A prism changes your way of looking at the world: how PRISM affects your cloud strategy

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It was considered to be an open secret and there have always been indicators that attested to it but now it is an established fact. The PRISM surveillance affair has caused a worldwide furore. Official agencies went so far as to say that it is something that must be accepted because it ultimately affects the national security of the United States. Against this background, many companies are asking themselves how the confidentiality of their business-critical data can be ensured with reference to their cloud computing strategies. Companies find themselves in a strongly dependent relationship with technology and communications solutions over which the cloud already exerts a considerable influence.

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A prism changes your way of looking at the world: how PRISM affects your cloud strategy

  1. 1. 2013 © All rights reserved – openQRM Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 1A prism changes your way of looking at the world: howPRISM affects your cloud strategyCologne, 11/06/2013 – It was considered to be an open secret and there have always been indica-tors that attested to it but now it is an established fact. The PRISM surveillance affair has caused aworldwide furore. Official agencies went so far as to say that it is something that must be acceptedbecause it ultimately affects the national security of the United States. Against this background,many companies are asking themselves how the confidentiality of their business-critical data canbe ensured with reference to their cloud computing strategies. Companies find themselves in astrongly dependent relationship with technology and communications solutions over which thecloud already exerts a considerable influence.Assuming that the US and its intelligence agencies continue their monitoring activities, the questionarises as to whether public cloud services should continue to be used. In terms of alternatives, issetting up a private cloud the royal road to IT Mecca? The truth lies somewhere in between andgoes by the name of the hybrid cloud.Keep track of your dataThere are already voices claiming that, thanks to PRISM, the public cloud model is doomed tofailure. But thats only half of the truth. The fact is that it is about the data, processes and depend-encies involved in whatever configuration a company outsources its cloud functionality. Generally,it is important to include these considerations in the development of any cloud strategy. There arecertainly use case scenarios where the public cloud will retain its legitimacy and can be used freeof risk. In many other cases, however, there is no real alternative to the private cloud, especiallywhen it comes to mission-critical data. Information from the fields of research and development hasno place in the public cloud."The cloud has established itself in recent years as the supporting technology and business ena-bler that ensures that we will all come to benefit from interconnectedness on a very large scale",says cloud computing analyst René Büst. "Strictly speaking, however, the situation for cloud usershas not changed. With regard to their cloud strategy companies have always tended to separatetheir business-critical data from information that is publicly available. For this purpose, differentcloud types and models are available."In order to ensure a comfortable and seamless transition between the two worlds, it is advisable tofollow a hybrid cloud strategy right from the start. Only in this way is it possible to shift non-criticaldata and processes from the private cloud to the public cloud when needed.
  2. 2. 2013 © All rights reserved – openQRM Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 2Openness generates trustIn information technology, it is just like in any other good relationship. Everything should be openlytalked about and there should be no secrets from each other. The existence of PRISM now placesthis circumstance, however, in a rather different light. According to US media reports, at least nineUS companies are directly or indirectly involved in the scandal. As for the number of unreportedcases, we will find this out in the coming months – if at all.Companies are therefore encouraged, despite the promise that all data is stored and transmitted inencrypted form, not to place 100% reliance on the provider they have chosen. In any case, it isnow necessary to perform due diligence in putting public cloud providers under the microscope.René Büst: "From a technological perspective, it is considered advisable that companies rely onvendors who are willing to show their hands from a technology point of view and thus deal openlywith their customers concerning the technologies used. Should public cloud solutions be rejectedfor data protection reasons, open source private cloud solutions should be considered in the firstplace. Here, access is given to the source code and professional audits may be carried out."To a certain extent PRISM has harmed the cloud-computing model. However, the cloud is notdead; it can be used with caution so long as it is not allowed to become a forgone conclusion. Forthis purpose there are enough open – especially open source – and secure cloud solutions on themarket that need to be selected according to each companys security requirements.Contact UsOpenQRM Enterprise GmbHBerrenrather Straße 188c50937 KölnPhone: +49 (0) 221 995589-10Fax: +49 (0) 221 995589-20Mail: info@openqrm-enterprise.comWeb: http://www.openqrm-enterprise.comAuthorAndre Westbunk is co-founder ofopenQRM Enterprise GmbH,supplier of the data centre man-agement and cloud computingsuite of the same name. He looksback on more than 15 yearsexperience in the areas of webdevelopment, Web-/Cloud-Hosting and softwaresales.

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