How Secure is the Cloud?


I was having a discussion with some friends the other day about cloud computing. It’s to the point where even people who aren’t really tech-savvy understand something about “the cloud.” They’ve seen a lot of news stories or TV ads.

What that means is that cloud-based services have become an entrenched part of the way we think about computing. From online storage to services such as, we have largely become far more comfortable about doing business “in the cloud” than we thought possible even just a few years ago.

But make no mistake, cloud computing is not yet fully mature; it continues to evolve, and for the better. The analysts at Research and Markets Ltd. have just issued a new report that outlines projected changes and improvements over the next four years.  Perhaps the analysts’ biggest prediction is that by next year, “many of the fears associated with Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), such as lack of standards, transaction and data/security integrity, will be resolved, with customers realizing that its value lies less with cost savings and more with agility (for large enterprises), and service levels and compliance (for SMBs).”  

Think about that: the analysts are saying that companies will have resolved concerns about whether its information is secure in the cloud, and moved to more core business issues, like, “how can I do business more effectively?” As further proof, they’re predicting that within four years, two-thirds of all new business applications will be run in the cloud.

We’re already seeing a strong trend among our business customers in that direction.  Our data centers offer a wide range of cloud options; public, private or hybrid—all designed to provide the significant level of security required by firms of all sizes to protect their infrastructure and data from unauthorized access. And since Windstream has data centers in key locations throughout the country, our customers know their information is accessible and safe, regardless of when they need it.

Research and Markets also predicts that companies will drive the transition toward cloud-based IaaS and over the next several years, and that the IT industry will keep up and change along with them. The result, the analysts say, will be the “boundary-free enterprise.”

While “the cloud” may be the stuff of today’s TV ads, it reminds me of the hoopla when “the Internet” first burst into public awareness. What was novel then is now integrated and accepted as an essential part of the way companies do business. I believe we’re heading down the same path with cloud computing.