What is cloud computing?
There is no exact definition – and that’s part of the problem. Generally, the term is used to describe elastic technological capabilities which allow data or software to be hosted and accessed remotely. Among the major players are Salesforce and Google, whose founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin (pictured) view B2B cloud services as crucial to the future. General Electric uses a cloud to promote collaboration, while business services giant Rentokil Initial has moved 20,000 employees’ email services to a cloud environment.
What are the benefits?
At its heart, cloud computing allows businesses to reliably and effi ciently access computing as a pooled resource over networks – including the internet – instead of buying a patchwork of systems. It helps to rapidly scale computing resources, dynamically matching requirements to business demand. And it can help you shift to a utility-based pricing model where consumers only pay for actual usage.
Isn’t there a security risk?
“Absolutely,” says Bryan Cruickshank, Partner, KPMG in the UK. “The benefi ts of cloud computing are very attractive in the current economic climate, but it will bring new and emerging threats.” In 2008, 700 million people were affected by data loss, according to KPMG’s Data Loss Barometer. “Anyone using an external cloud service should check that the provider establishes, monitors and demonstrates ongoing compliance with a suitable set of security controls,” adds Cruickshank.