Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cloud Computing and Sunburn

Can you get sunburn if it’s cloudy outside? The answer is yes, because the clouds don’t block the dangerous rays that burn and cause cancer. Many people believe that the clouds give their skin protection against the sun. This is a big mistake that I’ve found out first hand many times recently. So I tend to put on sun block before I go outside for long days. Our skin is a major asset because it is the first line of defense against infection. We are personally responsible for protecting our asset by applying sun block when needed.

In the information technology industry, Cloud Computing has reminded me of the false sense of security that real clouds have given us. Recently the T-Mobile/Microsoft Sidekick data loss debacle has put into question the reliability of Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage. It is important to remember, when we outsource services and infrastructure to the Cloud, we don’t outsource responsibility.

The T-Mobile Sidekick issue affected many consumers. Just imagine if this was a billion dollar sales organization which lost sales leads, bad news. Several Google Apps services have been disrupted lately, thank goodness there has been no data loss associated with those outages. If Google were to lose my critical data, whose fault would it be for no back-ups? The old saying goes, “When you point your finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing back at you.”

I believe that Cloud solution providers will do their best job (hopefully) to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their client's data. When it comes down to it, each organization still must accept responsibility and accountability for their critical assets. If you moved to the Cloud, your business continuity and disaster recovery plans should reflect the worst case scenario.

This means you should have some sort of limited backups that your organization controls. At least perform an assessment of what the minimum requirements are, and then make plans accordingly. I’m not telling you anything new here, it takes a bit of effort. Who are we kidding? Hard drives fail, tape backups didn’t backup anything, back-ups fall off trucks, dog ate my homework, etc…

No one, not even the Cloud, is going to do your pushups for you. Cloud Computing won’t keep your organization from getting burned.

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