Confused about cloud computing? Wondering how – and if – you should use it? Chances are, you’ve been using it for years already – and the good news is that it’s no more or less secure than your current computing set-up, says Intel’s Greg Cline.
“Storing your stuff in the cloud is nothing new. In fact, we’ve been doing it for years: we’ve just been calling it webmail and Facebook,” said Cline. “The Internet not only gave us access to any information under the sun, but also rang in a new era for how we access and store data. The bottom line is that there is no turning back to a world pre-Internet and pre-cloud.”
But while the average person on the street does not think twice about sharing details of their everyday lives on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, many small businesses are still hesitant about embracing this concept. Nine times out of ten, the concern here is around security and the unknown.
“The digitalisation of our lives is exploding,” says Cline.” Music downloads are surpassing CD sales. E-books went from a novelty to a billion-dollar market in a flash. Streaming video is becoming the preferred way to watch movies and television. Consumers are doing away with physical libraries filled with photo albums, DVDs, CDs and books in their homes, so shouldn’t business follow suit?”
Storing data, and accessing applications, from the cloud provides the perfect opportunity for businesses of all sizes to re-architect their technology approach and infrastructure says Cline. “And now that employees of all levels are demanding that they be able to use their personal devices in the workplace, the cloud is a phenomenon that technology decision-makers in companies cannot ignore.”
But is it safe? Keeping data secure will always be a contentious issue for people, both in their personal and business capacities. Cline believes securing the cloud is no different from securing the rest of your IT infrastructure: “If your organisation does not have clear security policies today, then that is your first step. You should not be re-inventing any security wheels, but rather make sure that current security practices or the best-practices of a cloud provider is up to standard. Behind every cloud is a network and data center that needs to operate within the same security principles and mandates that your network does for on-premise consumption.”
“In the end, businesses need to decide up-front if the risk of moving sensitive data and applications to an emerging infrastructure like the cloud is too much. All I know is cloud computing is a rapidly evolving landscape – one that requires us to stay current or fall behind.”