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IT Still Controls Most Cloud Usage: Cisco Survey

The 'cloud readiness' of each organization will determine its ability to reap value in an era of sweeping change

Cisco, like everybody else in IT, believes that cloud computing is central to the Internet of Things (the belief that everything with an on/off switch will eventually be wired or wirelessly connected and controlled by someone - or some thing - somewhere in the world). This isn't a difficult concept to understand.

Naturally, all of this plays directly into the products and services that Cisco makes - all those switches, routers, random connectors, intelligent network software and so on - that link devices to systems to people and back again, according to an article on eWEEK.

Cisco estimated in an extensive research report, "The Impact of Cloud on IT Consumption Models," that connections among people, processes, data and things will surge from 10 billion today to 50 billion by 2020.

Since the cloud will be the chief delivery system in the IoT economy, the "cloud readiness" of each organization will determine its ability to reap value in an era of sweeping change, Manjula Talreja, Cisco's vice-president of Global Cloud Practice/Consulting Services, told eWEEK.

"The pay-as-you-grow model of the cloud has attracted IT leaders in emerging markets first and foremost as an avenue to innovate and increase organizational agility for the company overall," Talreja said.

In the "Impact of Cloud" study, Cisco Consulting Services, in partnership with Intel, surveyed 4,226 IT leaders in 18 industries across nine key economies, developed as well as emerging: Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States.

In each country enterprise and midsized companies were represented. Perhaps the one data point that stood out most was the indication that despite what has been written in publications and presented at podiums for the last year or so, the line-of-business folks inside the enterprise do not have the most control over company, or public clouds. Not yet, anyway. That distinction, according to the Cisco report, still belongs to the IT department.

Cloud Computing Enters Gaming
Microsoft has big plans for the cloud and the Xbox One. In a blog post, and subsequent interviews, Xbox Live's Lead Program Manager, John Bruno, said that Microsoft's network of Windows Azure cloud servers will power the dedicated multiplayer servers for the console's games and augment its processing abilities as its hardware becomes dated, according to an article on VR-Zone.com.

Having dedicated servers would allow more players to join a multiplayer match, and provide more gameplay stability. While dedicated servers are common in PC gaming, they are a rarity in the console world. Most Xbox Live multiplayer sessions are hosted on a player's console, which can prove problematic should that player have a bandwidth constrained connection or an outage occurs.

Bruno said Xbox Live Compute will be able to offer gamers "higher fidelity game experiences" by allowing developers to effectively load balance computations with the cloud. During a scene in a game that's taxing on the console's hardware, a developer could have the cloud compute the scene's physics and AI while it handles everything else locally.

How to Reduce Risk and Protect Data in the Cloud
There's a ton of data floating around the enterprise, and exactly who has access to what is a growing concern for IT managers and CEOs alike.

With employees, customers, business partners, suppliers and contractors increasingly accessing corporate applications and data with mobile devices from the cloud, protecting the edge of the network is no longer enough. As the traditional perimeter disappears, here are some safeguards to help ensure security in the cloud, according to an article on TheGuardian.com.

Know who's accessing what: People within your organization who are privileged users - such as database administrators and employees with access to highly valuable intellectual property - should receive a higher level of scrutiny, receive training on securely handling data, and stronger access control.

Limit data access based on user context: Change the level of access to data in the cloud depending on where the user is and what device they are using. For example, a doctor at the hospital during regular working hours may have full access to patient records. When she's using her mobile phone from the neighborhood coffee shop, she has to go through additional sign-on steps and has more limited access to the data.

Take a risk-based approach to securing assets used in the cloud: Identify databases with highly sensitive or valuable data and provide extra protection, encryption and monitoring around them.

More Stories By Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke is a writer and editor based in the greater New York area and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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