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May 2012, Iss. 2

Key questions to ask public cloud, SaaS providers

IT managers considering public cloud providers, including Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors, have the right to ask questions of the many vendors looking to sell them the next big thing. But what are the right questions? Security is a primary concern to enterprises that deal with sensitive data and are reluctant to put it into the cloud. Paul Burns, president of Fort Collins, Colo.-based analyst group Neovise, said that while people have gotten used to the multi-tenancy aspect of many cloud services, they still should have other security concerns. “Is the data stored in an encrypted fashion? Is the data encrypted during data transfer? Who holds the encryption keys?” Burns said. Michael Canniff, a professor of management information systems at University of the Pacific and senior partner with San Francisco-based Mercury Consulting, thinks enterprises should take a three-pronged look at security -- data center, data management and access rights. “If I was a corporate IT person and I’m looking to get into SaaS and start buying ...

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