Cloud computing and the 1st amendment

Posted December 18, 2009, 4:01 pm by Yaron Levi

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Yaron Levi

ConstitutionI am regular member of the ANX blog squad, as such I am on the hook every other week to turn in my post. If that’s not enough the other ANX bloggers are pretty damn smart and creative, so there is a high standard to meet in order to stay in the game hence my creativity should stay on high alert all the time. Earlier this week I turned in my blog post and to my horror it was censored by our Chief Blog Inquisitor (that to say my Director of Marketing). I thought it was a great post (and so did he) but it was rated one notch above PG-13 hence could not be published ……… argh….


Being the knucklehead that I am, I got pissed! In my mind it was a violation of my rights under the 1st amendment for freedom of speech. For a moment I considered embarrassing myself in a federal court trying to fight for my constitutional rights but instead I decided to blog.


So here goes …


The 1st amendment is my favorite since it is all about freedom!

In our modern computing world, cloud computing is the 1st amendment to the IT constitution. Prior to the cloud era, the IT constitution states that “every user’s request should be first ignored, then refused and then if the user keeps nagging maybe to do something about it".


Cloud computing changes the rules of this game! It gives the user FREEDOM!


Here is an example: The sales manager needs a system to track his leads, contacts, opportunities, communications etc. when he turns the request to the company IT (assuming he will not be ignored or laughed at) they’ll need to go through a process where they’ll need to figure out: Hardware costs, Software costs, Maintenance, Load balancing, Scaling, Utilization, Idle machines, Bandwidth management, Server hosting, Storage Management, High availability and more. This is a long and usually tedious process.


Alternatively, the sales manager registers to, put his credit card information and 2 seconds later he has everything he needs.


Here is another one: The QA manager asks the IT team for 250 servers in order to stress test the new system under extreme load conditions. If you can’t guess the response he’ll get, try to go to your IT team and make the same request. If you’ll live to tell us about it, by all means please do I’ll be happy to post their response.


Alternatively, The QA manager registers to Amazon Web Services, put his credit card and for $0.085 per server / hour he can run as many servers he needs and turn them off when he is done!


Like I said: FREEDOM :-)


Cloud computing breaks the IT monopoly and puts the power back with the business side of the house, it allows the users getting the computing power and services they need, when they need it and in more cost effective and rapid way. It doesn’t mean the IT is no longer relevant, on the contrary the IT team will need to shift their skills from maintaining boxes to networking and security.


Another point that needs to be remembered is the freedom is not free. Given the history, it is safe to assume that as Cloud Services will be used by more people, hackers and other security threats will increase accordingly. On 12/10/2009, NETWORKWORLD magazine published that security researchers have spotted the Zeus botnet running an unauthorized command and control center on Amazon's EC2 cloud computing infrastructure. The hackers didn't do this with Amazon's permission; they got onto Amazon's infrastructure by first hacking into a Web site that was hosted on Amazon's servers and then secretly installing their command and control infrastructure. Security experts say that criminals will probably seek out new Web services to use in 2010.


Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to discourage anyone from using cloud services, I am one of the big supporters of the cloud movement, but one need to be aware to the risks and make sure he chooses the right partners. Here are 10 best practices to consider:

  • Define your cloud services goals – ask yourself why do you want to move stuff to the cloud? Do it from the right reasons.
  • Compare different cloud provider offerings – No all cloud providers created equal, different providers specialize in different things. Make sure the provider can help you accomplish your goals.
  • Assess the risk of adopting cloud services for your organization – Here you can find a great study about Cloud Computing Risk Assessment.
  • Obtain assurance from selected cloud providers – when things are getting hairy you want to make sure the provider will be there to help you.
  • Reduce the assurance burden on cloud providers – or in other words, trust yourself first!
  • Avoid provider lock in – Indeed one doesn’t move his computing infrastructure (cloud based or not) every day however it is important to make sure the service can be easily moved if needed.
  • Quality of service - ensure that the behavior and effectiveness of the cloud application that you implement can be measured and tracked both to meet existing or new Service Level agreements.
  • Regulatory & Compliance – some controls mean that certain applications or information may not be able to be deployed in the Cloud.
  • Learn from the mistakes of those who came before you - for enterprises where traditional IT infrastructure often serves core business operations, the “detached” cloud might deliver only short-term value and potentially require future re-implementation or migration.
  • Avoid upfront costs - cloud computing investment should use a flexible pay-as-you-go subscription model.


Remember, Not every web hosting or co-lo company is a cloud provider!


At ANX we specialize in providing Secured connectivity to the cloud. Our PositivePro solutions are been used by our customers to connect User-to-Cloud, Site-to-Cloud and Cloud-to-Cloud. Users can connect securely to the cloud using our VPN client or our Web based clientless WebTOP solution. Site-to-Cloud connectivity services allow our customers to create a hybrid between their internal IT infrastructure and their cloud based infrastructure. Our Cloud-to-Cloud connectivity services allow companies to build a private WAN across multiple cloud providers.


Cloud computing is rapidly gaining momentum as one of the most significant initiatives that many companies are looking into. There are many business benefits but there are also risks, here at ANX we help our customers with the best networking and security practices while we work both with the users’ community and IT. As a SaaS provider our services are simple and easy to install by the end users and above all we provide full end user support so the user can provide on his task not on the technology.


Since there is no hardware to install and configure, the service can be used anytime, anywhere and as much as needed. No hassles, No long projects and No problems.


Now, how’s that for FREEDOM?

Filed under: Cloud Computing
Edited January 20, 2011 by Yaron
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