Microsoft Azure: Private Cloud for the Masses

Two weeks ago at its Worldwide Partners Conference, Microsoft announced that its Windows Azure Cloud computing platform would be made available in a hardware appliance form factor. This, they reasoned, will allow private enterprises, service providers and even government entities to create their own multi-tenant SaaS applications that can run in any data center.

While exciting news, especially for those companies that like the idea of software-as-a-service, but really want more privacy regarding their data access, this event also brings into focus the challenges of securing cloud applications.

 So as you evaluate this platform keep in mind these recommendations:

  1. Define what the cloud means to your organization
  2. Create awareness of cloud initiatives throughout the organization
  3. Take a broad view when assessing cloud’s impact
  4. Engage professionals from organizations with specific cloud security expertise

As with any IT initiative, early engagement of security professionals will yield a more cost-effective risk management approach than retroactive ones. Experienced professionals can identify security and other implementation issues and recommend appropriate solutions.

Awareness and trust are lacking even among professionals who are familiar with cloud and may be responsible for securing enterprise systems and information. While cloud adoption is expected to grow, customer inexperience with cloud computing, security concerns (and in some cases, lack of concern) and uncertainty about governance could make it difficult for organizations to effectively implement cloud computing or realize full value from it.

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