The recently-formed UK & Ireland chapter of the Cloud Security Alliance is holding its inaugural meeting this Thursday (March 24th) in London. Membership of the Alliance is free and anyone interested in the cloud computing security is invited to attend the first meeting at Canary Wharf (full details are here).
The Cloud Security Alliance is a non-profit organisation formed in 2008 in the US to promote the use of best practices and provide education around security within cloud computing. The UK organisation describes its objective as: “To provide a programme which allows all stakeholders in cloud services to become engaged in discussion to increase their understanding of the risks in order to allow them to manage those risks to attain benefits from the use of such services".
The UK branch aims to provide a forum for all stakeholders in cloud computing to discuss the management of risks in cloud services. It will expand and disseminate knowledge through research, publications and workshops, as well as award recognised knowledge certification.
In this first meeting the main presentation will be given by Peter Wood, CEO of First-Base Technologies on the topic “The Cloud Security Landscape - an Ethical Hacker’s View”. Members will be able to decide on and get involved in the organisation’s research for 2011 at the meeting.
From a green IT perspective there are two main issues with cloud computing. Firstly, is it green? The simple answer is that it depends who’s doing it. Cloud computing can (and should) be more energy efficient given the economies of scale. Large data centres tend to be more efficient and IT services suppliers are generally working to make data centres greener.
Perhaps the bigger question is how widely cloud computing will be adopted. Relying on the cloud to provide all your day-to-day ICT is a risky business – security is a primary concern. Currently views tend to be polarised between those who see cloud computing as the answer to making ICT delivery simpler and cheaper (emissions reduction is not yet a primary driver) and those who see it as a disaster waiting to happen. The issue of security separates the two views.
An organisation like the Cloud Security Alliance should certainly help close the gap between these polarised viewpoints, although whether public clouds will ever be seen as secure enough to be used for business-critical applications remains to be seen. It’s far from being the ultimate answer to green ICT.