With more collaboration comes more shared data, and it is vital that this data is secured, and available for reading, storing and publishing only by those with explicit authority to do so. Can this level of security be achieved, from the cloud? If so, are there immediate significant transformational opportunities and how might these be exploited?
As a method of working, collaboration aligns closely with a key aspiration of modern business; that of bringing together, across sectors, the diverse talents, knowledge and resources available; bringing them to bear efficiently where and when needed, unhindered by boundaries.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) model, sometimes called “cloud computing”, is an obvious means to achieve this. Applications and data are hosted at a highly secure remote location and can be accessed by accredited people using any fixed or mobile device, alleviating the need to install or maintain software or infrastructure anywhere except in the service provider’s data centre. This offers technical and operational simplification throughout the application life cycle and has the potential to remove many of the costs and boundaries that impede collaboration between organisations and people.
However, boundaries have often been put in place deliberately to achieve compliance, protect privacy, intellectual property and provide traceability. Some boundaries were created not by design but by incidental physical, political or technical realities – for example the absence of connection between private networks – and whose integrity is assumed by governance, especially in the formulation and implementation of IT security policy. Such boundaries must not be compromised and the innovation promised by the cloud service must offer clarity, control and predictability at the edge.