stochastic excursion: speed, definition, security, low-cost and monetization - this makes sense as key motivators. So does moving relatively routine practices (sending project updates to a geographically-dispersed community) and tasks that already have a track record for being fairly well automated, like billing. The real test will come when people need to manage inventory, get an accurate pipeline picture, make design changes, protect IP, and do more complicated supply chain functions. Will be interesting to see how the traditional ERP providers refine their offerings and tackle (and overcome) the big hurdles of security, privacy, reliability, and the lag time you mentioned.
And, "trust but verify" should be the supply chain professional's mantra. It's sound advice regardless of whether things operate on the ground or in the cloud.
My company uses cloud services for distributed project management and billing. I think Google has an edge in this arena as they have applied their technical resources to key areas that make this part of their business viable. The areas are speed, definition, security, low-cost and monetization.
The idea that cloud computing is a mature technology is disputable. Much of cloud services generally available is sluggish, with a fuzzy process sequence that contains bugs.
Security and privacy are an issue in the clouds. Google has a good record for security, but as the e-mail below recounts, data-mines its users communications to make money off of its service. There are assurances that they scrupulously omit personally identifiable information in this process. Still, the advertisements that come up are an indicator of what the outside world might see if it were to sift through your e-mails.
In these kinds of arrangements, "trust but verify" is a good watchword. This is one reason it would be hard to certify the security of a cloud service. Security firms can gauge the security of your on-site data, but a third-party provider would be understandably reluctant to put their environment to the test, especially as other companies data is involved. In light of this I think the position that cloud is more secure is mistaken.
Thanks for the lively conversation. I'm defintely getting an education on cloud computing and the potential security issues we soon will all have to face either personally or professional as our data and workflow habits migrate out of back-end servers.
Besides the security issues, a few of you mentioned that cloud ERP isn't quite ready for prime time but that it will become a reality a few years out. Others pointed out that electronics companies could benefit from being early adopters and cloud-based CRM platforms are already gaining considerable popularity. How are your companies having this conversation? Have they started to research the pros and cons? What supply chain/ERP practices may be the first transition? Is cloud computing technology coming up in budget discussions regarding planned IT deployments for the next few years?
While discussing about the Cloud , we should remember that the security of your data and Privacy of your data are two different things. The security aspect is regarding how your data is protected from loss by hardware or software malfunction, server crash or such thing . It also covers the issues related to how the unauthorised access to your data is prevented by the Firewalls, password authentication and such access control methods. The issue of privacy comes in when you have a doubt about the Cloud service privider's integrity and fear that he may willingly but without your knowledge , pass on your sensitive data to your competitors. For Security we need technical measures whereas for Privacy protection we need strong service level agreements and legal support.
Me old gran used to say "be careful what you wish for, you may get it".
There are major security issues related to cloud computing, and not just from the hacker perspective.
A good example of this is Google and "Gmail", wow all that space and an email account for 'free'. Then you start noticing things, about how items in your trash don't actually disappear but move about and how all of a sudden the 'on page' advertising starts to track the internal content of your emails, or even documents attached to an email.
Gradually you start to realize that your documents and all content attached to emails sent to your Gmail account, is actually being used to build a profile on you and you then start to notice that your time on the web and adverts also starts to reflect the content of your documents, but Hay it's 'secure'.
So you decide that you are going to become more secure in the way you store documents in the cloud, and you subscribe to that very capable company RSA and use their SecurID, only RSA drops a 'bollock' and has their servers hacked, then they refuse to tell anyone what exactly was compromised.
Possibly because if they did disclose what was hacked, it would very well be the end of the company, certainly if the root keys for RSA have been hacked, then these hackers have access to massive amounts of financial and technical data, or anything that relies on the root RSA keys.(The whole internet!!)
No problem? We can use a different service that does not directly rely on the SecurID system, in fact such a system is already very popular, they even promise that the data is securely encrypted from your desktop. (wow must be good)
But then this company discloses that they use a form of data compression that looks at each of the files contents and maps sections that are the same to a single copy.
Hang on a minute…. if the files are encrypted HOW can they compare documents between different users or the same users to find similarities so that this compression system can work? (identically encrypted documents should not match ever )
It seems that whilst they encrypt the traffic, YOUR encryption key/data is salted with THEIR MASTER key, which means they can decrypt every piece of data on their systems even if it is protected by your master key. This enables them to compare documents for compression and no doubt they can search and index your content at the same time.
So here we have two very good reasons WHY offerings of Cloud computing/storage is no safer that current methods, and this is before we even consider the 'hacker' aspect (or even rampant staff)
Interesting hacking techniques.
Now there is something called a 'side channel' attack, this is when we use a method to attack a computer system that is not directly related to the target, this same attack vector has ALREADY been used to decode 'secret' RSA keys.
So here goes.
'Someone' uploads some documents to this cloud system, the cloud system tags and indexes the document so that it can perform data compression, by not duplicating data stored on the system that is the same.
An attacker then tries to upload a document or data, but there is almost zero traffic between his computer and the 'cloud' system, this simple act tells the hacker, that a copy of HIS unencrypted document or sections of unencrypted data must already occur on this system under someone else's account. (why would a computer system upload content it already has?)
Never going to happen? what if the attacker is a 'government' looking for copies of documents or data in peoples account without a search warrant?
Potentially such a system could be used to 'search' for words or sentences, without having access to the individual accounts on the target system.
(load a massive file with 'keywords'/keys and then see what parts of the file are transferred to the cloud system)
There are an incredible amount of issues related to security of data once that data enters a system you do not have total control over, many people forget that computer systems all have an "admin" operator who usually has total control over the system, not to mention that there are people all over the world working to break these systems.
As many comments are pointing out cloud services are expanding and getting more sophisticated and the drift at present is to have all in the clouds. We have to see developing pros and cons in next months or years to see.
I believe whether we like it or not everything will eventually merge into the cloud. The technical hiccups of security will be overcome, as will the problems of ubiquitous cloud access. In a generation or two everything will be up there and we will access it from down here.
pabhakar deosthali describes it very well. Perception and misperception aside, what is stored in the cloud can be kept more secure than what is stored on a business's own systems. There is also a huge advantage in being able to access data and applications from anywhere in the world with any device that can connect to the internet.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.