• M. Keil
  • M. Bishop
  • Y. Interian
  • M. Nunnikhoven
  • D. Hsieh
Product Marketing Director, Palo Alto Networks

Matt Keil

Mediaplanet: In your experience, when has the ability to access the cloud been most beneficial?

The primary benefit of cloud computing for the typical user is ubiquitous access to applications from any device, anywhere, assuming you have connectivity to the Web. From a business perspective, there are significant benefits such as the more efficient use of hardware and the associated reduction in IT costs. However, the most significant cloud computing benefit for businesses today is the ability to become more agile. Business users can quickly modify or update an application, or roll it out to a new geography—all in response to changing business requirements.

MP: How would you respond to an individual who is skeptical about putting their data on the cloud because of security fears?

Security is certainly a barrier to wider cloud computing adoption. When it comes to data security in the cloud, users should consider the level of data confidentiality required and how you will go about securing the data.

Securing the cloud means protecting your data by preventing advanced cyberattacks and enabling applications safely—which means defining policies that allow only those applications you deem necessary to be used in your cloud-based on the user need and their identity. If you can do these things, the benefits of cloud computing increase and the security risk decreases.

MP: How is the decision making process different for someone looking to invest in a personal cloud and someone choosing a provider for their business needs?

Protection from the crippling effects of data loss and privacy is the No. 1 concern here. Businesses have the option of building a private cloud or using a pre-built or public cloud infrastructure like Amazon Web Services. In either case, your security solution should be capable of:

  • Securing the applications traversing your cloud-based environment
  • Maintaining separation of applications and data with security policies
  • Preventing advanced cyberattacks from penetrating and moving across your cloud
  • Integrating with cloud management and orchestration tools to ensure security keeps pace with the rate of change within your cloud

MP: What is the number one policy or trait that readers should be looking for in a potential cloud provider?

A cloud computing environment is made up of the same computing, storage and networking components as your physical/on premises network. Therefore any business considering the cloud should evaluate the project with the same processes they would use for any other network project. Within that process, security and how you can protect the data in your cloud should be the number one trait readers should look for.

MP: What is one exciting industry innovation or breakthrough you are excited for in 2015?

The beauty of the cloud is you can add, remove or change applications quickly. The difference now as opposed to a few years ago is it that you no longer have to hope security can keep up. We prove that you can bring advanced security and cyber threat prevention to the cloud and that you can have ubiquitous access with the same level of protection you would have at your corporate office. In 2015, you no longer need to choose between securing your infrastructure or realizing cost savings and efficiency that the cloud provides. You can have it all.

CMO, Cloud Passage

Mitch Bishop

Mediaplanet: In your experience, when has cloud computing been most beneficial?

Cloud computing is the single most disruptive technology that is now being leveraged by most companies in the U.S. Why? The business benefits are simply too compelling. With cloud computing, IT organizations and business units now have a major weapon to respond to the CEO’s agenda of business agility, reduced cost and accelerated time to market. Every year the deployment of applications and data in cloud infrastructure gets faster, easier and safer.

MP: How would you respond to a company that is skeptical about putting their critical customer data in the cloud because of security fears?

The reality is that cloud computing is actually safer than traditional data centers, which relied on perimeter-based security models. The theory was this: put all your efforts into protecting the one entrance into the data center: the network. This model simply doesn’t work for cloud computing since there is no perimeter in the classic sense. The answer is to move security and compliance right to the virtual machine (workload), wherever it resides; that way you can have continuous visibility and enforcement closest to critical applications and data. Cloud infrastructure is also extremely dynamic, so choose a security platform that provides comprehensive visibility and protection, but can scale at the speed of business.

MP: How do businesses choose the right cloud provider?

The market is consolidating for sure. The big players are delivering more value, capabilities and choice for businesses, with higher uptime and performance. Make sure the features offered align with your business goals, along with performance and uptime commitments you’re making to your customers. And understand that security is a shared responsibility model with cloud computing providers, who can provide only a basic level of security for their virtual infrastructure. Know that you will need to invest in additional security functionality above what they provide to keep your data safe.

MP: What are the key elements to look for in a cloud security platform?

A modern, agile cloud security platform must provide five capabilities. First, it must turn on instantly; this means that it will be delivered as a SaaS service. Second, there must be a comprehensive set of security functions provided that all work together seamlessly. Third, the platform must work in any cloud environment (private, public, hybrid). Fourth, it must work at any scale. And finally, the platform must integrate with existing security and orchestration tools that companies already rely on today.

MP: What is one exciting industry innovation or breakthrough you are excited for in 2015?

The most exciting technology happening in cloud computing today is Docker, an open platform for distributed applications. Docker is revolutionizing the way developers are thinking about and using virtual infrastructure.

Assistant Professor, M.S. in Analytics, University of San Francisco

Yannet Interian

Mediaplanet: In your experience, when has the ability to access the cloud been most beneficial?

We use the cloud on a daily basis for personal or professional reasons. We check our emails, share documents, photos and videos. It is part of our most basic daily activities.

MP: How would you respond to an individual who is skeptical about putting their data on the cloud because of security fears?

Unless you don’t use email, social networking or online banking, you already have sensitive data living in the cloud. For most of us the question is how to benefit from this great new technology while minimizing the risks. Here is some advice on how to do that. Use a unique password for each site, and a good password manager such as lasspass or 1password. For an extra security, only use your own computer or phone when accessing your most important accounts. You can also setup a 2-step verification password on many sites such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and others.

MP: How is the decision making process different for someone looking to invest in a personal cloud and someone choosing a provider for their business needs?

A business first thinks about cost. They think about storage capacity and how to keep the same provider as the business expands. They should look for providers that make the transition to the cloud smooth. Businesses look for safety—the best cloud services encrypt your information.

