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Another keynote speaker, Mitel CTO Jim Davies, noted the importance of establishing a somewhat formalized framework for cloud decision-making.
He recommended that business executives start by asking, "Does the app meet my business requirements? There is no graceful way out, if you get this one wrong, so consider it carefully," he urged. "Next decide how you want to deploy the application. You might opt for an appliance, or the public cloud, a private cloud, or a hybrid cloud. The good news is that this decision can be revisited multiple times in the future, if desired.
"Next, decide how you want to pay for it," he continued. "This can be through a capital purchase, or through Opex. You can buy the average and rent the peak, or you can opt for pay-for-use. Consider application lifespan and variability in demand when making this decision."
On the cloud security front, Michael Barrett, the chief information security officer of PayPal, told the gathering that passwords, as we know them, have outlived their usefulness. He put up a slide depicting a gravestone that set the lifespan from 1961, with the beginning of time sharing on mainframes, and ending in 2013.
"Passwords are difficult for users who need an ever-growing number of them, difficult to secure, and impossible to scale," he said. "The cloud has removed the effectiveness of hashes in securing passwords. They are becoming much less difficult to crack, and it can be done by 'script kiddies,'" referring to inexperienced hackers who often use widely available hacking kits to supplement their own limited knowledge.
"Authentication needs to be easier and more secure," he continued. "One option is to authenticate the device and then let the device authenticate to the specific services. Another option is to use biometrics, such as fingerprints, as a means of establishing authentication. But, however this is accomplished, better authentication will enhance cloud adoption."
Security has frequently been identified as one of the main inhibitors of cloud adoption.