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January 29, 2014

Battle in the Cloud Panelists Tells Security Like it is at ITEXPO East 2014

One thing’s for sure regarding tonight’s Battle in the Cloud Panel session during ITEXPO (News - Alert) East 2014: people were not afraid to be open and honest about what we can expect with cloud security. Cloud security is usually one of those ambiguous, “I’d rather not address it” kind of topics—but not for these guys.

This certainly isn’t a bad thing; if anything, it shed more light and provided that much more transparency into a space that can oftentimes seem very nebulous and complicated. Today’s lineup of panelists included David Schoenberger, TransCertain; Chris Hasenauer, Windstream; Yunexy Eloy,; Brian Spraetz, Interactive Intelligence; Dr. Jani Byrne, IBM (News - Alert); and Wayne Walls, Rackspace. This group of esteemed speakers were led by TMCnet Group Editorial Director, Erik Linask.

Tonight’s Battle in the Cloud Panel served as a perfect follow-up to the event’s stellar keynote speech delivered by Dr. Angel Luis Diaz, IBM VP of Open Technologies and Cloud Performance, who also touched on the topic of ensuring security.

Byrne kicked off the conversation by completely stripping down the sensationalism of cloud security. “Security breaches are real,” she says, “they’re going to happen and nothing is bullet proof.” Byrne added that security concerns need to start being addressed more directly, especially seeing how the technology is so quickly crossing the chasm into main consumerism. “I go to my doctor and he asks me how to get onto the cloud; it has nothing to do with his profession,” she jokes, albeit seriously. “But there are going to be security issues—that’s the reality of the world we live in.”

Eloy commented that the question of security is the most commonly asked for his company. Furthermore, Schoenberger agreed with Byrne’s sentiment, saying that businesses shouldn’t have an “all or nothing” mentality when it comes to cloud security. Rather, it means taking the time to identify which specific elements should be most protected and which can afford to be less shielded. “We have to spend a lot of time identifying the data that needs to be secured because some—not all—needs to be. We spend a lot of time consulting with clients to help them identify what pieces of data need to be protected. Usually, it’s the kinds that can ruin a business if they are stolen.”

So, where do you draw the line with trust, security, convenience and connectivity with mobility and the cloud? For instance, when does one become more important than the other, and when are we able to accept a certain level of risk?

Hasenauer compares it to home security. Organizations need to think through what kind of data they have and what’s most important. So, if you have a $6,000 guitar in your house, you’ll want to protect that over a knick-knack you purchased the other day.

Meanwhile, Walls stresses that a solid and protected core is what matters most with cloud security. “The last thing you want is a super strong outer shell and a mushy inside,” he says. “This seems to be a particularly big issue in the cloud world.”

Byrne had one big take away for the audience at tonight’s panel: “When you’re thinking about buying your own applications in the cloud—developing and marketing your own applications in the cloud—the question you want to ask yourself is: ‘Do I want to be locked in?’”

It’s safe to say that the entire audience agreed with Byrne’s final comment: “It’s a very new world out there.”

It is indeed.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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