MAILBAG: Up in the cloud

Sorting through our mailbox is one of the things we like doing, because it helps keeps us on our toes for new approaches to technology as well as on what we write.

The most recent batch included looks at cloud computing, privacy and a math lesson for one of our reporters.

Cloud computing isn’t a new concept, but a recent  news article saying some PHP developers think it’s overhyped drew a reasoned reply from Graham Thompson. Principal consultant at Ottawa’s Intrinsec Technologies Ltd.

“First, the case where a company determined that Cloud didn’t make financial sense: Many people just assume that $0.10 per hour can’t be more expensive than “traditional” IT. However, this is where you have to review on a case-by-case basis. A very simple application or system can most probably be cheaper being hosted traditionally.

“Secondly, ‘The Cloud’ cannot be seen as the defacto place to process all information. In fact, there isn’t a Cloud Security professional anywhere that would say you can proceed to the cloud without going through a privacy risk assessment to begin with. In fact, many organizations today are seeing cloud as being a very valid approach for test and development, and I can’t disagree. “Many issues exist that will unfortunately be felt by those who rush into the cloud without a plan to address pain points such as incident response, auditing and authorization just to name a few.

“The worst possible thing to do is to ignore it, basically inviting employees to create a Cloud Shadow IT infrastructure in your organization. Think losing control by knowingly moving to the cloud is an issue? Try having confidential data stored in foreign countries without your knowledge!

All in all, hype or not, this is the future of IT. Be it a Public Cloud or Private Cloud, the old days of spending days to have a server built and dedicating floor space, HVAC, servers for lab tests are soon gone, to be replaced with the elastic and self-serve capabilities of cloud. The trick is in preparing your organization for the “new way” of doing things … And waiting for standards to be adopted.”

When we reported on a vendor survey suggesting data theft from Canadian companies is on the rise, ‘Rob’ took exception:

“I don’t know where the figures came from that 1 in 5 Canadian firms report data breaches. But you had better ask the people who are in charge of enforcing our so called really tough privacy laws that cannot be enforced. PIPEA is joke along with the whole government setup. Its the same as our criminal justice system. What I’m saying there is a lot more than 1 in 5. But then again I could be wrong. Also why are you not doing surveys on the improper disposal of hard drives from business and local provincial and munincipal gov’t. Computer media is the most lucrative business there is for identity theft.”

Finally, Brian Mayhew was prodded to write after we reported that Ottawa has given tentative approval to more rural broadband projects.

“Based on the local situation in the Golden Horseshoe area around Toronto I would think that the number of Canadians unable to get affordable high speed connections to their homes is greatly in excess of the 750,000 to 1,500,000 people quoted in the article. I live less than an hour’s drive from downtown Toronto and less than 20 minutes drive from the three Ontario “Technology Triangle” cities and am stuck with no cell phone signal and 56k dial up access as my only option. This is in a county which was successful in obtaining a rural high speed assistance grant 18 months ago but which still has no announced progress in providing the service.

“And by the way, 56 kbps service is not about four times slower than 1.5 Mbps, it is about THIRTY times slower.”

As the author of that story, I take the blame for that. In high school I always failed math.
Looking forward to getting more of your comments on our work.



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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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