February 13, 2012

Cloud Connect 2012-Five Things You Need To Do Now

by Cary J. Calderone, Esq.

One of the advantages I have being based here in San Francisco is I can report on technology innovations as they happen in Silicon Valley,  long before lawyers get information at legal shows and can consider how these technologies may affect work at their firms.  The Cloud Industry Summit was the original focus for what has grown into the Cloud Connect show.  Attending last year I felt I had advanced knowledge of what was going on with the Cloud and this year is no different.  Kamesh Pemmaraju of Sand Hill spoke of major announcements about new Cloud services that will keep your data for you, behind your firewall.  In other words, there is another major security road block that has been cleared for many companies wishing to take advantage of Cloud services.   One of the most important best-practice takeaways came from Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovations Officer, Dell, inc., who kicked off the Industry Summit.  He talked about the evolution of the Cloud and gave 5 Things To Do Now!
  1. Prepare-Use virtualization in production environments and review your current applications.
  2. Move something to the Cloud today-Email, or storage, or something in the backlog.
  3. Establish a Cloud Strategy-What can move next?  Which legacy applications must be replaced? 
  4. Prioritize-Determine which workloads are optimized in the Cloud and which are not?
  5. Leverage-Where might infrastructure or service in the cloud increase your innovation?
On behalf of my brethren in the law, I would add a 6th step.  Or, maybe the ongoing underlying consideration of all 5 steps-legal and regulatory requisites.  We know that certain types of data must be safeguarded in specific ways.  However, more than ever, I believe the security issues in most situations are likely to be better addressed by robust Cloud providers than by any individual company.   This thought was echoed by panel presenters.  I know what you are thinking.  It is shocking that at a Cloud Connect show, speakers would believe data is safer in the Cloud.   But, their arguments are valid.  Nobody is more concerned with, or more capable of dealing with new security breaches, than those whose livelihoods depend upon it.   I made this observation long ago (link) and still agree.  Jerry Caron, VP of Analysis, IT Connection Group, pointed out that old servers and systems run by understaffed and under-trained IT departments are likely to be much bigger security risks.  

James Staten, VP and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, Inc. also commented on security.   He believes Cloud providers when they say, "we do security better than you do."  He also noted that there will always be major security issues that need to be addressed by company policies.   In other words, who stops your employees from putting private protected information up in the Cloud?  Hopefully, you do.  He also noted that one of the biggest concerns, privacy protection, is a big opportunity.  Individual companies will follow the model of payroll and benefits and outsource to a company that knows all the privacy rules for all the countries, and can store and manage their data accordingly.  He also noted a few potential hurdles:  
  1. Not all countries have established privacy rules, and 
  2. Not all countries have data centers.  You may need to partner locally, have a local presence, or, be sure to use a Safe Harbor to handle the data.  
My favorite tweet line came from Glenn Solomon, General Partner, GGV Capital-"Cloud is like the Adele of the technology industry-a voice that comes along only once every 20 years."   
On balance, the Cloud Industry Summit was great!   I look forward to seeing presentations over the next few days, to learn more of the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of the realization of the big predictions today's speakers outlined.

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