Access and Feeds

Cloud Computing: Security Concerns Blown out of Proportion?

By Dick Weisinger

The main themes at the DreamForce 2011 event sponsored by Salesforce.com in San Francisco were social, mobile and the cloud.

On the cloud themeVivek Kundra,  and in his  last few days as Federal IT CIO, said at DreamForce that it is ‘ridiculous’ for Federal agencies to dither on their decision to move to the cloud because of concerns over security and privacy.  The reason?   “Security and privacy … in some ways are very unfounded and ridiculous (reasons) because the US government has outsourced over 4,700 systems.”  The question of security and privacy has never been an issue in the discussion of these other traditionally outsourced systems.  Why now?

Kundra continued to urge federal agencies to stay the course in the direction towards the cloud that he has led during his role as Federal CIO.  Kundra spoke wasted dollars on federal projects that have failed, costing millions of dollars, and which he believes could have been successful if they had been executed via the cloud.  Kundra said that “in federal government alone we spent $80 billion a year on IT and one of the most frustrating issues for me has been to see project after project fail because it was based on the old IT model.”

Kundra predicted that the cloud will be adopted globally by governments in the not distant future for efficiently and cost effectively meeting computing needs.  And he emphasized that in this tough economic climate that we’re living through, not moving to the cloud would be a mistake.

On the social media theme, Salesforce.com touted a number of new social media features and enhancements to its software.  Like many other vendors that have been inspired by the consumer success of companies like Facebook and Twitter, Salesforce.com is trying to add social media capabilities into its software to make it more relevant and also a strong platform for collaboration.  But the focus is a bit of a gamble.  Not all companies are convinced that social media will be able to show any significant payback.  Many companies may not  currently have the type of business culture where social media would flourosh.  Vanessa Thompson, IDC analytst, said that “the social enterprise isn’t an IT conversation, it’s a business conversation . . . it’s a business cultural change conversation.”

And on the mobile theme, Salesforce.com announced support for  HTML5.  Salesforce.com will offer Touch.Salesforce.com which will be able to offer rich browser-based applications on touch-enabled devices like Apple’s iPad.  Salesforce.com is just one of many companies that have released or announced future support for HTML5-based technologies.

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