Commentary

Not All Clouds Will Be Equal

Maryann Lawlor, SIGNALScape,  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

While the general perception is that a cloud is a cloud, that won’t be the case for government agencies. Experts revealed more specifics about federal, state and local migration to cloud computing during the first panel at AFCEA International’s Homeland Security Conference. Eventually a governmentwide cloud for all services and data may be created, but today, while some services can move to the cloud environment, others will require customized clouds. For example, email services are a good candidate for the cloud, but those agencies that require extra security are likely to create private clouds for data storage and exchange. The latter not only applies to the usual suspects of national security agencies but also to local and regional law enforcement agencies that need to restrict access and protect information during ongoing investigations

Survey: Cost savings key driver for government cloud adoption

Camille Tuutti, Federal Computer Week,  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The public sector is inching closer to a more widespread adoption of cloud computing, with cost savings cited as the greatest driver for state, local and federal governments, and governments around the world. A new survey from auditing firm KPMG shows that more than 40 percent of government respondents globally say they are already testing or implementing cloud solutions, and nearly 30 percent are working on a cloud strategy.

Plan ahead for cloud computing breaches in cloud contracts, experts say

Marcia Savage, SearchCloudSecurity.com,  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What do you do if your cloud provider is breached? Well, hopefully you’ve already planned for it ahead of time in your cloud contract. At the RSA Conference 2012 on Tuesday, a session offered advice to cloud users on how to plan for cloud computing breaches in their cloud computing contracts. Contracts “are an important initial line of defense in dealing with breaches in the cloud,” said James Shreve, an attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of BuckleySandler LLP.

Cloud computing may disrupt your workplace -- in a good way

Joseph Marks, Nextgov,  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cloud computing has the power to break down office walls by allowing teleworkers to be just as productive as their office-bound peers, advocates say. Others predict it will break the tyranny of the email inbox, replacing it with more collaborative communications and tear down procurement barriers that have kept federal technology stuck behind the private sector. At least that's the sunny vision painted by proponents of cloud computing, which essentially trades in the old model of computing as a commodity, where data and applications typically are stored on-site in a chilly basement, for a software-as-a-service model, where data and applications are kept in remotely managed computer banks. Cloud-based software and services are provided over the Internet and agencies pay only for what they need, much as they do for utilities like electricity and water. By centralizing computing and data storage for a dispersed workforce, managers also can more easily update and patch software and secure information more efficiently.

Google does not keep data for ever

Peter Barron (Google) via Financial Times,  Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sir, Your Comment article by Richard Falkenrath (“Google must remember our right to be forgotten”, February 15) contained several misleading assertions. The piece suggested that through its Apps for Education programme, Google seeks to hold students’ data for ever and to make money from those data by integrating them with our other services. Google does not maintain users’ files indefinitely: users can delete their data at any time. Nor do we combine Apps for Education data with Google’s other services – including the provision of advertising – unless the account administrator chooses to switch on these services. Our new privacy policy will not change that.

Cyber Insecurity

General Michael Hayden by General Michael Hayden, Chertoff Group
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Gen. Hayden talks about companies and governments' vulnerability to hacking on Bloomberg West.

4 Cloud Computing Pain Points That Still Hurt

Charles Babcock, InformationWeek,  Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At this month's Cloud Connect event, David Linthicum, CTO of Blue Mountain Labs, gave an informative one-hour talk on cloud architecture and design. It concluded with a list of 17 steps to getting it right. "Most of this is just common sense," he told the crowd. To a practiced architect it may be common sense, but to some first-time implementers, it's clearly a challenge. The fact that 17 steps are involved may indicate that when it comes to cloud computing, common sense may be less common than some imagine.

Does Google's New Policy Really Protect Student Privacy in the Cloud?

Andrew Weis by Andrew Weis, Aveshka, Inc.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

At an increasing number of colleges nationwide, the traditional model for student e-mail services featuring on-campus data centers and clunky user interfaces is out. In its place, education institutions are gravitating toward "cloud-based" e-mail offerings that are less expensive to implement, more user-friendly, and more feature-rich than conventional services. In one example, students using Google Apps for Education can send correspondence to professors, chat with their friends, share and collaborate on projects and presentations, and even organize student groups all via a single set of online services.

From the Experts: Cloud Computing's Hidden Export Regulation Risks

Chad Breckinridge, Law.com Corporate Counsel,  Monday, February 27, 2012

Thousands of Americans export data overseas every day without U.S. government authorizations and don’t even know it. How? By using cloud-computing services, ranging from personal services like Gmail to large-scale enterprise data storage solutions. While cloud-based services have become a valuable tool for improving efficiency, outdated government regulation leaves cloud users exposed.

Data loss statistics: Emerging culprits

Christina Torode, IT Knowledge Exchange TotalCIO blog,  Monday, February 27, 2012

Many of the technologies businesses rely on to create new services, make workers more productive and serve customers better are the ones most likely to lead to data loss, according to data loss statistics gathered by a recent security study from IT industry association CompTIA. The “leading culprit” is data in motion, according to the online survey of 1,183 IT and business executives involved in setting security policies for their organization. In other words, all that data being accessed through unsecured Wi-Fi networks, sent through unencrypted emails, and downloaded to USB drives or websites is putting organizations at risk.