Cloud Insights #BBGtech

Yesterday, we attended the Bloomberg Enterprise Technology Summit here in New York City. Not surprisingly, the cloud—its implications, uses, and future—was a hot topic. Notably, there were opposing viewpoints on the future of the private cloud datacenter model.

Benjamin Fried, Google’s CIO, and Scott Weiss, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, both contended that the private cloud model was dead, saying that public clouds are safer, more secure, and allow for scaled used that private companies cannot compete with or afford. Long live Google and Amazon!

Not so fast, said the senior technology executives on another panel.  Mike Capone, Corporate Vice President of Product Development and CIO at ADP and Stephen Little, Xerox’s CIO, disagreed with the death-knell predictions for the private cloud. Both are using private and hybrid-cloud solutions to secure the massive amount of data their respective companies hold and see value in continuing that arrangement.

Other topics also led back to the cloud.

“Big data solutions have been solutions in search of problems,” said Fried.

One panelist compared big data to cryogenics—everyone has a lot on ice, but no one is sure what, exactly, to do with it. Yet many companies, including PayPal, are seeing innovation spark when they leverage the massive computing power of the cloud against the data they’ve collected.

Another conversation was around BYOD—Bring-Your-Own-Device—and its transformation into CYOD—Choose-Your-Own-Device. Employee expectations have changed and they want enterprise software to work as well as the stuff they use at home.  One problem: “Most users don’t care about risks; they care about getting their jobs done as efficiently as possible,” said John Stewart, Senior VP, Chief Security Officer, Cisco. And so the move toward BYOD/CYOD is making security more important than ever for  enterprise technology. Even the priorities of security are changing. As data moves to the cloud, security is moving toward an information- and intelligence-protection policy, rather than focusing on the protection of physical devices.

Gus Hunt, the former CTO of the CIA, corrected some earlier assertions that the CIA uses a  Amazon’s cloud services – in fact, the spooks bought their own copy and do not use the Amazon servers themselves. Still, a notable win for cloud technology. But Hunt was clear that even robust cloud security won’t solve legacy process problems – those must be addressed as part of the migration process.

A closing thought from Andres Bang, Head of Global Sales & Operations Systems, LinkedIn, re the changing role of IT in the era of the cloud: CIOs are becoming supply chain managers and cloud-services brokers.

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