HP ‘Master The Cloud’ Event (Toronto) – Part 2
Here’s an interesting parallel, one somewhat removed from the busy world of cloud computing. In the world of “people,” social psychologists who specialize in generational issues are starting to refer to the most recent generation of kids coming-of-age as the Purell generation, since they are likely to be aware of every hand sanitizer bottle or station in their homes, schools, and favourite stores.
This thought came to me as I observed a breakout session on cloud security at the HP Master The Cloud conference, in which the presenter discussed the principle of practicing good IT hygiene. Good IT hygiene. That’s a great term to help get the concept of cloud security across to executives and others who are not comfortable with standard IT terms.
While businesses and organizations wrestle with their fears of moving to the cloud, the security analysts at HP reminded the audience that last year 1773 Exabytes of data were transferred. An Exabyte is one quintillion bytes, or 1,000,000,000 gigabytes, or 1,000,000 terabytes. With all of that data zooming around, it is worrisome to learn that in too many cases, the number one threat to data security is a company’s own internal employees, representing 60-70% of security threats, of which only half were accidental.
This is one of the biggest problems a company faces, but one that is not noticed as easily as the larger concepts such as moving to the cloud. When our presenter asked how many in his audience of 60 routinely encrypted their hard drives, less than half raised their hand.
This points to a contentious issue in cloud security. Simply integrating a new technology stream is not a full guarantee of safety and security when the people who use it do not understand or adhere to security proto
cols themselves. This is why HP is working hard at their cloud systems conference and beyond, to discuss the human factor: they want to help customers get their minds around the concepts of safety and prudence in action.
With demands on IT budgets growing disproportionately to the actual available money, HP emphasizes the importance of educating executives and companies as to best practices – IT hygiene – and this further s HP’s mission of becoming a key outsourcing relationship partner.
To best describe the benefits of cloud solutions, HP says, it must be described to executives like insurance – fire insurance, for example, since insurance is one of those intangibles that cannot be seen, but which has achieved legitimacy in the budget cycle. Furthermore, they stress the importance of benchmarking and follow-up – showing executives what has worked, and what it has saved them in time, money and security.
They have come up with a consulting/customer care relationship that stresses building a community of purpose. I repeat that word: purpose: Conscious actions by people to achieve a goal. This helps build physical usage patterns that are a far cry from the rote actions that become the open door for security threats.
Assess, transform, manage, optimize. This is how the HP people move in and walk alongside their customers, ensuring that all technological change (such as data migration to the cloud), is matched with procedures and habits that ensure safety starts at its most vulnerable point – the end users themselves.
By Steve Prentice
Post Sponsored by HP