If you ask 1,000 people what the Cloud is you’ll likely get 1,000 different answers.  Luckily for us the National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a 7 page document where the Cloud is defined and noted as an “evolving paradigm” which would seem to indicate that the definition is likely to change.

The definition calls out some essential characteristics: on-demand/self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service.  It also notes three service models: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).  Finally it establishes four deployment models: Private Cloud, Community Cloud, Public Cloud, and Hybrid Cloud.

Because the Cloud is essentially replacing physical infrastructure like servers, networking and storage solutions, many discussions about Cloud adoption explore service model features and functions or deployment model differences, essentially exploring the evolution of the data center.

Here at rhipe Solutions we would contend, however, that while infrastructure and the evolution of what organisations use as a data center is rightly the heart of the Cloud, the key to Cloud success actually lies in Security and Compliance.

Here’s why:

  • 4 out of 10 business decision makers say that ensuring compliance is one of the biggest challenges in supporting a mobile workforce Techaisle 2015 SMB Mobility Adoption Trends Study
  • In 2014 there was a 34% increase in the average financial losses ($2.7mn) reported by businesses in 2014 due to security incidents PWC, “Global State of Information Security Survey: 2015.”
  • FEMA has reported that 40% of businesses hit by a disaster never reopen FEMA 2013

These are just a small sampling of data points, our guess is that if you ask around inside and outside of your business, you’ll find that Security and/or Compliance are some of peoples biggest concerns in IT right now, independent of delivery/implementation model.

So while we have fully embraced the definition of Cloud computing and look forward to its evolution, we think that by starting with a good foundation for Identity, Security, and Compliance is the key to the Cloud in any of its service or deployment models.


Boughty Canton, VP of Innovation & Market Development, rhipe Solutions