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Roundtable: Every cloud has a silver lining

Edward Lim | April 2, 2013
Concerns about security, cost and connectivity when adopting cloud solutions dominated discussions at an Executive Roundtable held in Singapore recently.

Cloud solutions are getting much attention from organisations of all sizes, not just multinational corporations but also small and medium businesses. It's an option that many are considering as they seek to grow their business, improve efficiencies and lower operational costs.

While infrastructure was a major concern last year, this year's flavour seems to be security. CIOs are also concerned with cost and connectivity, according to discussions at a CIO Asia Executive Roundtable held in Singapore on March 1, 2013, sponsored by Telstra.

Security Challenge
"From a technology point of view, cloud computing has got a lot of pluses. Events such as Hurricane Sandy and the storm in New York highlight to us that this is where the cloud could potentially help us. But, if you look within the business, there are more security gaps than pros for the cloud," said Armik Ayoubdel, chief information officer, ICAP.

Armik Ayoubdel
Photo: Armik Ayoubdel

"Service providers need to put to bed security concerns. In the financial services industry, we cannot afford to get hacked. That gap needs to be closed down," he added.

Lim Jit Dong, IT director, Squire Mech, concurred with that concern. "I am convinced about the cloud. My concerns are security and protection of information. In our business, we deal with a lot of infrastructure information. Our concern is how to protect our data in the cloud. We need to be assured of data integrity and that there will be no data loss," he said.

Lim Jit Dong
Photo: Lim Jit Dong

According to Richard Duggan, executive vice president, Solution Sales and Channels, Telstra Global, data privacy is more a local than a regional or global issue.

Richard Duggan
Photo: Richard Duggan

"One of the reasons is data sovereignty. At a macro level, having cloud nodes in the relevant countries helps us manage that for our customers. If you come down into individual organisations, the issue becomes one of separation. Even in enterprises, there are security gaps. Many years ago, we were also concerned with separation with Frame Relay," he noted.

Service provider Telstra takes the risk of data loss very seriously. Duggan pointed out that his company ensures that separation is factored in the design of its infrastructure for delivering cloud services.

Certification may be one way of helping to address security concerns with cloud solutions.

"Having some form of security certification would give us a level of assurance," said Lim.

Duggan noted that Telstra is involved in different forums looking after the evolution of some of these certifications. "But these are early days. There are lots of influence from different vendors who are looking at separation differently. At this point in time, that certification is still a way off," he said.


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