SaaS/ Cloud Computing versus the perceived disconnect with Data Security

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Rajesh Kumar on 22-06-2009

Since the term Cloud Computing and SaaS gain currency, there has been tremendous excitement in the technology watcher community. The same level of excitement has not seen in the business adoption of these technologies. 

If one were to see the different IT applications, any application with regard to a financial transaction is considered a high risk, compared to one, let’s say, document management. That’s why it is long time since terms such as CC and SaaS are a few years away from online retail, financial services and so on. In comparison, Slideshare, a presentation sharing site and Twitter are hosted on Amazon web services. Risk perception = Difficult to answer the question – Is it a proven and safe?

It is not that SaaS is completely a no-no in the enterprise scene. Salesforce offers  CRM application as SaaS. Salesforce.com had a revenue of little under 250 MN in 2007-08 which is not small pennies. It surely hosts a great amount of valuable data. Google Apps has found great favour with academic institutions across the world resulting in some extremely large implementations. There are quite a few ERP applications on the SaaS mode. At this stage, it is not really a proven to say that data in a cloud of on a SaaS application is any less secure. One the other hand bulk storage is becoming cheaper, thanks to companies such as NetApp.

It is more of a perception thing. Which boils down to the same old point of consumer behavior- Does your product promise hold credibility to generate sales?

Trevor at Kinaxis blog has an interesting argument. He says one of the big issues in Cloud Computing is if the company hosting the CC goes bust, how do you get the data secured? He argues that the on-premise applications are no more secure than those based on the cloud. He also argues that data can be lost by way of a simple printout, which can happen either way. I go with Trevor. Every year we read about sensitive data lost via misplaced or stolen laptops or disks lost in transit, including credit card data. Why, a senior British law enforcement official recently lost his job because he carried a printout of a plan the cover page of which was visible to the media, thereby compromising on the operation.

In short, it is not A vs B when it comes to on-premise application vs SaaS or CC. Both these solutions will probably continue to evolve in parallel, and address different needs.

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    About Rajesh Kumar. Rajesh is based in Chennai, where he works for Defiance Technologies in Marketing. The views on this blog are his own. Rajesh Kumar