The release of iCloud this month will have a positive impact on the take up of cloud by businesses. The new iCloud platform will allow Apple enthusiasts to store music, photos, apps, calendars, documents and so on in the cloud. Now this in itself is nothing spectacularly revolutionary, but it will introduce a wider audience to the concept.
The business world tends to be a step behind consumers when it comes to this type of technology; just look at social media. It wasn’t until after the consumer revolution that businesses really started to understand the potential of collaborative solutions.
While cloud has been an industry buzz-word for some time, for most it is a new concept, and as with most new things it is treated with suspicion. The release of iCloud could therefore pave the way to wider adoption as it will raise awareness; meaning cloud will no longer be such an alien concept.
However, the “consumerisation” of IT, with the proliferation of personal devices such as tablets and smartphones, is a common security headache. If people start to use iCloud as a storage unit for vital company information this will take control of information out of the hands of the corporate network – which is a concern.
It raises a number of issues, as for example, many companies have jurisdictional constraints with regard to where data is stored, so “somewhere in the cloud” is a non-starter. Additionally, applications such as these are a good target for hackers.
Take, for example, the Sony Playstation debacle and more recently the Dropbox breach. Apple’s iCloud has nothing that helps establish trust either, i.e. am I sharing with who I think I am sharing with? Not to mention the fact that Apple is not Microsoft and most corporates have challenges managing their Microsoft estate, let alone hooking up with an environment that is alien and not compatible.
As with smartphones, there is a need for companies to ensure they set policies that define how iCloud is used by employees; placing restrictions if needed on what information is stored and where. Getting people involved in the cloud is great, but it should not come at a cost to security.