Cloud computing is rewriting the books on information technology (IT) but inter-cloud networking remains a key operational issue. Layering inherently global cloud services on top of a globally fractured networking infrastructure just doesn’t work. Incompatibilities abound and enterprise users are forced to use “duct-tape and baling wire” to keep their global operations limping along. The continuing gulf between IT professionals and business managers only exacerbates this sad state of affairs. IT professionals, however, bear a more significant amount of blame for the current state because we are the ones responsible for providing the operational platform and enabling the new information delivery models that drive modern constituent services and commerce.
The use of cloud has also driven changes in how governments and commercial enterprises approach data security. In the cloud era, organizations can no longer get away with treating all data at some arbitrarily high level of protection. More than ever, they need to address data protection requirements and controls based on the lifecycle stage of the data. They also need to evaluate the numerous permutations of business function, data user role, location of access, legal or regulatory guidelines and user devices. This is especially important in the public sector where organizations use public funding and operate within a framework of public trust. While this type of analysis could have arguably been seen as overkill when organizations had direct control over the networks they used, taking that view today is tantamount to declaring open season on data for any hacker, identity thief or
ransomware vendor out there. A laissez-faire approach to data categorization and controls is not only full of economic and reputational dangers but it also represents a due diligence failure when it comes to meeting legal and regulatory requirements for protecting sensitive information (e.g. personally identifiable information, medical records, financial data).
In my new article for IEEE Cloud Computing Magazine, I continue addressing this topic by explaining why cloud networking is different and what new cloud networking services are needed. As the cloud computing industry advances into the enterprise space, its success will inevitably depend on our ability to address information consumer perceptions, evolving application requirements, improved management across the application/computing infrastructure/network interfaces and enhanced automated visibility and management of the foundational wide area network. Reading this article will help professionals looking for longevity in this industry to learn and understand how each of these issues affect your organization’s business or mission.
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