TMCnet Feature
March 27, 2013

Has the Cloud Earned Our Trust?

By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

With so much focus and talk of cloud computing today, it’s easy to forget (or perhaps not even have awareness of) when cloud first popped up on the tech radar.

Although “the cloud” became a widely-used buzzword in just the past few years, the roots of the cloud are traced back to the early days of computing – back to the 1960s and 1970s. Today’s cloud is Internet-centric, and thus far it has revolutionized consumer technology.

Yet the cloud is something consumers don’t think about often even though they are using cloud all the time, whether it’s to store music files or connect with friends over the Internet. If you think about it, social media platforms like Facebook (News - Alert) are cloud companies – storing some of our most personal and precious photos and video files for our “friends” to see. But it shows the dark side of cloud, which has the potential to breach our trust.

When Facebook changes its privacy policies and allows our most personal information to be viewed by people we don’t want to see it, users are at the mercy of Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) and Co. and frankly – they feel violated. The more personal the data, the more personal the breach. And this is where cloud security and the privacy woes rear their ugly heads. When putting data in the hands of a third party, users give up certain freedoms. Although cloud offers numerous benefits from lowered capital expenses and flexibility to environmental advantages, security remains the biggest obstacle toward widespread adoption.

The looming threat of a cloud outage continues to hinder the full embrace of the cloud, especially as Amazon Web Services (News - Alert) is shoved under the microscope after its services went down at least twice last year.

However, in most cases, cloud providers can achieve better security in a virtualized environment than enterprises can achieve internally, according to a recent NaviSite whitepaper called, “Seven Steps to Developing a Cloud Security Plan.” TMCnet provided an overview of the steps enterprises can take to gain the cost and business advantages of cloud services without compromising the security of enterprise applications.

As for the future of cloud, security and reliability clearly need to be improved in order for the cloud movement to continue to gain traction and for providers to truly win the trust of their users. At this point, though, cloud has moved past the infancy stage, is continuing to evolve and clearly holds much promise.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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