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Containing the Cloud

Cloud computing may not take over our entire world of computing, but it's clearly going to represent a large chunk of how we conduct business. And that has some rather huge security implications.

For one, all these service companies need to ensure that their software -- and your data -- is safe. This means that the security software market is going to be less about anti-virus on your PC and more about anti-hacker on huge server farms.

There may be an upside to this. It just may be easier to secure a service provider's infrastructure than it is to lock down hundreds and thousands of systems that may be scattered throughout your enterprise. If that's true, our data may ultimately be more secure in the cloud.

Of course, when you shift computing models, you also need to shift how you secure it all. In this case, securing browsers and network connections is key, as is locking down passwords and, as always, protecting data on local systems, whether it comes from a cloud or not.

Is the cloud more or less secure? Answers welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Meanwhile, I got a great letter from Andrew in response to an item about whether Microsoft will be as powerful in the cloud as it is in packaged apps:

"In today's article titled 'Microsoft and the Cloud: The Desmond Perspective,' you raise the question whether Microsoft can move from a maker of packaged software to a services company. What a lot folks don't look at or bring into the discussion is that in fact, Microsoft has made this possible for years through subscription licensing. Partners such as ourselves have been offering Microsoft software in the cloud for quite some time. The only difference now is that they are working to have their own offerings.

Being one of those providers, we know that it will be quite some time before their direct offering will have the full capabilities that many of their partners are already able to provide. For example, we provide SharePoint as both a WSS and MOSS offering today through one of our divisions (http://www.sharepointhosting.com/). Today, we have over 1,000 current SharePoint customers and growing exponentially. A number of these are Fortune 100 companies running mission-critical sites. When you add in the other clients that have used our services for more limited needs such as pilots, temporary project sites, etc., that number equals over 3,000 customers that we have worked with.

Microsoft has quite often looked to their partner community to lead the charge and we are right out there on the front lines!"

Posted by Doug Barney on July 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM