Feeds

Intel smarties rain on the clouds

Has your data skipped town?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

IDF Two of Intel's best and brightest engineers rained on the cloud-computing parade on Tuesday. And Google's broswer-based Chrome OS suffered collateral damage.

"We really have a lot of meta-questions to answer that affect how cloud computing rolls out, particularly in the areas of privacy and security," Kevin Kahn, director of Intel's Communications Technology Lab told an Intel Developer Forum session entitled "Intel Fellows: Live and Uncensored!"

Google's upcoming Chrome OS — said to be coming in tablet form this November — will require that all of a user's data be stored in the cloud. A second Fellow, Jim Held, director of Intel's Tera-Scale Computing Research, doesn't think that's necessarily such a good idea.

"We have widely deployed broadband and wireless broadband," he said. "That, however, won't scale, I believe, as fast as the compute capability will, or as data storage is going to scale. So I don't believe we're going into a world in which we're always reaching over that pipe to a cloud for everything we do."

Kahn focused on the murky legal status of remote data storage. "What exactly is the legal status of your data if you're using a cloud service that happens to put one of their data center in France?"

You may not even know that your data has high-tailed it over the border, Kahn concluded. "You're a US citizen, perhaps, you think you're dealing with a US company that's giving you cloud services — but because of the time of day and the maintenance schedule of a data center here, your data happens to be stored in some other country. What's its legal status?"

The answer, according to Kahn, is that nobody really knows. "There are some questions of that ilk that...we really have to get our arms around more widely if we're going to answer some of the privacy and security questions long-term," he said. "So these are really complicated issues that I think are going to modulate how all this stuff rolls out."

Although neither Kahn nor Held mentioned Google specifically — nor, for that matter, did their remarks name Amazon, Microsoft, or any cloud-services provider — their comments raised a note of caution not often heard above the cloudy marketing ruckus.

One questioner asked the assembled Fellows whether cloud computing wasn't actually leading users "back to the future" — back to the days of punch cards and dumb terminals, when computing was done away from the user in a "glass house" in which resided the almighty mainframe, and when users needed to make a request and wait for a response.

Held responded that, yes, there were lessons to be learned from the past. "We're always going to have to learn from the transition away from the punch cards and the glass house," he said, "that people want personal-computing resources in-hand because that scales very, very well — each person having their own computer gives you some privacy and it gives you the [lack of] latency that the rich and immersive visual-computing kinds of applications that are appearing and that people seem to really value are going to need."

Held's cloudy concerns were less about legal turbidity and more about user experience. "Personal computing means people want personal computing," he emphasized. "They want local personal computing."

But he also diplomatically sought a middle ground: "I think there's a natural balance that we'll strike at any given point...between compute on the client and compute remotely." After all, he said, local personal computing "doesn't mean that with good connectivity you can't draw on resources remotely."

Where those resources reside and what their legal status might be, however, needs to be known before the cloud can become a safe and secure working model for not only enterprise IT, but also for consumers. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The hidden costs of self-signed SSL certificates
Exploring the true TCO for self-signed SSL certificates, including a side-by-side comparison of a self-signed architecture versus working with a third-party SSL vendor.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.