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Sanity check: Why corporate IT will eventually embrace cloud computing

When you mention "cloud computing" to most IT professionals, the look of palpable disdain on their faces is unmistakable. That's going to change over the next five years. Here's why.

When you mention "cloud computing" to most IT professionals, the look of palpable disdain on their faces is unmistakable. That's going to change over the next five years. Here's why.

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I love to watch the looks on the faces of IT leaders when you ask a question that involves the word "cloud computing." It's usually a mix between, "Oh, here we go again" and "You obviously don't know much about IT if you're asking me this."

Even if those IT leaders give a non-committal response or a tepid "It'll be interesting to see how it develops" answer, it's always easy to tell that most of them would rather gouge out their own eyeballs before turning over their company's most important applications to a vendor to host over the Internet.

Why? It's all about control.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not calling CIOs a bunch of Luddite control-freaks. It's not that simple. IT requires tight control and management because IT departments can't afford to overlook any details that could lead to unplanned errors or downtime. Jobs, productivity, reputations, and lots of money are all at stake every day when you work in IT - and even more so when you're in charge of the whole operation.

There's also the tiny little issue of data. IT leaders do not trust online vendors with the company data, including everything from customer information to legal documents to intellectual property and trade secrets. And, what about compliance? If the data isn't handled properly and is in violation of Sarbox or HIPPA regulations, who's responsible?

And, what happens when the Internet goes down and all of your workers are stuck twiddling their thumbs because they can't access the company's most important piece of software? That's the other big game-breaker for IT leaders when they look at cloud computing.

However, over the next five years, we should expect CIOs to change their tune, because most of the technology obstacles will be removed and there will be a big financial incentive to make the switch. To explain, I've broken this down into the top four reasons why IT leaders will embrace cloud computing:

4. Separation of data from apps

It is quite possible that in the next few years we will increasingly see the front end of applications separated from the backend. The front end will be delivered in the Web browser while the backend will be powered by highly-scalable databases.

As WAN speeds rise to over 100 Mbps, bandwidth costs decrease, and WAN acceleration technology drives much more efficient use of WAN pipes, the application front-end and the backend database will be able to exist in separate locations much more easily and effectively. In some cases, this could even allow companies to host the data inside their own private data centers and simply allow the front end apps running in the cloud to tunnel in and connect to the data.

3. Offline access for online apps

The future of cloud computing applications is not session-sensitive Web pages that deliver applications that are unavailable when there's a hiccup in Internet access or loses a user's form data when a backhoe accidentally cuts a fiber line.

Following the example of Google Gears (and in some cases using the code), we're going to see the next generation of serious Web applications develop an offline component in addition to the standard online component. This offline functionality stores the application locally and caches user data so that any hiccups to a Web session or connectivity outages allow users to continue to work uninterrupted. Then when Internet connectivity is restored, any work and changes made offline are simply synced up with the online version of the application.

2. Ubiquitous mobile Internet access

While offline functionality will be necessary for Web applications in the cloud to go mainstream, there's also going to be significant progress made over the next five years in making Internet access virtually ubiquitous - or at least available anywhere you can connect to a cell tower.

The spread of both WiMAX and LTE - competing 4G wireless standards - will bring broadband Internet to remote locations and will introduce true mobile broadband connectivity to cars, busses, and trains. This will help remove one of the psychological barriers to cloud computing: the idea that you can only use it when you're sitting at a desk where you have a high-speed connection.

The arrival of more powerful and versatile smartphones and netbooks, combined with ubiquitous mobile broadband, will open up new possibilities for cloud computing that will surpass most of what's currently available with standard software clients -- and do it at a lower cost.

1. Moving CAPEX to OPEX

Speaking of costs, that brings us to the main reason why IT leaders will eventually adopt cloud computing. Scaling servers up and down is very expensive. Most IT departments typically buy as many servers as they'll need during the company's estimated peak capacity. However, they don't need all that capacity most of the time so lots of servers sit idle.

With cloud computing (and it's cousin, utility computing), the equation changes. When a company needs more capacity during its peak season, it simply pays for it on-demand. When business slows down and the company needs less capacity, its bill goes down because it's using fewer resources.

