Cloud solutions racing ahead

2013-09-02 08:25
Computer server. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Computer server. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Cloud solutions are making their way into companies as more organisations consider the use of online platforms to reduce costs, a survey has showed.

According to data from industry tracker Gartner, 80% of organisations indicated they intend to use cloud solutions within the next year, even though 55% of those have no cloud platform in place currently.

The results are an indicator of the rush to implement internet cloud solutions and major software providers have been racing to fill the expected demand.

"By taking control of cloud deployments, companies can seize advantage of the flexibility and cost savings associated with the cloud, while minimising the data control and security risks linked with rogue cloud use," said Mark Smissen, business development manager for in Africa.

Despite the hype, some experts have warned that internet cloud solutions pose in inherent risk to business operations.

IT budgets

"A lot of regulatory stuff is advertised on most of these cloud providers, but the fact that it says it on the box, doesn't mean it's what's in the box," Dave Maskell, security consultant at BUI told News24.

BUI is a cloud security and management company and has Microsoft Security Solutions as a major focus. As cloud solutions become more pervasive for home and business users, technologies have to keep abreast of security trends.

The Gartner survey revealed that although cloud solutions are taking up much attention, it makes up a relatively small portion of IT budgets.

"Given that the use of cloud services currently constitutes only a very small part of the vast enterprise IT market, strategic planners should not make the mistake of taking current cloud use cases to be predictors of future cloud use," said Gregor Petri, research director at Gartner.

Cloud solutions are expected to reduce the cost of doing business and allow for collaboration across different divisions.

"Cloud computing is set to have a considerable impact on business in the future which is reflected in the survey finding that around 60% of organisations plan increased investment over the next two years to five years, while only 6% plan to decrease investments in cloud services," Petri added.

With the revelations of the US government programme of data gathering through the NSA, many have expressed concern at the integrity of data hosted in servers out of South Africa's legal jurisdiction.

Legal wrangling

"If someone is trying to enforce their position in a foreign jurisdiction, they will claim that the data is managed by that sovereign area, and similarly the person in the opposing country will have a different view and falls in the realm of private international law," JJ Milner, managing director of Global Micro Solutions told News24 about the sovereignty of data.

The issue is subject to legal wrangling and in SA, even though companies can typically put data in the internet cloud for lower cost than local storage, it may expose them to security risks.

Google was recently ordered to hand over user data to the FBI under the agency's "national security letters" which do not require judicial oversight.

"We are disappointed that the same judge who declared these letters unconstitutional is now requiring compliance with them," said Kurt Opsah, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation about the decision, though Google has the right to appeal.

The internet giant and Microsoft recently announced that they would collaborate in a lawsuit to expose the extent of US government user data requests made under the auspices of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Gartner will host a symposium on cloud, solutions in Cape Town on 16 - 18 September.

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Read more on:    gartner  |  internet

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