Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cloud-based Computing & the Confusion Within.

You know? Some concerns about cloud computing from a doctoral peer are very much a big deal to me as well. Recently, however, I bumped into an article which gave me new hope, albeit with the expectations that we do well implementing what we know works in terms of IT security.

Cloud computing does offer very easily accessed, mammoth quantities of both CPU power and storage. It offers scaling like never before and this, at a very inexpensive investment price. I’m hoping that the Horizon Report 2009 is on target when it states that cloud computing might open “doors to wholly different ways of thinking about computers, software, and files.” We need it in a ghastly way.

Some of the draw backs outlined in the said report include the requirement to entrust your work and applications to the cloud. Who’s in the cloud? Who will supervise this same cloud? Do we not already have enough problems with our current cloud - the Internet? It just isn’t under any particular supervision. Cloud computing might afford us better chances of survival in the WWWW, wild-world-wide-web. The needed trust becomes widely shared with not so questionably reliable entities. This still sounds like a scary proposition to me.

I’ll try to address my peer's two questions with information I recently acquired. It raised my hopes for survival. Mind you, I still think some of our methods are too reactionary.

Q1. When will the government upgrade out infrastructure?

A1: The government seems to have a jump start on this. At least, that is the impression I get from the article I read in the October 2009 edition of ComputerWorld. Here’s the link about it:

CIA building secure cloud-based system
Posted using

The article seems to show that the government is in fact doing what it can to protect critical infrastructures while using a cloud computing approach. Not that they have much of a choice now, do they? As they state, it's been in the making for some time. We just gave it different names. It’s only a partial solution to me though. You’ll note that they do recommend that the cloud be managed very tightly and within the confines of a firewall. Still, that’s a big step forward. Fiber optic, as Barcus suggests, is a good idea since it is virtually impossible to eaves drop on that but, it is enough?

Q2. Will congress past a bill that regulates the trust factor of Cloud Computing host vs. users?

A2: I think that’s a very good question. The only down side to this is that once we create regulation, we then must enforce it. Good side effects come of this too! That is where employment is created to accomplish such tasks. Of note however, is that government regulation about network computing has been chasing its tail. Best be pro-active about everything in every way we know how, today. Wouldn't you agree?

Personally, I find the idea of trusting outside parties with my information scary no matter how it is done. If some are afraid of tagging becoming a part of the birth process, this is not going to help us one iota. I'm left with a few catch-22 questions:

  • Is anything different a realistic choice?
  • If not, how do we build litmus tests and comfort into such technology?

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