In financial terms, this allows a company to move much of its infrastructure costs from being a capital expenditure (CAPEX) to an operating expenditure (OPEX). CAPEX costs are often tightly controlled since they involve depreciating assets. The advantage to OPEX is that you can typically dial it down and dial it up much more quickly and carefully.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

114 comments
tom.doran
tom.doran

Nobody like clouds except the folks in IT sales. The market is flat, so they flog some new idea and claim EVERYBODY is doing it.

Jestech
Jestech

I created web apps to solve business objectives using .asp and databases long before the term "cloud computing" was ever coined. Nothing new to write about?

erwin
erwin

Cloud Computing or Saas is the third generation software. It's just a follow-up of an ASP model that was the second generation of stand alone licenced software for vendors. Cloud Computing is nothing new, it's just a different business model that confuses customers and only brings gains for vendors at the end of the day...

Abeng
Abeng

Cloud compouting will be embeaced to the extent that it makes utility computing an affordable reality.

kojosarkodee
kojosarkodee

Capex to Opex? That's quite laughable. Opex is one of the crucial elements to keep any company afloat. When revenue is drying up, what does the CFO and CEO look at? Certainly not Capex. They look at Opex (company's operating costs) to take cash out to cover the bad times. So personally, though cloud computing may have its advantages for some web applications (such as done by current hosted ASP's), I don't subscribe to the fact that savings will be realised by shifting the cost of assets from Capex to Opex and you can scale down and up scale at will. Once put all your IT costs into Opex, you will have a very difficult time justifying to upscale when you need to, especially during lean times.. And depreciating assets is always accounted for anyway when assets are purchased. So no big deal there...At the end of the day, I believe the traditional methodology of keeping and managing key infrastructure and data in house, will eventually win out. The costs of moving everything into the cloud will quickly become evident.

enquiries
enquiries

Related to Lazerus439's point about the "last mile" it's worth remembering that many countries in the world are not approaching 100 Mb/s, but lag far behind. Here in New Zealand 2 Mb/s is the average. Many small townships can only get dial-up at 50 kb/s. I see a real danger in the rest of the world trying to copy a trend in the USA for cloud computing but without the physical infrastructure to pull it off.

mailboweb
mailboweb

..that when they will build an infrastructure, it will not be an 56k modem network. But most probably the latest and newest cost effective network. So most developing country's will not start where we started, but will build on current day technologies and standards. They could very well be, by then, among the fasted networks in the world within a 5 to 15 years period.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

While a great majority of the US business population has access to high-speed connections, it's a different picture at home. While cities and most major suburbs have access to speeds up to 12 Mbps, there are still many areas where the fastest connection available is a V.92 dial-up at 56 kbps. Here in the States, high-speed access often stops with the television cable. If the cable company won't go there, you usually can't get DSL either.

dogknees
dogknees

So, how do these systems work in a dialup environment. It's not like you can transition all your apps to the cloud if even a single user is unable to get access and do their work. Everyone forgets, it's not about most people in most places, it's all or nothing.

tbmay
tbmay

Jason, you pretty much spelled out my objections. Data integrity, security, and reliability. Don't get me wrong. I take advantage of virtualization in server roles as well as testing and versioning; however, I simply will not help a client host security critical data on a vps on the edge. It's simply too risky.

sergey
sergey

Yeah, right! Of course they will... But not before Jason Hiner and other "head-in-the-clouds" idealists turn over their T-shirts, pants and underpants to some "Cloud clothing" provider and start renting them "for a cheap monthly price". What a brilliant idea indeed! Just think of it - not only you can get your hands on the latest fashion models but also save a ton of money on laundry! Not a chance? what a bunch of "control freaks"...

toysarefun
toysarefun

Anyone who works out of a Data center model is already essentially practicing cloud computing, unless all your clients/employees/users are located right in that datacenter itself.

bernalillo
bernalillo

The folks who work out o=my little data center are employees of the same people who hiore me to keep it ocnfidential. The dataq is secure and confidential, not "Secure and confidential I hope." In a nice aside, once I get my network working I have no recurring network access charges to do the same thing "cloud computing" does. If the NSA comes for our data my employers will know it. Keep reading, you'll get there.

