UK charity's security staff skeptical of cloud

July 26, 2012

With infrastructure needs that move in peaks and valleys, the former mostly surrounding the annual "Race to Life," U.K.-based charity Cancer Research seems like a perfect candidate for a move to the public cloud. However, according to Computerworld, the charity's internal security staff is unsure of the cloud as a viable solution.

Information Systems manager at the charity, Jane Swindle, has been pushing for the move to more cloud services, but has met resistance. When it comes to cloud security, she's not sure if the internal team can reach an acceptable level of satisfaction with the technology before it moves on to the next thing.

"I think the biggest challenge is going to be our internal audit security people," Swindle told Computerworld. "Convincing them that it's the right thing to do and that all the security measures we need to put in place have been done correctly. People on that side of things don't seem to be moving as fast as the technology."

Cloud strategy
Despite any holdups among the organization's security professionals, Cancer Research is moving forward with its plans for the public cloud. The charity is not unfamiliar with cloud computing altogether. In addition to a cloud-based tool for fundraising deployed in January, the organization consolidated its eight London-based data centers into one building, virtualizing nearly the entire infrastructure, according to Computerworld.

While the cost savings proved beneficial, some of the same type of resistance currently being felt from the security team remained. Only for that move, it was more expansive and had little to do with worries about how to secure cloud computing. Swindon wanted the effort to be more widespread, but convincing people who are used to their own server space to share with others is often a more difficult hurdle than actually installing a new technology.

"The culture is a hard nut to crack," Swindon said.

Cloud trends
When it comes to charities, the cultural barrier looks to eventually be brushed aside in favor of the scalable benefits, according to the Guardian. From an IT perspective, one-off events that charities often turn to looking to raise significant funds present a logistical nightmare. Suddenly, infrastructure that may have even seemed like overkill 11 months out of the year is hardly close to enough.

By using cloud services, charities have no need for servers lying dormant for most of the year. For environmental charities, the less energy they use also comes as an added benefit.

-McAfee Cloud Security