Blog Post

Memo to I.T.: Don’t fight the public cloud; embrace it

Simon Crosby - Citrix - Structure 2011When it comes to cloud computing, corporate I.T. doesn’t quite “get it” just yet. Simon Crosby, CTO, datacenter and cloud division, Citrix Systems said on Wednesday that the enterprise cloud isn’t about adding more servers, virtual machines and very costly engineers. Instead, the cloud adoption process is one of a “creative model of destruction,” because the corporate cloud should be adopting automation for efficiency. The other big barrier to enterprise cloud adoption is finding ways to merge the public cloud with private clouds in a way that provides trust and availability.

Speaking at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco, Crosby noted that enterprise employees will find ways to use the public cloud and skirt I.T. policies through the use of services such as Dropbox,, Amazon Web Services (s amzn) and others. And it’s essentially a losing battle to fight the tide. Crosby pointed to the “cloud in your pocket,” alluding to smartphone apps that already leverage cloud services.

Think Digg, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to name a few. There are no I.T. operations for the cloud-based bits of these apps and mobile app usage is already leapfrogging that of the mobile web: a trend unlikely to reverse. Crosby emphasized the point, saying this type of cloud is “growing faster than in the data center, laying waste to the notion of the PC and changing the enterprise I.T. segment faster than anything in a data center.”

The key challenge, according to Crosby, is how to securely deliver enterprise data and services to employees that have a tendency to go anywhere outside I.T. and violate corporate policy? Centralizing data and building protected clients is one answer, while specialized virtual machines that can wall off data is another. Crosby thinks there’s an even better solution out there that can offer continuous protection in a virtualized state, but it’s just a concept for now. He’s working on the implementation of the idea, however. Today, Crosby announced he’ll be leaving Citrix to found Bromium to bring just such a solution in the future.

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7 Responses to “Memo to I.T.: Don’t fight the public cloud; embrace it”

  1. Cloud computing is another way of saying Outsourcing. Only instead of servers you have connections. How can major business or government for that matter, trust a company – who’s primary reason for existing is to profit – to handle, not attempt security. (We can connect to our data yay, but who else can too) Just for this reason we are going the opposite direction in our enterprise. 100% our clients and servers on our network. Period. No contractor equipment whatsoever. You’re here for a conference with our executives, tough use an air card. The Cloud is for startups – or non sensitive anything. Basically limiting its uses to Open source (i.e. source will be released anyway) or personal MP3 storage. The Cloud is something that a startup could use and grow out of. @Beaknit, If corp IT isn’t going to do it, why would another corps IT do it better? Both ways its their business, and both ways there is an executive who thinks that 1 day out of 14 to patch servers is WAYYYY too much down time. The problem has never been IT, but the limitations put on them via expectation of their corp masters.

  2. JohnMac

    Sony getting hacked is reason number one the cloud is not a viable business solution. Security will always be inadequate. Does anyone remember ‘thin client’? What a bomb. The whole concept is based on version control and turning computing into a subscription based business model to reduce maintenance & distribution costs while enhanceing & leveling revenue streams. The only ones to benefit here are the ones that are pushing it.

  3. Beaknit

    I’m afraid you folks are fooling yourselves if you think corporate IT security is better than what’s in the cloud. The whole point of cloud computing is automation on a massive scale – which is the backbone of a secure infrastructure. Go ask your IT team when the last time they patched their Exchange server was.


    I am a huge fan of cloud computing – in fact, I am a cloud computing business strategist (i.e., I help organizations evaluate business applications for finance, ERP, CRM etc.), and I feel that cloud vendors MUST overcome the “security test”. True, cloud apps are winning market share etc. But, to accelerate their growth they have to convince business customers that cloud applications’ security is rock solid. Despite all the marketing hype from cloud vendors, customers and prospects are not convinced about the security of their data in the cloud. Here is an example

  5. Malachi Beckham

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. The one thing you will notice about anyone who thinks putting data out on the internet is a good idea, is probably making money off of it.

  6. No Mr. Crosby, YOU don’t get it. Cloud computing will continue to be the dumbest idea ever until the companies who would be implementing it (the eventuality is that everyone will, if that doesn’t scare you, it should) decide that they should actually spend money on security that works. A bunch of acne-ridden script kiddies are kicking the asses of the most powerful organizations in the world, NGO and otherwise, and you want us to put all of our programs, photos, data, etc. on a server thousands of miles away whose security we can’t be sure of?

    If that’s not a genuinely stupid idea, then I don’t know what is. Yes cloud computing is probably inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I’ll volunteer to be among the ones getting their data jacked first.