The Future is Clearly Cloudy

Axel Buelow, Interim CIO, SAP AG

With all its economic, technological, and strategic advantages, the Cloud is clearly here to stay. But that doesn’t mean it is fully formed. In the years ahead, the Cloud and its related technologies will continue to evolve. Among the developments I envision for the future are:

  • Increasing reliance: Over the next three to five years, a growing number of mobile workers will rely on Cloud services for all aspects of their daily lives. At the same time, enterprises will move more and more of their core business processes to the Cloud.
  • Hybrid model: The model for Cloud services will be a hybrid approach. That is, organizations will use public Cloud and other shared services in combination with “private” clouds that are isolated, restricted, and encrypted. This model will help ensure full access and proper security.
  • Data flows: To ensure that data is not exposed to the wrong people or devices, data flows will be controlled by data labeling and very granular permission models.

Staying Ahead of the Bad Guys
One of the most important prerequisites for the Cloud’s evolution will be security.

In our imperfect world, there will always be bad actors – from amateurs, to government-sponsored hackers, to cyberterrorist groups. And as long as there are, they will work tirelessly to defeat any security measures that are created by our best and brightest engineering minds. The temptation of so much Cloud-based data – which grows every day – is simply too great.

For the software industry, the only answer is to vigilantly protect our customers – one transaction at a time. Technologies such as in-memory computing, which allows real-time monitoring of transactions, help us stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

For example, let’s say someone’s credit card is stolen. An in-memory database can process both structured and unstructured data at unprecedented speeds. So in less than a second, a credit card company can comb through a cardholder’s entire history and identify that a transaction doesn’t fit the customer’s normal spending patterns. Then, they can place an immediate lock on the card.

What’s the Safest Place?
People sometimes ask me where I would store information that I considered to be very private – on a desktop, on a laptop, or in the Cloud. My answer is that I would choose any of these places as long as they had strong encryption.

In the future, the location of data will become less and less relevant, because data will be replicated between all your desktops, laptops, and mobile devices using Cloud storage as connection hub.

Data anywhere at any time will be a fundamental requirement. Therefore, we will need to continually isolate the data flows, and personalize them through encryption, tracking, and labeling.

Learn More
Data security should be everyone’s concern. So if you’d like to learn more, I recommend a new report by Oxford Economics called “Protecting the Cloud.”

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