federico.alcantara
federico.alcantara

It is about who control the data. In cloud computing third parties control the data. In "in house" Data center the organization itself and its IT department control its data, no matter where and how they are connected. Oh yeah, they could be connected through internet using VPN or using their OWN and private communication channels.

melias
melias

are possible issues. A majority of companies use a limited number of Office suites, MS, Corel, the major GNU (free) office suite. However, most software is either purchased off the shelf or from a vendor which will often customize to one extent or another for your company. I cannot see the same diversity of software from the cloud as I see from vendors or off-the-shelf publishers. Can you see a major software company trying to customize it's cloud software for 20 different customers? Difficult enough when the apps are stored on the customer's server, let alone on a cloud-based system. There goes most of cost savings as now you have extra costs for keeping those customizations stored. Now multiply that for hundreds of customers. Reliability of the vendor. If I purchase software from a vendor, and the vendor goes out of business, I have no support, but the software still works. In cloud computing, I lose all my technology processes until I replace the vendor, and maybe my data is temporarily unavailable. Now, hopefully I get an announcement which will give me time to collect my data and get a new vendor, but who knows? No one vendor will be a 'one stop shop'. So, there will be a need for multiple cloud-based vendors. This will mean multiple data locations and COPIES of your data, all of which needs to be tracked by your companies administration. And, this will kill any possibility of using in-house written routines to create data-sharing software. Unless of course the vendor gives you routines, API, etc... that will allow you to directly access your own data. Not very likely, otherwise why use cloud computing? Though they might be willing to write a custom app or report for a price and an extra monthly cost to maintain. But again, this will just access data from one vendor, not multiple vendors. While none of these are insurmountable, I believe they are real and significant roadblocks to cloud computing. One possibility is to use encrypted web-based data storage which can be accessed via encrypted data streams (notice, EVERY-thing is encrypted) using canned or even IEEE defined protocols. Web storage in this manner would make data available to the customer via any application capable of using the appropriate protocols. Small software publishers incapable of hosting large amounts of data would still be able to compete with the larger companies. This model will also go far to mitigate my first point, software diversity. Small cloud application suppliers can now access your data no matter who hosts it. And data host vendors can focus on hosting and protecting your data, while at the same time being legally unacountable for the content of the data. (I don't know what it is, it's encrypted!) The current model is to inflexibe, but there are solutions..... However, personally, I still do not like cloud computing.

puckster970
puckster970

I work for a company that has in house data and a scada system that is monitored and sometimes administrated out of house. How do we secure that type of system using the cloud? I have a specific app like my billing company that needs one data set and they only care if their software is functioning not what is the data. now throw in security which right now is all over the news and I'm not sure I see how having multiple vendors and various data stores with multiple copies that need to be accessed from time to time as real time data works within my constraints here. Even by changing our model to work with the cloud the expense is not something to take to my board of Directors.

e.h.taylor
e.h.taylor

Mr. Hiner is right... CIO's on-balance are control freaks... I know, been there done that... the cloud is a prefect solution for IT Ops, backup and COOP... game, set, match...

mcnoah0618
mcnoah0618

I appreciate the article and note its valid theoretical substance. Now list 40 (x10) concrete reasons why it won't be adopted. The real world side of this coin dominates. Use the lens of small business application development and the CFO's opinion to get you started..

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

Oh YES. Because as we can see, the Internet is invulnerable, never goes down and anywhere we go there's always plenty of bandwidth! MMMMMM - smell the cloud-----acchhh chhh chh cchhchhhhhhhhhh...

dwight.goble
dwight.goble

Using another company to provide extra peak processing computing resources sounds like a great idea. But the cost of installing the process around using this extra computing resouces is a daunting task that will not come cheap. The cost of new hardware vs. going Cloud may be where this evens out. There are already managed IT facilities for companies and these models work well. They save companies money by adding compliance, security and a 24x7 IT staff that are luxuries that some companies could otherwise not afford. These moves also change almost all the IT infrastructure to OPEX. They also create coporate security standards, which is the opposite of depending on the one IT guy in the company that knows the security infrastructure. Cloud Computing is not only coming, it is already here. Open your eyes!! In corporate America, if there is a way to save a buck and meet compliance, companies will do that. Ask every IT guy who gets treated like overhead in a down economy. People may want to close their eyes, but these are the same people who will be the first ones to lose their jobs. Prepare yourself with really good arguments or a new resume. Don't become Corporate Fodder!

