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Private Clouds Trade Benefits for Security

by on February 15, 2010

Cloud_computing Corporations guard their data jealously, and who can blame them? In the Information Age, data is to business as blood is to life. So it’s not surprising that any paradigm that removes an enterprise’s direct control of its data would be looked at with the same horror as a gaping chest wound.

That’s why cloud computing, despite its promise, has met stiff resistance in some quarters of the business world. That resistance notwithstanding, the power of the cloud has been difficult to discount, which is why several companies are borrowing some of the paradigm’s principles and deploying them in so-called “private clouds.” 

When these private clouds, or pclouds, are launched, they have all the buff and polish of a public cloud. Moreover, they can eliminate some waste and duplication of IT resources. But their functionality can deteriorate very quickly. 

Their insular nature removes them from the kind of continuous collective scrutiny and collaborative innovation that are hallmarks of the public cloud. Operators of public clouds are under competitive pressure to produce. Operators of private clouds are not. If the operator of a public cloud doesn’t produce, customers are lost. If the pcloud operator doesn’t produce, he or she can be rewarded for meeting budgetary goals.

Ironically, those goals may be better met by a public cloud where costs can be spread across many users rather than a few, but cost savings alone aren’t compelling enough to overcome an organization’s compulsion to control its data. To do that, a public cloud provider must ensure secure encrypted connections and storage for its customers, offer clear data ownership and backup strategies, and provide detailed service agreements.

And of course, they should also have clearly defined exit strategies should a customer want to terminate the relationship with the provider or if the provider goes out of business.

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