New data risk emering from cloud computing

Grazed from Business Insurance.  Author: Judy Greenwald.

The concept of cloud computing is both old and new.

Observers note that the concept behind it—sharing computer time—has been around for decades. Its use in conjunction with the Internet, however, is of relatively recent vintage.

A survey last year of more than 1,500 public- and private-sector organizations in the United States, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc. found that 70% either are using or investigating cloud computing for remotely hosted applications or to store data...

Coming up with a definition, though, has been tricky.

In October, the Gaithersburg, Md.-based National Institute of Standards and Technology, an arm of the U.S. Commerce Department, said it had finally developed a working definition of cloud computing—after years of work and 15 drafts: “A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g. networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service.”

According to the NIST, five essential characteristics of cloud computing are: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured service.

There are four cloud-computing types, according to NIST:

• Private cloud, which is for the exclusive use of a single organization.

• Community cloud, which is for the exclusive use of a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns. Examples would be educational or financial institutions, said Nolan M. Goldberg, senior counsel with Proskauer Rose L.L.P. in New York. Community clouds have been “starting to come on their own” in the past year, he said.

• Public cloud, which is open to the general public and exists on the cloud provider's premises.

• Hybrid cloud, which is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures—including private, community or public—that have a standardized or proprietary technolog.