onephatcat
onephatcat

If we were going to "embrace" cloud computing, it would start with outsourcing our ERP system to some "cloud" product. About 3 weeks ago, some disgruntled person took an Axe to several fiber optic connections in San Jose. This took all three of our internet connections offline: AT&T bonded 3mb dual T1, Covad 10mbit DSL and AT&T 3mbit DSL line, not to mention there was no cell phone service or land-line telephone out of the local area for 22 hours. While this took our in-house customer service offline, we were still able to manufacture and ship product, and still able to perform accounting, software development and other normal processes. If ERP and Accounting was outsourced we would have been seriously impacted. How can anyone consider outsourcing vital services if the infrastructure to support them is that vulnerable to one guy going down three manholes with an axe? - Joel

tbmay
tbmay

Great point Joel. I forgot about that little incident. I really hope people can reign in their enthusiasm for the Kool-Aid and recognize just how dangerous this concept is.

melekali
melekali

...is an idiotic idea in the current security posture and will only get worse. There are hacker brigades in China and Russia most notably, among others, which are starting to target these sorts of internet connected dependencies. Let's take down the power grid, disable businesses and do whatever other damage possible. Cloud computing is an idea that will not see the light of day in my opinion. What should happen is more of a portal-type development where apps are offered on company servers accessible through a browser where the company controls this kind of access. Most likely, some contractor support of these systems housed on company property with appropriate separation of duties to avoid a rouge contractor stealing data or doing an untold amount of damage. I don't see cloud computing addressing real security concerns that would make it a viable option.

peter.kiedrowski
peter.kiedrowski

Despite the CAPEX vs OPEX advantages and scalability, we all know lots of companies that are willing to pay extra just to have their data secure at home. Some will follow the new trend but most will be hesitant, even in the next five years.

bfarkas
bfarkas

Will some pls explain the difference(s) between: cloud computing utility computing Software as a Service Infrastructure as a Service Platform as a Service They all seem to have the same fundamental principles/features. So what distinguished one from the other.

mckinnej
mckinnej

The difference is the buzz word de jour selected by a particular marketing department.

Richard_P
Richard_P

Most of the discussion presented centres on things that could make cloud computing possible, the only argument presented to promote it is the one about managing unplanned scalability issues. Therefore what you are really suggesting is that a corporate body should place its major application infrastructure in the hands of a third party without knowing the expected demand on resources that application will make. Any cloud computing supplier will be rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of the revenue that 'supplier lock-in' could generate in 'exceptional demand' charges alone.

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

With VMware and VMotion, you first consolidate what you have, and then if you need more resources, just start scaling up and/or out. It is pretty mindless to pop in a few additional CPUs, more memory or another server into the rack.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

But I don't expect more than that. Both IT and legal will step up to put a stop to it. Given the potential consequences in both government fines and loss of business, I don't see any company moving sensitive information, particularly if covered by SarbOx, HIPAA, or even PCI, to the cloud. One regulatory error, data loss, or data breach is all it would take to create a media ruckus, and you know it wouldn't be the cloud provider's name in the headlines until the story moves off the front page! (And a quibble: Although it's pronounced "hippa", it's spelled "HIPAA", as in [u]H[/u]ealth [u]I[/u]nsurance [u]P[/u]ortability and [u]A[/u]ccountability [u]A[/u]ct.)

mailboweb
mailboweb

.. it will. pattern recognition is all it needs to be usable. Google apps and Zoho are being used, phone nummers, companies, contacts and so forth. What is sensitive information. And what do you need to be ahead of the competition or manipulate users an costumers. This is just the beginning, ones we get more comfortable and it gets fast enouf for more elaborate applications, we well use cloud computing for everything from personal to business use. What is five years anyway, or ten for that mather?

abrownell
abrownell

...Anyone remember the 'Windows.net' craze about 8-9 years ago?? What happened?

