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James Bellini: Life in the cloud will mean data breaches

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

This article was taken from the October 2011 issue of Wired magazine.

The first myth about cloud computing: despite the hype, the cloud is nothing new. Back in 1961, futurists such as John McCarthy were talking of “computation as a utility”; the first definition of “cloud computing” is credited to Ramnath Chellappa in a Dallas lecture over 14 years ago. And if you accept today’s industry concept of “a dynamically provisioned resource driven by user demand”, then early steam-driven mainframes were cloud personified. They still are: surveys show most mainframe executives see their big iron as a key part of future cloud plans.

What is different is the sheer size of the future-data challenge. The best analogy is electricity. In The Big Switch, Nicholas Carr says that in 1900 the US boasted over 50,000 private power plants, supplying countless factories and mills. Then some bright guys at Edison created a public electric grid that all could plug into — and the economics of business were transformed.

Read more…

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SMEs, the Cloud and the Difference Between Disaster and Disaster Recovery

by By Pete Lamson, E-Commerce Times

The cloud is increasing the effectiveness of small businesses. For example, companies are calling on efficient Web-based services and applications to manage such critical tasks as accounting, customer relationship management, document creation and communication. In addition, cloud storage can simplify a company’s data-protection process in a number of ways.

Many small-business owners may not realize that the cloud plays a big role in their business operations, and its importance is growing every day. I’m often asked, “What exactly is the cloud, and why does my company need it?” Simply put, the cloud hosts resources and applications that are accessed through the Internet, and it now offers small businesses access to powerful capabilities that once were only within reach of larger corporations.

Outsourcers look to data security transparency for competitive advantage

Reports of data breaches and malicious attacks on companies have been rife and now outsourcers are scrambling to reassure their clients, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

It has become vital for companies which provide administration and data services to other businesses to explain how they operate and protect their services to establish and maintain credibility.

According to PwC, an increasing number of outsourcers are working to reassure their stakeholders through an independently assured report that all their processes are robust and client data is safe.

These third-party service organisations are looking to stimulate greater trust among their clients through increased transparency in their controls and turn this into competitive advantage, said PwC.

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EU plans US company cloud ban

July 15, 2011 1 comment

The dark satanic rumour mill is suggesting that the EU will ban cloud based services which are run by US companies.

Our sources say that European commissions are incandescent with rage after discovering that the US intends to apply its Partriot Act to all cloud based services in Europe. Microsoft has already said that it will have to comply.

But it appears to have caught the EU on the hop. Sophie in ‘t Veld, Dutch member of the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee, wants to know how it is possible that the Patriot Act overrules the European data protection laws.

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EU ready to fight Microsoft on access to cloud data

European Parliament members are up in arms after a recent admission by Microsoft that they may be required by the Patriot Act to secretly give U.S. authorities access to European data stored in Microsoft’s cloud.  The controversy stems from the EU’s Data Protection Directive, which dictates that companies must notify users if/when their data is handed over to another party.  If Microsoft is forced to follow Patriot Act guidelines, then that would mean the U.S. law would trump European law.  Some parliamentarians have taken up the cause to prevent that from happening. Read more…

Dropbox’s password nightmare highlights cloud risks

By Julianne Pepitone @CNNMoneyTech

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — It’s the security nightmare scenario: A website stuffed with sensitive documents leaves all of its customer data unprotected and exposed.

It happened this week to Dropbox, a cloud storage site used by 25 million customers to store documents, videos, photos and other files. For four hours on Sunday, a site glitch let visitors use any password to log in to customers’ accounts.

Dropbox fessed up to the mistake in blog post on Monday. A code update gone awry introduced what the site delicately called an “authentication bug.” The error was fixed five minutes after it was discovered, but for a four-hour stretch, the site’s defenses were down. Read more…

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