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12 Signs that Your Company is Already in the Cloud

What are the telltale signs that your company is already Computing in the Cloud?

Craig Balding's Cloud Security Blog

What are the telltale signs that your company is already Computing in the Cloud? Is it when the CIO makes a big announcement at the monthly IT meeting? Is it when the IT newsletter drops a reference to pilot testing of some ‘web based’ software? Or, is it when the secretary whips out the boss’s Corporate Credit Card and signs up to a Cloud Service? Here are 12 indicators that your company is *already* part of the Cloud:

  1. Your internal helpdesk reports fewer password resets.
  2. Finance contacts you to confirm all the DVD readers are disabled - they are puzzled by the number of recurring credit card charges for Amazon (are the secretaries spreading out their orders for “Lost” DVDs again?).
  3. You are asked to authorise a network change ticket that modifies the LAN routing policy. All traffic will be sent directly to the Internet proxy (for performance reasons). From the accompanying diagram, the data center appears to have been cut and pasted on the wrong side of the firewall (idiots!).
  4. You walk into the Data Center and it feels cooler than usual.
  5. When the builders next door accidentally saw through the company Internet connection, people complain there must be a DoS attack going on as they can’t get to their files.
  6. During physical inspections, you notice unexplained gaps in server cabinets.
  7. Login failures go down, in fact login “attempts” in general go down but the company car park is full.
  8. As you walk through the office, you notice all the “Security Awareness” posters have been replaced with pictures of Jeff Bezos (!)
  9. You are asked to authorise a visit from the local environment group. Fearing protesters, you are surprised to learn that your company has won a prize for reducing its Carbon Footprint
  10. Your Intrusion Prevention System is preventing the call center from uploading contracts stored as GIF files.
  11. You detect the presence of ‘malware’ in the form of unexplained ‘Machine Images’ on IT’s desktops.
  12. You stop finding Windows passwords under keyboards, instead you find random hex digits next to the words ‘Access Key’ and ‘Secret Key’. You sigh, but at least they are setting difficult to guess passwords now!

If you are charged with IT security in your company, you may want to start checking your web proxy logs for telltale signs that people are talking to the Cloud…or just talk to finance.

[This post appeared originally here and is republished in full by kind permission of the author.]

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More Stories By Craig Balding

Craig Balding is a Security Practitioner at a Fortune 500 where he leads a crack team of security SMEs. He has a decade of hands-on IT Security experience. His primary skill areas include UNIX security, ORACLE RDBMS security, Penetration Testing, Digital Forensics (offline, live and network), and Global Investigations. He co-authored Maximum Security and even has a CISSP.

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Most Recent Comments
craigbalding 08/27/08 05:55:00 PM EDT


I read your comment and couldn't quite understand how it related to the post. And then I remembered I saw it somewhere else, so I did a quick google search and it seems you've posted the exact same comment to half a dozen other websites.


Keep on trollin' ;-)



MiamiWebDesigner 08/27/08 04:56:52 AM EDT

Kudos to the Cloud Crowd for Re-Inventing the Wheel!

One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. Yet another is that techno-marketeers rely on that, so they can put labels like "revolutionary" and "innovative" on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel ... and often poor copies at that.

A good example is all the buzz about "Cloud Computing" in general and "SaaS" (software as a service) in particular:


Both terms are bogus. The only true cloud computing takes place in aircraft. What they're actually referring to by "the cloud" is a large-scale and often remotely located and managed computing platform. We have had those since the dawn of electronic IT. IBM calls them "mainframes":


The only innovation offered by today's cloud crowd is actually more of a speculation, i.e. that server farms can deliver the same solid performance as Big Iron. And even that's not original. Anyone remember Datapoint's ARCnet, or DEC's VAXclusters? Whatever happened to those guys, anyway...?

And as for SaaS, selling the sizzle while keeping the steak is a marketing ploy most rightfully accredited to society's oldest profession. Its first application in IT was (and for many still is) known as the "service bureau". And I don't mean the contemporary service bureau (mis)conception labelled "Service 2.0" by a Wikipedia contributor whose historical perspective is apparently constrained to four years:


Instead, I mean the computer service bureau industry that spawned ADAPSO (the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations) in 1960, and whose chronology comprises a notable portion of the IEEE's "Annals of the History of Computing":


So ... for any of you slide rule-toting, pocket-protected keypunch-card cowboys who may be just coming out of a 40-year coma, let me give you a quick IT update:

1. "Mainframe" is now "Cloud" (with concomitant ethereal substance).

2. "Terminal" is now "Web Browser" (with much cooler games, and infinitely more distractions).

3. "Service Bureau" is now "SaaS" (but app upgrades are just as painful, and custom mods equally elusive).

4. Most IT buzzwords boil down to techno-hyped BS (just as they always have).

Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Florida

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