03/09/2014

By Russ Loignon, Vice President of Cloud Consulting, Tangoe


This iCloud issue perfectly illustrates the blurring of the lines between consumer and enterprise. Just because Apple is a predominantly consumer product, doesn’t mean it’s not used in the enterprise as a means to access the network, or simply as a mobile communications tool. This just shows that no-one is immune to the risk of hacking. At the very least this wider issue will further Apple’s ability to provide a more secure environment for both consumers and enterprises in the future.

But while cloud storage and computing in the enterprise is still taking shape, iCloud remains a storage function that is much more of a small business and consumer offering. Apple devices are proliferating in the enterprise realm and most large businesses have undertaken proper security measures as a result. The truth is that larger businesses are just not using iCloud for storage.

That’s certainly not to say that the awareness that iCloud generates isn’t great for the wider cloud industry. However issues such as this do further the view that while cloud is a great asset, if it is employed in the enterprise the it needs to be of enterprise quality standard.

So what should Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that want to benefit from cloud technologies do to stay safe?

SMEs need to learn the lessons from enterprises with established cloud strategies. With this in mind a hybrid approach would seem to be the most beneficial choice for the cloud. A hybrid cloud enables SMEs to provide and manage some resources in-house with others provided externally.

A hybrid cloud will tackle security concerns as businesses are able to maintain in-house storage for sensitive data. Therefore authentication, encryption and data confidentiality can be more easily implemented and controlled.

But by using a hybrid cloud, businesses can also have the convenience of storing less-sensitive data in a public cloud. This can then offer agility and flexibility, which can be scaled up or down as and when the business needs resource.
This approach, while maintaining a rigorous secure network standard and practice, also provides a stronger perimeter defense for the business.

The truth is the issue won’t transcend to the wider enterprise space, where proper security measures have already been deployed. That being said the iCloud issue should be a wake up call to SMEs that are using cloud without enterprise standard security. This is an opportunity for SMEs to further their own narrative of a secure cloud environment.