vucliriel
vucliriel

Windows.net hasn't happened YET but I can guarantee you, MS is doing everything it can to make it, or some other version of usage restriction, happen. DRM is a perfect example of software requiring a component in the cloud before it will allow running your media. I have a movie which REQUIRES me to connect online to get PERMISSION to view its content! Yes, after I BOUGHT the friggin DVD in a store!

vucliriel
vucliriel

What I profoundly resent is the fact that HD was the main selling point of this edition and the company should have stated CLEARLY that it REQUIRES an internet connection AND that the permission software MUST BE ABLE to actually RUN on the buyer's machine, which was a major challenge (and I'm an experienced computer user - I had to use a workaround just so that I could actually connect to the permissin server, that how buggy the producer's permission software was!) So I have this nice HD DVD gathering dust which, in effect, I cannot use for its intended purposes. To avert outrage the producers were wise enough to also include a standard (non-HD) version of the movie in the package, but I already had one. Net effect: legitimately PURCHASED media are getting more and more aggravating to use, it's not surprising people feel no qualms downloading a pirated version online that they can actually USE!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]I have a movie which REQUIRES me to connect online to get PERMISSION to view its content! Yes, after I BOUGHT the friggin DVD in a store![/i] You bought the DVD and have to get permission to play it? Will I be surprised by the name of the media conglomerate on the DVD? Let us know so we can stop buying their crap.

swilliams@tatachemicals.com
swilliams@tatachemicals.com

Large international corporate IT will building their own "Cloud" centres retaining their data. As for your No1 reason finance, if IT costs are moved to revenue part of the balance sheet, then you reduce the capital assets of the business that can be borrowed against.

aftzm
aftzm

The cloud is an interesting concept, but as with all things in IT it is not the hype that will change the way we use technology, but the actual engineers and programmers who create the technology from the ground up, as with the likes of Linux, Apache, PHP, and MySQL. These technologies are successful because anyone can obtain access to them and can modify them as much as they want to. How will people be able to modify the cloud? It?s a backward step, like going back to time-sharing mainframes. The bigger the promises made in hype, sometimes the bigger are the disappointments which follow. I cannot see the cloud being anything more than an option that will be purchased by organisations and companies where it provides value to them, and only then. If they are not comfortable with it then they will not buy into it, even if there are cost savings. Compare it with remote workers. In theory a good idea, and in some cases it works. But the truth is in most cases employers like their employees coming into work where they can see them, and employees like the social aspect of work. Yes there are cost savings, but cost is only one amongst many parameters. The ?cloud? will exist in some form but it will never replace the revolution that is the personal computer. No-one wants to be reduced to a dumb or ?thin? terminal, and confined to the use of software and services out of their control.

mailboweb
mailboweb

I think you forget that Google is already scanning information on there server for advertisement en development purposes. They are already looking for patterns for there own and other clients products and services. They are making the users( mostly new) comfortable using these cloud services, for future purposes. So we will use it for all kinds of situtuations, personal and business. For me I see an major move to an more "moneypolitable" situation into the near future. Manipulation is already part of there development plan, and it is just an progression of an business plan I see that too. And for now it is of "little" affect. But we should be skeptical. Google still has an trust worthy name to build upon, but so did Microsoft in the early years before they got to big. And considering that Google is attempting to go beyond Microsoft in terms of information gathering and is already expanding exponentially. ( Though the Live.com service from Microsoft is heading the same direction we "feared" so many years back) it looks that there is some reason for worry. Seems like an other big brother paranoid way of thinking, but it is one to consider. These companies are using our private information, that we "willingly and knowingly" post on to the net. And adding private business information to the mix is a very interesting concept. Nothing new but a lot more vast then anything before. And a lot of profits to invest in other project. I still think that pattern is the key word here. And "No" to centralized global cloud computing without supervision of independent and/or local governmental organizations. Offering stand-alone packets for businesses to implement into there own infrastructure would be a better solution. Away for the external Server parks. Only using the net as transport like mostly today.

enquiries
enquiries

"No-one wants to be reduced to a dumb terminal and confined to the use of software and services out of their control" have you ever worked in an office? About 80% of workers hate PC's and don't understand them at all. They are hanging out for some much simpler form of computer to get their work done.

