I just read some good articles on the long term forecast of Cloud Computing on Wired's Portfolio.com site. the article highlights a key issue regarding the perceived fears of SaaS and security.
In an ongoing survey conducted by the research firm IDC, almost 75 percent of I.T. executives and CIOs report that security is their primary concern, followed by performance and reliability.
Good perspective from those that have the big picture view:
"Name one time when security was not an issue for businesses," scoffs Daryl Plummer, an I.T. analyst at Gartner, an I.T. research and advisory firm. "It's just one of those things people are always going to worry about—the perennial monster under the bed, ready to scare those who want to be scared."
"I think the real question is: More secure than what? More reliable than what?" adds Adam Selipsky, vice president of product management for Amazon Web Services. The cloud might not be perfect, he says, citing the company's Simple Storage Service's (S3) 99.9 percent network uptime, but it's very close. Compare that to the reliability of in-house systems. (NOTE: NetDocuments has experienced 99.99% over the past several years!)
According to study of Fortune 1000 companies by Infonetics Research, a large corporate network is typically hit with 1.76 outages per month, with the majority lasting more than 90 minutes. That same survey found an average of over 500 hours of network downtime per year, which works out to only a 94 percent network uptime rate. (NOTE: this survey is from Fortune 1000 companies not just small business!)
Security is a harder metric to quantify, so to allay the fears of potential customers, cloud companies are putting their servers into fortified bunkers that easily outdo anything ever seen on Mission: Impossible. Salesforce.com's Fort Knox boasts round-the-clock security patrols, five levels of biometric hand geometry scanners, and even "man trap" cages designed to spring on those without the proper clearances. (NOTE: We believe NetDocuments is a leader with data center security- afterall, we have two redundant data centers - one being in a commercial, national bank federally-regulated, and, two, at LexisNexis, a world-class data center servicing law firms globally.)
Consider, too, the 69 computers that have gone missing from the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico over the past two years. As Salesforce.com VP John Taschek notes, "when a user of a cloud-based service logs out of his or her computer, there's nothing left on the laptop to be lost or stolen."
"Basically, we heard these same arguments used against the internet," says Plummer, confident that eventually all corporate computing will be outsourced to the cloud. "Look what happened there. At some point, people just adapt or get left behind."
The entire article can be found at portfolio.com/views/columns/dual-perspectives/2009/03/09/A-Long-Term-Forecast