Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Is there an 'Unreasonable Fear' of Cloud Technology?

Following service interruptions last week in Amazon's cloud computing web services, as well as the downing of Sony's PlayStation Network online services, Is There an "unreasonable fear" of the cloud?

Cloud computing often means that information and services are stored on shared remote computers and accessed via the Internet, the "cloud" theoretically reducing a company or individual's storage requirements and costs. Businesses and services that use the cloud range from Netflix to Hotmail.
The term cloud, however, can be used in varying ways, and in the broad sense, it could include Sony's PlayStation Network online services, which was down for a full month. It's been a wake-up call. A lot of people assumed the use of the cloud was kind of a magic bullet, the lesson is that you have to treat your cloud like any aspect of your IT infrastructure and you have to architect appropriately for it. 

The PlayStation Network looks like it is a hack of some sort. Honestly, I'm shocked, The Sony situation sounds like they got access to administrator accounts, so the full damage is not yet known. It is possible, in theory, that they got access to credit card information and that they got access to content.

The Sony online services were suspended April 20 due to "an external intrusion on our system, Sony service resumed on Sunday. I think in order for Sony to resolve this matter, it will involve re-building their systems to further strengthen their network infrastructure. Though this task is time-consuming, it is worth the time necessary to provide the system with additional security."
Meanwhile, Amazon offers public cloud services which are maintained at multiple data centers in various cities and countries that are used by a wide variety of businesses and customers. Service interruptions last month that originated at its Northern Virginia data center brought down or disrupted websites for clients. The incident brought into question a need for redundancies and backup. In some of these cases, the sites that went out did not avail themselves to all the backup capabilities that Amazon offered.

I think the biggest lesson I'm seeing in this is that even if you use clouds as part of your strategy in IT and there is no reason not to do that even if you have your own local system, it can be insecure. If you are going to use external providers, you still have to architect for these situations. If that system is going to go down or be compromised, you need to have a backup plan. Either you need to pay for what these services such as Amazon offer for backup and even then I'm not sure it is sufficient or you need to be prepared to operate in multiple clouds using multiple vendors. Or, you need to have a combination of private cloud and public cloud.

Another lesson in contracting with these companies, it may be appropriate to have liability clauses so that if something does go wrong, you have recourse, you have to have backup that is the point. All of these things hacking, technical problems could have happened if you don't use the cloud. So I wouldn’t recommend saying ‘don’t use the cloud.’ The cloud is an amazing resource. Users just have to be realistic about these types of failures. With the way the technology is always improving, there are more solutions for example you can now handle your data in the cloud without storing your data in the cloud

To learn more about the cloud and the best strategy to use for your business, Read MAHESHA PANDIT blog here http://letitscale.blogspot.com/

What Do You Think? Can you trust the Cloud?........

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