Where you stand on cloud security depends on where you sit. Views differ, sometimes sharply, according to the title of the respondent. For example, 52% of business-unit heads say that the biggest challenges they face from cloud computing is ensuring consistent security. CEOs see things the same way, but IT executives (39%) and executives in operations (30%) are less likely to list security as their top challenge.
Why the disconnect? IT and operations have a more granular focus on all aspects of cloud computing, which gives them a variety of things to worry about, from regulatory compliance (a major concern for operations) to avoiding silos in information and business process flows (more of an issue for IT than any other group). CEOs and business-unit heads, meanwhile, are most attuned to the high-level business risks of security problems.
This pattern continues as one looks deeper into the survey data. For example, CEOs are more focused on the financial risks of cloud adoption (70% concerned or highly concerned) than are IT executives (58%); CEOs also worry more about brand and reputation risk (62% vs. 54%), while IT is somewhat more concerned with the nuts-and-bolts of regulatory compliance than chief executives.
The lesson from these numbers is unsurprising, but bears repeating: Security in the cloud is a multi-faceted problem that presents issues across the enterprise.
5 Pillars Of Enterprise PaaS Strategy (Information Week): More enterprises are embracing PaaS, but it isn’t easy to know the right way to use these systems. This five-point strategy from InformationWeek outlines the strategies companies should implement to take full advantage of PaaS.
Cloud Storage in 2014: 10 Bold Predictions (eWeek): TwinStrata founder and CEO Nicos Vekiarides explains his predictions for the new year, which focus on the expansion of cloud capabilities and new responses to security concerns.
Connecting clouds and building joint business networks via cloud platforms can simplify the integration process, especially with the use of IaaS and PaaS. Yet it is critical for business and IT executives to avoid thinking of cloud tools and technologies as simple plug-and-play options, tempting though that idea may be when many services can be switched on with nothing more than a credit card. The reality is that a robust infrastructure and integration strategy is required to achieve maximum value from cloud networks, expanding their capabilities.
And these capabilities are wide-ranging, including mobile services, social media, and Big Data analytics—all of which must also be integrated. Another pressing need is for consistent data across an entire IT environment, including internal servers, virtualized systems, and cloud systems and platforms. A growing stream of unstructured data—audio, photos, video, e-mails, text messages, text files, metadata, and so on—must coexist with structured data that is slotted into conventional databases. Finally, the focus must always remain on security.
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A growing number of organizations are adopting IT frameworks that support the rapid deployment of mobile functions through cloud platforms. The survey finds that 47% have launched a managed service offering for mobility, 35% have released a request for proposal (RFP) for a project, 34% have conducted a proof of concept, and 40% have a cloud-based mobile app platform in production. Cloud leaders are significantly more likely than other firms to have a cloud-based mobile app platform in production.
They are using this approach to produce more robust applications and capabilities, and sometimes to provide platforms that enable business partners to develop mobile applications, services, and tools for their customers. In many cases, these cloud platforms deliver a more efficient business and IT model with far fewer roadblocks to data than traditional client-server architecture with standalone databases.
Why Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery Makes Sense (Forbes): Companies need to be able to recover data quickly after unexpected disasters strike, and cloud-based disaster recovery systems offer flexibility, scalability, and power to ensure a business’s quick recovery after an incident.
Technologies such as business management software and analytics, once the domain of large enterprises, have become increasingly available to SMEs. At the same time, newer tools such as social media, mobile, and the cloud have become essential almost overnight. Along with the opportunities afforded by these technologies come some significant cultural challenges.
For example, more than one-third of respondents (35%) say their adoption of cloud computing—an innovation that enables SMEs to more cost-effectively adopt enterprise software and free up resources for innovation—is hindered by a lack of organizational understanding of the technology’s benefits. Another one-fifth (19%) cite employees’ unwillingness to cede control of IT systems. In both cases, Latin American firms are most likely to encounter such obstacles.
The holidays are around the corner, most major retailers have already released their annual toy catalogs. It’s not surprising that many of this year’s most sought-after toys use new technology to appeal to children, reviving and adding new dimensions to classic games. Some toy companies are even leveraging cloud technology to improve their products or adapting cloud-based technology for children’s use. Here is a look at a few of this year’s cloud-powered toys:
1) Disney’s DreamPlay: Certain new Disney toys are designed to work alongside an app trained to recognize them. When a mobile device’s camera is focused on a compatible toy, one of thousands of images and animated clips stored on remote servers is streamed to the device, giving new life to well-known characters.
2) Meep! tablet for kids: The market for kids’ tablets is growing rapidly, appealing to children with entertainment options designed for them and to parents with its control options. Of course this tablet’s app use the cloud, but one of the best new uses allows parents to set controls on the tablet remotely, from any device.
3) Cloud Robot: An update of the ‘70s classic “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots,” these physical robots are controlled through the user’s app when they are placed in a designated boxing ring. The robots’ movements are also displayed on the app, and robots can fight remotely when two users connect over their tablet or smartphone.
The Quest to Build an NSA-proof cloud (The Atlantic): The EU continues to move forward with plans to establish Europe’s central cloud that would guarantee data protection and provide competitive advantage by capitalizing on current distrust of US providers like Amazon and Google.
Many people see in cloud computing only the people-centric, mobile-first, and analytic-driven applications which can be purchased with a credit card. This would undervalue the transformative power of the cloud.
If your cloud vision is narrowed down to SFA (sales force automation) or even any cloud CRM, then you need to accept that your applications will be siloed and integration with the rest of the business will be ad hoc at best.
A quick fix cloud application can become a long-term business problem when there is no integration between the application and the rest of the organization, especially at a process level.
To truly leverage the cloud for your business, cloud applications need to be considered in conjunction with a modern platform (PaaS) AND flexible integration capabilities. SAP has taken this kind of holistic portfolio approach (more details here).