vucliriel
vucliriel

People don't hate Computers, they hate what Corporate Computing imposes upon them through computers. Big Difference!!!

vucliriel
vucliriel

I have yet hope for the younger generation... :) If I may add some comments: "It's a backward step, like going back to time-sharing mainframes". Were you there in the 70s? It's so unfortunate everyone else, it seems, has forgotten how it used to be... And I'm talking from experience here, I even used to forge access passwords so that I could use the school computers for reseach without having to go through the academic approval committee ;) "I cannot see the cloud being anything more than an option that will be purchased by organisations and companies where it provides value to them, and only then" Very pertinent, indeed! Hopefully it will bring some common sense into the debate; That so many others make it sound 'inevitable' is, IMO, irresponsible. Great contribution! "The 'cloud' will exist in some form but it will never replace the revolution that is the personal computer. No-one wants to be reduced to a dumb or 'thin' terminal, and confined to the use of software and services out of their control" I agree with you 100% and hope you are right and commend you on your idealism, and can't wait to see people like you taking charge in the industry. But look at the recent trend, with all major software giants making every effort to curtail user rights. It's what the movie TRON so eloquently warned us about... Keep up the good fight, My Young Jedi :D

mailboweb
mailboweb

If you read the underlining idea you will see somen truth in his text. You may not want to see what the effect is when all private and business information is available to some companies. it is not an new concept but the vastness is never been done before. We are being manipulated by the information we trust to the net. Web services like facebook, blogs, zoho and Google are being exploited for commercial gain and direction manipulation. And thou most of us feel free and save, most of us do not. And young people essentially are vulnerable where we can see with the eye of experience they can do not. So do not underestimate the usage of "free and willingly" presented information on free web services. And don't underestimate patterns recognition and manipulation on the people of tomorrow by the people of today.

vucliriel
vucliriel

I admit it took me a while to understand your point reading the first paragraph, but it is a fact, for anyone who has been around computers for more than 20 years, how biased it seems the information has become. By that, I mean the order of information dissemination using a major search engine such as Google. I totally agrre this is a real danger, as websites manipulate their position to the front of the search results to manipulate users. I find myself frequently complaining how much garbage there is now on Google compared to how it was say, 10 years ago, and how much more work is required to actually get to the facts, amidst all the commercial or politically biased pollution. Good Point!

chris
chris

I am just asking, because I don't know, but I thought the idea of "the cloud" is that you can develop whatever app you want. The fact that you can change gmail is irrelevant if you can do your own thing. Maybe I am wrong; would not be the first time :-)

uberg33k50
uberg33k50

Unfortunately I think the media, who are ignorant of the real world, will make it happen. It used to be that the media helped to keep us informed and warned of impending dangers...now they are part of the agenda to sell us down the river. Perhaps they read "Animal Farm" and decided to be part of the "pigs" world. We used to have people that would be sending out stories of how letting someone -- anyone -- control your data and information was like handing the keys to the vault. He who controls the information has all of the power. Not to mention the fact that with the data stored in several central locations...how much easier is it for some foreign government to wage cyber war against us. No -- cloud computing is a VERY BAD idea.

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

Neither the government nor any third-party can be trusted with sensitive data. Period. This has been proven time and time again -- with the government making illegal requests of third parties -- who roll over and happily provide it. One need look no further than the Mark Klein and AT&T case. Google -- also hands over search queries on request. ISPs sell clickstreams. NOBODY can be trusted. What third-party is going to protect your data. When asked by the government -- legally or illegally -- they'll fold up on you like a cheap tent rather than take the slightest 'risk'. Bad enough people allow Google to index their documents. Very easy for the indexing system to trigger on specific keywords or phrases to have copies of your documents automatically forwarded to 'interested' parties. Of course, the lure of 'free' is too great for some -- but not anyone who values their data and privacy in the slightest.

