Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Is your precious data safer in the Clouds?

It is if you believe this blog that states Cloud computing offers 'no data security fears'. Well, that's a fairly bold statement that sparked a healthy discussion on the ebizQ Cloud Computing forum today.

But, honestly, does it even matter today - whether your data is really safer in the Clouds or not?

From a purely technical perspective the seemingly blatant statement made in the above referenced blog entry might even be true but as the saying goes "perception is reality" and the Cloud is no exception! So while Cloud providers might be the most technically capable of securing data (the potential reality), organizations will still continue to be very leary (because of their risk averse perception) of actually letting go of their control over the data by putting it in the Cloud.

In their defense, though, data security is not just limited to technical ability. Rather, most of the complexity in securing data is actually around legal and privacy issues, which have yet to be figured out adequately such that organizations can adjust their perception.

To be clear, the issue of perception is not just a challenge for Clouds. I still encounter people (even in the technology field) who will not use online banking in the fear that their account information might be exposed. These same people who will not trust SSL to protect their account or credit card information over the Internet will happily hand over their credit card to a complete stranger to take to a backroom and charge them for their meal. And they do so fully knowing that with the right equipment it would only take a few minutes to make a complete working copy of the credit card!!!

So, yes, perception is reality, and thus the real question then is not whether Clouds are safer than in-house data centers but rather if they are or will ever be perceived as such.

* Originally posted on the ebizQ Cloud Computing forum on January 4, 2011.


  1. Cloud adoption will either alleviate those perceptions/fears or confirm them. Your previous post shows that adoption will continue to grow (http://tarakmodi.blogspot.com/2010/12/looking-back-clouds-biggest-victory-in.html)

    Some companies will be hold outs to the end such as those under rule of HEPA. However, as you point out, having total control does not guarantee control of data. Perfect example is the State Department communication leaks.

    I believe the cloud will grow as an attractive, cost effective alternative of doing everything inside the corporate walls. As more and more systems are moved to the cloud, the privacy concern/perception will wain.

  2. Geoff, it's been a long time since we've been in touch. The last I remember is that you were at Sprint architecting their very scalable customer facing website!

    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you that ultimately time will tell whether perception continues to be reality or if reality can prevail and change the perception.

  3. I agree with your example with credit card or the online banking industry. There is still small percentage of people out there, who fear about online transaction. Risk is everywhere and no one can give you a guarantee of data control. Cloud is here to stay and there will always be some people who will not have the same opinion to save their data in cloud as well.

  4. Thank you Anonymous! I agree that there will always be the skeptics out there - the extremely late majority.