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Overcoming cloud security concerns



Enterprise communications is changing rapidly. Organisations are deploying multiple devices per employee to enhance productivity, yet this is creating a multitude of challenges when it comes to security, device management and data management. The recent Internetix conference held in Johannesburg brought the security issues into the spotlight and at the same time some the possible solutions.

Speaking at Internetix, Internet Solutions MD, Derek Wilcocks said the critical thing is to get all content through a unified client to simplify the communications process.

‚This allows organisations to apply a single identity to a user and to then apply certain rules around communication,‚ he says. ‚The introduction of presence technology then allows users to manage their availability or pass queries on to other team members should it be required.‚

Nick Keene, Partner Account Manager of Hosting and Cloud Solutions at Microsoft says: ‚There has been a dramatic increase in the number of emails each employee is exposed to on a daily basis and this is accompanied by inherent issues such as challenges around data storage and archiving.‚ The risk of losing your collaboration platform is another concern. ‚We are definitely seeing an increase in appetite for cloud computing as a way to overcome these challenges.‚

As one of the biggest potential users of Cloud Computing, the South African Government is still concerned about security issues and this is slowing down adoption. ‚The biggest issue holding us back when it comes to cloud computing is security,‚ says Julius Segole, Senior Chairman of the Government Information Technology Officers Council (GITOC). ‚We also need to create higher levels of awareness within the different levels of government, highlighting the benefits of cloud computing.‚ Critical to public sector adoption of cloud computing is creating a public cloud within a single government network to allow for improved collaboration and potential cost savings.

Sonette Meerman, Head of Department: New Business Development at SITA, believes that government is still operating in silos, resulting in limited communications and collaboration. ‚This results in duplication and increased costs, and while we are looking at potential solutions to this it is still in its infancy.‚

According to Mario Oliveira, Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Acme Packet, security remains the biggest inhibitor to cloud adoption. ‚It is critical that there are multiple layers of security available to ensure customer comfort.‚ Mark Dijkstra, Solutions Architect and Service Providers at Symantec, agrees. ‚It comes down to identity ‚ security must run from the endpoint right to backend infrastructure,‚ he says. ‚We are seeing an increase in identity theft, therefore it is critical that organisations are able to identify a person and then verify that they are who they say they are.‚

‚Security is often an excuse for people who, for other reasons, are not ready to adopt a certain technology,‚ adds Wilcocks. ‚Organisations will always need security, but because it is being built in upfront, the cloud is often more secure.‚ Wilcocks refers to cloud solution providers who already include a layer of security in their solutions – ‚Because organisations believe that the cloud requires high levels of security, they add multiple layers, which means it is inherently more secure than previous solutions,‚ he concludes.

IS is hosting Internetix 2010 in Cape Town on the 21st of October 2010. To register please go to