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The cultural divide on data protection - USA vs EU

We are several months past the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 (9/11) attacks, but one of the significant consequences of that event a decade ago highlights the cultural divide between the USA and Europe on data protection.  Data privacy has been hitting the news recently because of Google's changes in their terms and condition.  Frank Jennings of DMH Stallard, who chairs the Governace Board for the CIF Code of Practice on which I sit, has just published a good analysis of the proposed reforms to the EU's data protection laws, and that triggered me to visit the topic here.  Data in terms of security, privacy and sovereignty is still the number 1 issue for companies who are first considering Cloud Computing.   As a buyer, you need to carry out your due diligence for any software, platform or infrastructure as a service - you should be checking how and where the provider will be storing your data, and how YOU will comply with legislation like the Data Protection Act.

Here in the UK, if your systems handle personal information about individuals you have a number of legal obligations to protect that information under the Data Protection Act 1998. .. ...
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The Cloud needs some standards (or a Code of Practice)

Standards Cartoon from xkcdOne of the big issues for a buyer today considering Cloud Computing is how do you choose a good Cloud provider from a bad one?  Who do you trust?  Maybe the Cloud Topic needs some standards?  Well actually there are so many standards bodies and vendor groups that the picture is confused - something that I try to demystify with my company and with the various cloud groups that I'm involved with.  If you type "cloud standards" in to Google, you'll find an alphabet soup of acronyms, and even the first entry in the list - a "Wiki site for Cloud Standards Coordination" - initially looks promising, but doesn't yet mention some of the key organizations that have something worthwhile to contribute to this topic.  

When you do some  research you find the International Organization for Standardization (their ISO 27001 on IT security is relevant for the data centre) or the IBM backed Open Cloud Manifesto  or The Open Data Center Alliance, and many others, but most of their output seems to be about technical standards for set up, programming and interoperability of services - good for the industry as a whole, but not necessarily relevant to the average .. ...
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Demystifying the Cloud

How do you spread the word about the benefits of Cloud Computing beyond technology enthusiasts, web "savvy" geeks and industry insiders  to the general business woman and man "in the street"?  The likes of Microsoft and Salesforce are certainly trying to do that with some of their advertising campaigns, but I believe they are missing the target by a mile.  A group of us have got together to try and amplify our voices with an initiative called Cloud Advocates.  Let me explain with a bit of an advert, tell you about our first event and our tie up with Freshbusinessthinking.com.

We are at the stage where Cloud Computing,  from web  based applications to on demand infrastructure, is just moving from being the next big trend to a mainstream technology choice.  There are a plethora of events and announcements around the topic, and just to complicate things every technology provider is redefining whatever offering they've got as a Cloud solution.  In the middle of all this noise  we need some clarity on the topic.  That is why Richard Messik and I decided to pool some of our marketing energy and form Cloud Advocates, an association of ...
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Living with iPad

iPad's always on next to the PC these daysJust before Christmas I joined in with the iPad crowd.  The last straw was an XBRL event at ICAEW back in November when 5 of my colleagues who were speaking or supporting Twinfield at the show all had iPads and I didn't.  I started to look seriously at the tablet concept to see how it would help me on the road, and to compare iPad vs Android or whatever was available.  The iPad wins hands down, and even though my own 64Gb 3G device just got made obsolete by the iPad 2 announcement, I don't care.  Apple has done what it did to the MP3 market with iPod, and I just can't understand why the competitors have given Apple a year's head start in the market?  Let me give you my perspective on living with the iPad.

A couple of weeks ago at the end of a EuroCloud dinner, a senior Microsoft guy next to me needed to find his hotel in the Cromwell Road.  I pulled out my iPad.  The irony of using an Apple product was not lost on either of us.  I got straight in to Google Maps, showed him where his hotel was and the directions from the nearest tube station.  Then I showed him the London Underground map, which Lines and where he needed to change. ...
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Cloud is at an inflection point, but let's get things clear

BusinessCloud9On behalf of EuroCloud, I've just posted over at BusinessCloud9's revamped site.  They've gone for a new, clean and simple style and simple logo, which looks good.  

My first post there explains that at the start of 2011 a number of things are happening in the market, and particularly the UK, that mean Cloud Computing is at an important inflection point.  The Cloud is about to become a mainstream approach to be considered not just by CIOs, IT departments of larger companies and the tech savvy early adopters, but for the average business woman and man in the street too.  They are on the receiving end of some significant new marketing of the Cloud topic: As usual we IT solution providers are too steeped in our own jargon and hype, and that makes us lousy at getting the message across in business terms.  Please go over and read the full post, ...