Many individuals looking for personal cloud solutions are looking for a free service. Providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Sugarsync offer several gigabytes of free storage. An important feature is ease of use. Often, you want to use your cloud storage as your local file system. You want to be able to access it from any device, and be able to easily share files with friends and family.

MP: What is the number one policy r trait that readers should be looking for in a potential cloud provider?

The most important thing to look for is security. Make sure that the company has a good reputation and solid security policies. Ensure that your data is encrypted whenever stored, uploaded to the cloud or downloaded from the cloud.

MP: What is one exciting industry innovation or breakthrough you are excited for in 2015?

Internet of Things — the phrase means a world of objects connected through cloud systems. The objects deliver sensor information, learn behaviors and adjust themselves. They are usually controlled by smartphone apps.

Vice President, Cloud & Emerging Technologies, Trend Micro

Mark Nunnikhoven

Mediaplanet: In your experience, when has the ability to access the cloud been most beneficial?

It’s not one specific time but the constant access that makes the cloud beneficial. Having devices that are constantly connected provides benefits that fit seamlessly into everyday life. A key indicator that a technology is truly useful is when you stop thinking about using it and it simply is.

An example that has a real impact on me is when my family is out at the park and I’m on the road. The photos of my kids playing simply appear on my device and I get an instant reminder of home. That’s a powerful, seamless experience powered by the cloud.

MP: How would you respond to an individual who is skeptical about putting their data on the cloud because of security fears?

Security fears about the cloud are usually based in a misunderstanding about how security works in the cloud.

Depending on the type of cloud service that you are using (roughly infrastructure, platform or software services) your security responsibilities differ. Understanding your responsibilities versus the providers is the key to understanding how security works in this shared responsibility model. If you understand the division of responsibilities, you can apply the proper security controls and processes to ensure that your data and information is as safe as possible.

MP: How is the decision making process different for someone looking to invest in a personal cloud and someone choosing a provider for their business needs?

If you are looking to move your personal data into the cloud, you face a different set of decisions than a business that is looking to do the same. Both a personal and business decision is going to look at the basics of availability, pricing, functionality and reputation.

For a personal decision, you’re probably going to be swayed heavily on personal preference for the user experience and your social connections.

For a business: compatibility, service level agreements, support and training are going to be key deciding factors above and beyond the basic requirements.

MP: What is the number one policy or trait that readers should be looking for in a potential cloud provider?

The number one thing that readers should look for in a cloud provider is their data usage and privacy policy. Your data and information is the key to your business or personal activities. You want to make sure that it’s being managed in a manner that you’re OK with from both an operational and privacy perspective.

For business, knowing roughly where your data is stored geographically can be critical as different locations fall under different jurisdictions. For both business and personal, you want to make sure that your data isn’t going to be used for purposes that you don’t agree with.

MP: What is one exciting industry innovation or breakthrough you are excited for in 2015?

In 2014, it was the year when the discussion around cloud changed from “if” to “when.” Now, in 2015 it is going to bring more unique uses of ubiquitous connectivity and near unlimited computing power. We’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible. This year, I think we’re going to see a lot of innovative work done based on a high number of really cheap sensors.

These projects will focus on providing more awareness of real-world processes and environments. We’re going to be able to put together more information about the world around us and that is going to lead to some really amazing things.

VP Marketing, Instart Logic

David Hsieh

Mediaplanet: In your experience, when has the ability to access the cloud been most beneficial?

Before the cloud, it used to be that your data was tied to a specific device and what kind of network you were connected to. Now being able to access the same information regardless of device and network provides new degrees of freedom and enables a new level of productivity.  I frequently will start a task—say reviewing a document—on one device in the office, then access it from a different device while I’m mobile, and then finish it on a third.  Finally, I might use someone else’s device to print or present it on their network. That wasn’t really possible pre-cloud.

MP: How would you respond to an individual who is skeptical about putting their data on the cloud because of security fears?

With the adoption of cloud services, security concerns have always been top of mind.  However, the advancement of technology and specifically cloud security infrastructure has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last several years. Therefore, while security is still a concern in a cloud environment, there is more sophistication with regards to stopping data breaches and attacks. Nothing is foolproof and thus the focus should really be around implementing the right set of cloud protection products in an effective way. 

MP: How is the decision making process different for someone looking to invest in a personal cloud and someone choosing a provider for their business needs?

Businesses needs to think about regulatory, or compliance, issues, business and brand risk, ability to scale and reliability that really wouldn’t apply to personal cloud decisions. One of the more overlooked trends is an individual purchasing a personal cloud service for business use to circumvent corporate policy or IT latency. You see this a lot with the use of cloud storage for example, and even Hilary Clinton did this with e-mail while she was Secretary of State. This creates significant business risk

MP: What is the number one policy or trait that readers should be looking for in a potential cloud provider?

Speed, security and scale are the primary traits that one should be looking for when choosing a potential cloud provider. Ultimately, if a cloud provider’s service does not deliver superior performance, end-to-end protection, and on demand resources, it can be detrimental to your business and could put you at a serious competitive disadvantage. Therefore, knowing which cloud providers deliver real value that is agile, provides ultra protection for your mission critical data, and dynamically scales to your business needs is imperative.

MP: What is one exciting industry innovation or breakthrough you are excited for in 2015?

Gartner declared 2015 the year of cloud/client computing, noting that this era will promote the growth of centrally coordinated applications that can be delivered to any device. The combination of increasingly powerful mobile devices and cloud services are enabling a new generation of applications and content that provides faster time to market, a personalized experience and improved business agility. We are excited about this trend because Instart Logic has built the first cloud-client application delivery platform that extends beyond limited cloud architectures of the past. Our platform allows for radical new approaches to application delivery that boosts customer satisfaction and provides unparalleled performance.