The cloud has been a disruptive force in the enterprise IT community, enabling expanded productivity for employees and introducing new considerations for management. As the relatively young technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, a number of security teams are already anxious about the foreboding task standing before them.
The cloud represents a sea change in how computing resources are provisioned, accessed and secured. Data protection professionals have had to learn these new rules on the job, however, as most organizations have authorized deployment to take advantage of operational improvements that are seemingly too good to pass up.
One of the most fundamental differences, according to Intel product marketing engineer James Greene, comes at the core of IT operation – the data center.
"Traditional data centers often embrace physical isolations and controls. One can separate workloads or systems and lock them up," Greene explained in a recent interview with Data Center Knowledge. "You build a formidable firewall that basically assumes anything from the outside is bad and anything on the inside is good."
This sense of physical isolation evaporates in the cloud, according to Greene, as data, applications and systems are placed in multi-tenant environments. As seen with the advent of the laptop years ago, the portability of assets outside of company walls demands a reformulation of data security plans.
As IT teams continue to grapple with these fundamental complexities, cloud computing innovation has continued full steam ahead. And as the pace of modern business demands cutting-edge tools and bulletproof performance, security considerations may once again get lost in the shuffle.
In a survey of 163 network management professionals conducted by Network Instruments, analysts discovered that anxieties over performance and bandwidth management, application troubleshooting and the rise of videoconferencing are all weighing heavily on corporate technology teams.
For instance, 60 percent of respondents suggested that their organizations will be hosting more than half of their application catalog in the cloud within 12 months, yet 83 percent cited root-source problem solving as their greatest challenge during migration. As companies adopt and develop richer applications containing sensitive information, 74 percent of respondents indicated that corporate data security was their chief concern in cloud migrations.
Aside from everyday applications, videoconferencing is also expected to achieve mainstream acceptance. Seventy percent of respondents indicated that they plan to implement the technology within the next year, and one in four went so far as to suggest video will consume more than half of their total network bandwidth by the beginning of 2013.
"While IT teams embrace cloud services and videoconferencing as a way to increase cost savings and business flexibility, these technologies introduce new components and environments which make ensuring positive end-user experience all the more challenging," explained Network Instruments spokesman Brad Reinboldt. "The reported lack of monitoring tools, quality metrics and visibility create serious obstacles that prevent IT from effectively managing performance and jeopardize costly technology investments."
As companies usher in the new era of the social enterprise, IT managers may find it increasingly difficult to hold off business executives pushing for expanded video capabilities. According to FierceContentManagement, Gartner vice president Whit Andrews recently suggested that enterprise employees will be watching approximately 16 hours of video each month in 2016. As companies embrace this "post-literate era," they will likely be forced to rip up current infrastructure and make even deeper investments in the cloud.
With this maelstrom of technological developments and business priorities vying for the time and attention of IT teams, it appears as if the task standing before data protection professionals may demand a moment of inspiration and new insight.
Cloud Computing News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro