ParadoxicalA business is ok storing its banking records and financial transactions in a central core processing system commingled on the same server with other customers but not ok with storing general business files on a cloud content management system.

Last week I submitted a discussion topic to the Cloud Computing group on LinkedIN asking Why?

On the one hand companies have been commingling sensitive financial data on a single server with other customers since the beginning of mainframe computing. Individuals have never had their health records, 401K or stock trades isolated on their own servers. Multi-tenant data storage is the norm not the exception. Yet you have a vestige of legacy IT managers and senior executives concerned that storing a word document in a public cloud based file system is not safe. Nearly all of the arguments are thin, repetitive and fly in the face of practical decision-making and common sense business.

Below are the comments posted on the LinkedIN Topic:

Santosh Banerjee • What do you mean by general business files?

Brian Brereton • Lack of understanding. My mom still won’t input a credit card on the Internet, but will gladly hand it over to anyone who asks in a restaurant…just a lack of understanding.

Shadrach White, CIP • General Business files = MS Office documents, graphics files, PDF, Multi-media files used for Sales, Marketing Materials, IT Projects, etc. The files everyone is emailing around as attachments. Full disclosure: I not a fan of email being used as a collaboration or content distribution tool.

Marvin Hunt MBA, ABD • Unless there are things in these general business files that unintentionally disclose information to competitors.

Ghassan Mteirek • Because most Bank IT organizations don’t fully understand (Governance, Regulatory, Risk, and Compliance). In most instances Bank data and files are more compliant in the cloud.

Frank Gainsford • Perception of what is safe and not safe differs from the reality on the ground. It sounds like some public perception management needs to be done by the cloud marketing teams of those who wish to use the cloud.

Jerry Mussack • I agree with Brian. Lack of trust, also, because these cloud storage places are so new, as compared with core processors. Moving these files to the cloud would typically be an IT motivated project because the users do not see the need to change anything.

Tim Wiggins • There are security offering that enable securing content in the Cloud. One of these (ProtectV by Safenet) has been packaged up by AWS so there is minimal investment and change to the infrastructure. This enable all content in the Cloud to be secured with no visibility of the content by the Cloud hosting organisation. Once the content is encrypted in the Cloud it follows everything in an encrypted form right through to Backups. Seems that companies are unwilling or reluctant but was is more interesting is these same companies backup there own systems to third parties or off-site without thinking of securing/encrypting the content or knowing if it can be intercepted in transit.

One of the biggest and most ridiculous arguments centers on content ownership and privacy. The idea that companies like Box, who are offering Software as a Service file sharing and collaboration solutions are interested in reading or somehow using your content for its own gain or that it could somehow hurt your business is asinine.

They’re in the business of selling their service to as many customers as possible. How does reading your latest project documents or holding your content hostage help them do that?

The idea that one of your competitors is going to somehow troll or hack these systems to gain any market advantage is silly. Do you really think they have staff spending time doing that?

If these documents are that sensitive your corporate policies already forbid dissemination and you’re already open to that risk by employees using email. I would argue that 99.9% of all companies and the content they should store and share would provide far more productivity advantages to employees than any risk of corporate espionage could outweigh.

Bottom line is the cloud is not an option it’s a business imperative. I believe it’s the exact opposite of what any detractor’s may say. It isn’t the risk of moving to the cloud you should worry about it’s the risk of not moving to the cloud. If your expanding your onsite data center footprint or replacing outdated hardware to maintain current systems your wasting valuable time and money. Your existing software and hardware vendors are laughing all the way to the bank every time you cut another purchase order.

Here –> Follow up article posted to Fierce Content Management <– Here

I welcome comments and would love to hear about anyone who has successfully convinced their bank to keep all their records on separate isolated systems, safe from other customers and competitors.