darpoke
darpoke

Google are *one* company offering cloud services. They also have a pretty much *unique* business model. For god's sake how many companies offering hosted services would stay in business if they had a practice of scanning confidential client data for their own purposes? People sign up to Google because it's free and they have nothing to fear from targeted advertising. It's not like they're bending over, for god's sake. @chris, I don't think it really matters if people outsource their data centres or not. If the Feds wanna inspect your bit lockers, they'll march on in and do it. No matter where they are. And if they have a warrant they'll get what they want. If companies are known to hand over data to authorities without a warrant they won't be in business for very long. That's the beauty of market forces. I'm with you though, on the flight matter. The mandatory search is utterly pointless, just the latest in a long line of 'preventative measures' that only cause inconvenience to the innocent passengers, i.e. 99.99999% of all paying customers. Anyone attempting to subvert a commercial flight will not be deterred by getting touched up in the airport terminal. It's just ridiculous to think that it solves anything. I don't know if it's in practice anywhere else but here in the UK you can no longer fly with any containers of liquid holding more than 100ml, all of which must fit in a bag no larger than 1l capacity. It probably hasn't occurred to anyone that a truly determined cell (is there any other kind, for crying out loud?) of ten people could thus still get ten litres of potential combustible material on board perfectly legitimately. So nothing is saved. Meanwhile, the same 99.99999% of passengers who are paying the wages of every staff member in the airport are subjected to the pathetic practice of trying to assess the volume of their liquid belongings, separate them if they hadn't remembered that they are potential terrorists until proven otherwise, and discarding anything that is now a controlled substance. Like bottled water. Or deodorant. I don't feel any safer on commercial flights. On the contrary, in fact, since my colouring marks me as a member of an ethnic minority in the UK. But sales of

Marty R. Milette
Marty R. Milette

... to protect your data as compared to your own company lawyers... Let's face it, in today's society (UK and US expecially), there is NOBODY that is going to take the slightest chance of 'resisting' what 'appears' to be a legal government/police request for data. Like I said, these third-party providers will fold up like a cheap tent at the first sign of trouble. On the other hand, if someone wants to walk into MY data center, they'd better have all necessary legal documents, which will be vetted by the company lawyer, before they get anywhere past the door. Regarding the note, "If companies are known to hand over data to authorities without a warrant they won't be in business for very long." One need look no further than Mark Klein's exposure of AT&T's NSA tapping and monitoring centers. They sucked in EVERYTHING from every major Internet junction point in the USA all WITHOUT warrants -- hence the need for the US government to offer complete and total immunity to all service providers who helped the government with these illegal programs. As for trusting EITHER the government or ANY third-party -- well -- you'd have to be very naieve indeed...

mailboweb
mailboweb

I think you forget that Google is already scanning information on there server for advertisement en development purposes. They are already looking for patterns for there own and other clients products and services. They are making the users( mostly new) comfortable using these cloud services, for future purposes. So we will use it for all kinds of situtuations, personal and business. For me I see an major move to an more "moneypolitable" situation into the near future. Manipulation is already part of there development plan, and it is just an progression of an business plan I see that too. And for now it is of "little" affect. But we should be skeptical. Google still has an trust worthy name to build upon, but so did Microsoft in the early years before they got to big. And considering that Google is attempting to go beyond Microsoft in terms of information gathering and is already expanding exponentially. ( Though the Live.com service from Microsoft is heading the same direction we "feared" so many years back) it looks that there is some reason for worry. Seems like an other big brother paranoid way of thinking, but it is one to consider. These companies are using our private information, that we "willingly and knowingly" post on to the net. And adding private business information to the mix is a very interesting concept. Nothing new but a lot more vast then anything before. And a lot of profits to invest in other project. I still think that pattern is the key word here. And "No" to centralized global cloud computing without supervision of independent and/or local governmental organizations. Offering stand-alone packets for businesses to implement into there own infrastructure would be a better solution. Away for the external Server parks. Only using the net as transport like mostly today.

