The question is always "Who do you trust"...

I had the pleasure of attending a BCS meeting at Oxford University last week. This was a Christmas event and the speaker was Professor Fred Piper of the Royal Holloway College. Fred is an extremely good and entertaining speaker and very candid on the topics discussed (a glass of mulled wine helped too).

Billed as a talk over the black art of cryptography I guess I should have expected some crossover and comments regarding Cloud computing, but hadn't thought about this until it occurred! On a raised question from the audience Fred laughed at the idea of security in the cloud (and rightly so). This was not because of a particular aversion to use of cloud services, commenting on comercial reasons where it's attractive, but moving back to first principles and what security is, and Who You Trust.

The comments were observational and less to do with the links over the internet, but more with the processes, security, management of the data you entrust to "the cloud", and whether you can trust it's location and management. This could be thought of as essential diligence and instinctively most accountants take this on board. The Softworld registration page this year had a quick point-and-shoot-survey and as I remember it showing a third of respondents indicating they wouldn't trust their data outside of the organisation. They clearly trust their own processes and data management higher than third parties in this case. For the other two thirds they need to to ensure they do trust the management of the data and the providor - its sometimes looked at when their internal processes and security have "had issues".

In my opinion it is always worth the diligence of knowing where your data is, how it is managed, and ensuring you're totally satisfied with the locations - don't allow a SaaS vendor to hide where exactly the data centre and the data storage is. If its not stored in your country this could be an issue to you, and depending on your business there could be legal or compliance implications too. As with all these things there is nothing like doing the diligence.

Jon

Disclosure

I work with Perceptive Online (www.perceptive-online.com) which is a professional hosting company providing services for SaaS vendors as well as hosting for many companies hosting their accounting systems. It has gained the status of being ICAEW Hosting Service Reviewed, a third party review accessible via the ICAEW web site.

 

 

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John Stokdyk's picture

Thanks for a useful post

John Stokdyk | | Permalink

It's nice to get new perspectives, Jon, and you've given me a helpful glimpse into what must have been an interesting talk. Our get together between accountants and Cloud developers touched on data integrity and protection and it's definitely a topic that's worth exploring from first principles.

We're planning to start up a thread on that subject - I might just adapt this one to do so!
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John Stokdyk, Technology editor

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