Thursday, February 26, 2009

Holes in the Cloud

At last year’s FOSE conference Google’s senior sales and marketing representative Dave Girouard stood in front of nearly 1,000 federal government IT and network management executives with a message about security and the cloud.

Girouard argued that government agencies that move their applications, information and content to Google’s data centers will actually be more secure because managing the cloud is the foundation of the company’s core competencies. If Google ever violated this trust because of a breach or lack of access, their business would suffer.

Like most of the attendees of that FOSE keynote, I didn’t believe it then and, in the wake of continued outages of Google’s Gmail, I’m certainly not buying it now.

I don’t appear to be the only one. A recent survey from Kelton Research and IT consultancy Avanade concluded that business and technology managers understand the value of cloud computing, yet fears about security and data control continue to depress adoption.

Software-as-a-Service vendors (SaaS) and providers of hosted solutions will continue to gain traction in areas like CRM, sales force automation and email/digital subscription management. The value proposition of the SaaS delivery model is too compelling (i.e. cost savings, ease of implementation, etc.).

Yet, good luck convincing customers (especially government agencies) to give up control of their mission critical data. There are just too many potential holes in the cloud.

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