darpoke
darpoke

:-) I agree that the geopolitical site (i.e. jurisdiction) of the cloud service provider plays a fundamental role in deciding their viability as a service host. Nobody would want to trust a company situated in a country with little to no legal protection against data theft, fraud or any other cyber crime. By that measure, however, nobody would want to purchase a car with no brakes. Unsurprisingly, no manufactures have attempted to market one (although fixie bikes are becoming somewhat popular in certain circles - pun intended). What I'm saying is that bad ideas rarely get off the ground, and only idiots don't learn from the mistakes of others, particularly in business. I still don't understand the obsession with arguing against the Google business model - a lot of people still seem to think this is an argument against cloud computing. MacDonalds make some pretty cheap and crappy food, but this doesn't mean that nobody eats out, or that other companies don't have strong business models charging acceptable rates for good quality service. Could someone please give me an argument against cloud computing *as a concept* that doesn't rely on comparison to a specific company's interpretations of it - Google are the only major one people are familiar with, so far - or on the perceived lack of security, when hundreds of successful businesses trade on reputations for being reliable, and thousands of companies rely on secure connectivity propagated over the internet using tunneling and PPK encryption? Sorry, but the phrase 'no-one's done it right yet' doesn't cut it with me.

mailboweb
mailboweb

the crimes that take place in these aria's. Where billions, of what ever currency, is made every year by illegal and criminal actions. Mostly white collar crimes, but also information hijacking and corporate espionage. The only so called trust is with the customer. Its like saying accidents don't happen to me. We must not underestimate the vastness of these operations. And sinds it is not only an US mater but an global one.. Google has centers all over the world, other company's in this aria too. Running only on trust is not very helpful in business. Its an must in some cases but really to think that there is no corporate spying or other means to attain an edge is a little bit naive. Trust does not hold up in court( hope you don't mind) Me personally have no problem sharing my personal stuff, "if I know" it is not misused. For most people it is in deed and bold( or social needed. Do not underestimate this!) move to share there stuff, but most peoples personal "stuff" isn't that interesting anyway. But combined it is an powerful tool and very profitable situation. We all know this, but most of us don't want to care, or rely on others to keep en eye open. And one more thing, not all country's have the same institution as the US. For better or for worse.

darpoke
darpoke

which is why I don't have a Gmail account. Perhaps I was unclear on my first point. What I'm saying is that as a business model, it's pretty damn unique. People may suspect that MS Live snoops through their stuff, but it's only Google so far who've managed to get people to willingly sign LAs to the effect that they acknowledge and accept such prying. The implication being that this is quite hard to do, as most people don't find this acceptable in most settings. I just don't understand why people treat data on the internet as so different to - or inherently more vulnerable than - say, paper documents on their own desks? What if the management who maintain the building where your company has its office decide to let themselves in in out-of-hours and rifle through your filing cabinets? Then put up your trade secrets on eBay. It's a risk, isn't it, in the sense that theoretically it would be very easy to achieve? There's also a clear financial motivation to rob you. And yet companies still boldly rent office space in managed buildings. It's almost as if they trust the existing privacy and contractual laws to protect the confidentiality of their data, and the sanctity of the relationship as established by the contract they signed with the building management. Crazy, capricious fools! @Marty, I agree with you about the trustworthiness of a number of companies out there when it comes to defending your legal privacy rights. It's clearly not acceptable to hand your client's data over to anyone with a Fed badge and the word 'warrant' written on a cocktail napkin. I'm also pretty sure that business leaders would agree with you. If any third party companies out there intend to grow cloud services as a business-to-business service, they'll have to do so by developing a relationship of trust with their clients, or they will never get off the ground. To all those claiming irrationally that there is something fundamentally perilous about cloud computing *as a notion*, not any particular implementation of it, I ask only this: Why are there so many successful companies out there whose core business function is providing service to other companies based on a relationship of trust enforced by legal requirement? I'm talking about couriers, accountancy firms, redundant backup and storage firms (electronic and otherwise). For goodness' sake, how about every ISP who supports companies running VPNs with their road warrior workforce? This comes down to division of labour, pure and simple, and it's as true now as it was for Henry Ford and Adam Smith. The fact that it's an IT service matters not one jot.

chris
chris

You hit on it though... "we the people do gladly give up our rights because we can't be bothered...." People's attitude toward self (immediate savings (money, feeling of security, etc)) gets in the way of really thinking it through and standing for privacy, rights, etc. Do we really need to be strip search every time we get on a plane? I wish people would rebel and just not fly (even one day would get the point across).