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Cloud Computing by James F. Ransome, John W. Rittinghouse

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xiii
Foreword
While there is no arguing about the staying power of the cloud model and
the benefits it can bring to any organization or government, mainstream
adoption depends on several key variables falling into alignment that will
provide users the reliability, desired outcomes, and levels of trust necessary
to truly usher in a “cloud revolution.” Until recently, early adopters of cloud
computing in the public and private sectors were the catalyst for helping
drive technological innovation and increased adoption of cloud-based strat-
egies, moving us closer to this inevitable reality. Today, driven in large part
by the financial crisis gripping the global economy, more and more organi-
zations are turning toward cloud computing as a low-cost means of deliver-
ing quick-time-to-market solutions for mission-critical operations and
services. The benefits of cloud computing are hard to dispute:
1. Reduced implementation and maintenance costs
2. Increased mobility for a global workforce
3. Flexible and scalable infrastructures
4. Quick time to market
5. IT department transformation (focus on innovation vs. mainte-
nance and implementation)
6. “Greening” of the data center
7. Increased availability of high-performance applications to small/
medium-sized businesses
Gartner, in a February 2, 2009, press release, posed the question of
why, when “the cloud computing market is in a period of excitement,
growth and high potential. . . [we] will still require several years and many
Foreword.fm Page xiii Friday, May 22, 2009 11:23 AM
xiv Cloud Computing
changes in the market before cloud computing is a mainstream IT effort”?
1
In talking with government and industry leaders about this, it became clear
that the individual concerns and variables that were negatively impacting
business leaders’ thought processes regarding cloud computing (and there-
fore preventing what could be even more growth in this market) could be
boiled down to one addressable need: a lack of understanding. Lets take this
case in point: GTRA research showed that the most common concern about
implementing cloud programs was security and privacy, a finding supported
by an IDC study of 244 CIOs on cloud computing, in which 75% of
respondents listed security as their number-one concern.
2
It is true that
moving from architectures that were built for on-premises services and
secured by firewalls and threat-detection systems to mobile environments
with SaaS applications makes previous architectures unsuitable to secure
data effectively. In addition, at a March 2009 FTC meeting discussing cloud
computing security and related privacy issues, it was agreed that data man-
agement services might experience failure similar to the current financial
meltdown if further regulation was not implemented. In short, some execu-
tives are simply too scared to move forward with cloud initiatives.
However, this concern, while valid, is not insurmountable. Already
there are countless examples of successful cloud computing implementa-
tions, from small organizations up to large enterprises that have low risk tol-
erance, such as the U.S. Department of the Navy. The security community
is also coming together through various initiatives aimed at education and
guidance creation. The National Institute of Standards and Technologies
(NIST) is releasing its first guidelines for agencies that want to use cloud
computing in the second half of 2009, and groups such as the Jericho forum
are bringing security executives together to collaborate and deliver solutions.
As with any emerging technology, there exists a learning curve with regard
to security in a cloud environment, but there is no doubt that resources and
case studies exist today to help any organization overcome this.
The same types of pros and cons listed above can be applied to other
concerns facing executives, such as data ownership rights, performance,
and availability. While these are all valid concerns, solutions do exist and
are being fine-tuned every day; the challenge is in bringing executives out
of a state of unknown and fear and giving them the understanding and
1. “Cloud Application Infrastructure Technologies Need Seven Years to Mature,” Gartner, Inc.,
December 2008.
2. “IT Cloud Services User Study,” IDC, Inc., October 2008.
Foreword.fm Page xiv Friday, May 22, 2009 11:23 AM

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