Will Security Concerns Delay Mainstream Move to Cloud Computing?

Recent high-profile security threats have forced computer companies to put the brakes on otherwise ready-to-go innovations in order to ensure that these upcoming services are airtight. In the past few months, both Google’s Gmail (NASDAQ:GOOG) service and Sony’s Playstation Network (NYSE:SNE) came under attack from hackers. In the case of Sony, these affronts were particularly devastating, as hackers were able to access the confidential information of Playstation Network users and force the service to go offline for weeks.

For many computer companies, the next big development is a system termed the “cloud”.  With the “cloud”, data and software are stored on company servers, rather than hard-drives, and accessed via the internet – an ingenious concept no doubt. The problem is that these “cloud” servers in theory would be far more susceptible to attack than individual pieces of hardware. Moreover, the consequences of a hacker attack could be far more devastating for companies and clients who have stored vast amounts of information on said servers. Consequently, corporations aspiring to provide “cloud”-like services will need to find a way to appease security concerns.

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So far, several companies already offer “cloud” infrastructure — Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), EMC (NYSE:EMC), Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), IBM (NYSE:IBM), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) — yet the market is poised to expand considerably, in particular with the premiere of Apple’s iCloud (NASDAQ:AAPL) this week and several competitors debuting their “cloud” systems over the next year. Those organizations that have already experimented with the “cloud” have, for the most part, developed their own security solutions. However, in order to adapt to emerging threats and to accommodate the expanding market an open security standard is necessary. An open standard would allow all involved companies to collectively develop the most effective measures for thwarting hackers, while allowing for a degree of compatibility between the various “cloud” systems.

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