Going Mission-Critical

113 years and 362 days ago Andre-Jacques Garnerin sat on the edge of a hot air balloon several thousand feet above Monceau Park in Paris moments before making what was to become the first successful parachute jump.

Of course I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing that one of the thoughts going through his mind was “Do I really want to do this?” Talk about a mission-critical decision! But he believed in the theory, trusted his invention and made history.

Similar to the intrepid parachuter, organisations perched on the edge of information technology decisions are often unsure as to whether they can wholly trust the provider(s).

At last week’s RSA Europe Conference in London, Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing Group, talked about trust as an emotive condition that has to be attained before great innovations, or new business models, take off. One example she mentioned in her keynote titled, “Enabling Trust in the Cloud,” was the telephone which suffered in the early days from misconceptions that people would contract infectious diseases from use. Once this was debunked along with other barriers, the telephone began to see broad adoption.

Trust is vital between an organization and its technology provider. Relative to cloud services, the control of operating factors is transferred to the provider in the cloud environment. According to research by the IT Governance Institute, three out of five organizations are using the cloud, while others are taking a “wait and see” approach. For organizations already using online implementations for mission-critical applications, and those organizations still considering such a move, trust is an essential factor.

You may have seen the news that G4S, a leading international security solutions group based in the U.K., has decided to move its cash management eViper track and trace system to Microsoft’s Azure platform. If you haven’t then you might want to take a look at this story by Computer Weekly’s Warwick Ashford. Continuing the Garnerin metaphor, G4S trusts the technology and is putting mission-critical faith in it.

Few will be surprised that G4S cited reduced cost and increased scalability and agility as key benefits—they are the things we expect the cloud to deliver. However, as you might imagine security was also a major consideration for G4S. As a result, they put Windows Azure through an exhaustive 170 point assessment which found the technology to be more secure than that offered by its existing infrastructure partners.

This is an exciting example of a company choosing to manage a major business process in the cloud. With this decision, G4S is saving money by not building their own datacentre capacity, and improving their flexibility while being able to pinpoint the location of $billions of cash, bullion and other valuables in transit at any time.

Please check in with us from time to time to hear more about various efforts underway to enable trust in the cloud or any number of other topics related to trustworthy computing.

About the Author

Director, Trustworthy Computing

Richard Saunders is a director in Trustworthy Computing (TwC) and is responsible for the group’s international public relations activities. A 30 year veteran of the communications industry, Saunders has spent his entire career as a journalist and PR man. Since Read more »