Feeds

There’s no escaping the cloud

You can run, but you can’t hide

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Feeling in a slightly mischievous mood, I stuck up my hand, reminded the presenter that the vendor hosting the conference had described the bank as a strategic customer, and had also talked about all of its sales and account management needs being fulfilled by Salesforce.com. Given the deep interaction between the two companies, I therefore suggested that a lot of proprietary information about the bank was probably being maintained in the cloud whether they liked it, trusted it, or not.

This would, for example, include the names, positions and responsibilities of key people, and who knows what other background on each. It could also include details of past and future projects, which trusted suppliers had been made aware of in confidence, or which had been mentioned indiscreetly by an employee over a beer with a salesperson. When I asked whether the aforementioned bank stakeholders were aware of this, or how they would feel if they realised it, the response was merely that this was an ‘interesting question’.

No escape

The point here was not to pass judgment on whether cloud services are a good or bad thing, either in absolute terms or for any given organisation, but simply to highlight the fact that there really is no escaping the impact of this trend.

In the example given, we were talking about CRM data, but as cloud-based ERP gets used in a collaborative supply chain context, as sensitive contract information ends up in the inbox of a supplier, customer or partner who happens to be using Google's hosted email service, and so on, we have to accept that the security and privacy of our proprietary business data will increasingly be dependent on cloud providers.

As the bank’s spokesperson said, this really is a very interesting problem, and there is no easy answer to dealing with it. Some cloud providers are clearly very competent and probably don't represent a significant risk, but if someone we deal with is putting information we care about into the hands of dodgy or inexperienced cloud players, there is a potential exposure, at least theoretically.

Against this background, I am interested in your views. Is this a real problem, or something we shouldn't get too hung up about?

Perhaps it's a question of making sure policies are in place to deal with the sharing of information or the vetting of third parties before sensitive information is shared with them. Does the dreaded DRM approach have a role to play? Then again, we could question if anything has really changed. After all, how well do we police the way in which other parties store and manage information that is confidential or sensitive to our business now?

I would appreciate any feedback or experiences you might have in this area.

Freeform Dynamics Ltd

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
Sysadmin Day 2014: Quick, there's still time to get the beers in
He walked over the broken glass, killed the thugs... and er... reconnected the cables*
SHOCK and AWS: The fall of Amazon's deflationary cloud
Just as Jeff Bezos did to books and CDs, Amazon's rivals are now doing to it
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
The triumph of VVOL: Everyone's jumping into bed with VMware
'Bandwagon'? Yes, we're on it and so what, say big dogs
Carbon tax repeal won't see data centre operators cut prices
Rackspace says electricity isn't a major cost, Equinix promises 'no levy'
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.