications, while still providing many of the other benefits of cloud computing—off-loading network infrastructure, faster deployment, more elastic scaling, and lower up-front costs.

Fundamentally, I agree that the march toward cloud computing is inevitable, but it will need to move beyond a one-size-fits-all model before it makes a dent in the enterprise IT world.

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