I am back on the theme of cloud security. Why cloud security again ? Because cloud security raised its head again last week on a consultancy assignment I undertook. My client requires a new business application. This is available as Software as a Service(SaaS), but can also be purchased as a self hosted application. On the analysis I provided, my client could see many business advantages that a cloud solution could provide them – significant cost savings, transparent scalability, an ability to improve business process efficiency, more effective use of staff time …. the list continued. On the downside, security of the cloud was the factor that was pulling the company away from the cloud.
When I questioned which aspects of security were the primary concerns they listed data privacy and access control and then added availability and reliability. Ok, I know these are not all security but they were perceived as security issues by my client. I know from other consulting assignments and also from teaching the Learning Tree Cloud Computing course that many people have exactly these concerns and see them as a barrier to cloud adoption.
As an example of SaaS that works in a secure, highly available and reliable manner I provided the example of SalesForce.com. Here is an organisation that has been providing SaaS for over 10 years. This company has over a million users, all of who have data that is stored securely, and accessed with high availability and reliability. They have major customers such as Starbucks and Cisco. SalesForce.com show their availability, reliability and performance statistics to all users in real time – an approach that builds confidence based on transparency. The reason I use SalesForce.com as an example is that they prove that Cloud Computing works – over a million user cannot be wrong surely ?
Now, just because SalesForce.com works does not mean everything cloud related will work too. However, they are an example of a company doing things incredibly well and providing major benefits to their customers. There are many other cloud providers who do similar great things. The key in selecting a Cloud Computing provider is understanding the cloud and knowing what questions to ask of a provider. Its this kind of knowledge that is gained in Learning Tree’s Cloud Computing course which provides a vendor neutral technical and business view of Cloud Computing.