Cloud Computing East 2014

When we were selected to speak at this conference a few months ago, I was excited to visit DC and talk with decision-makers in the healthcare space who are in all parts of their cloud journey. The questions we got from the attendees varied widely as you could tell the attendees were in many different phases of their cloud migration. Some were still wondering where to start, while others were looking how to have a separate cloud for a very unique set of users (in this case, it was R&D engineers who needed test environments with more freedom and semi-persistence). It definitely reminded me of the breadth of places we find our customers day-in/day-out.

The sessions focused on a number of topics, starting with infrastructure and architecture topics, building all the way to workflow impacts when migrating to the cloud (Scott’s session). At one of the sessions, the presenter Roman Pavlyuk had a great pejorative question: “In the 1800’s western US (a.k.a. “The Wild west”, banks were getting robbed all the time, yet individuals still put their money into them.” Their security wasn’t believed-in, yet people still flocked to them as a “safe” place. He used this example to setup his perspective on security in the cloud. It was interesting to hear his perspective because it’s one we experience all the time: How much security risk are you willing to continue to manage? When you are running your own IT support group, you are taking on plenty of risk and probably don’t even realize it. What feels like the best that can be done is nothing compared to the world-class service that can be provided by a specialist in that area. The process designed and implemented by your local IT guy likely pales in comparison to the structured, methodical, and rehearsed practices that are managed and delivered by organizations skilled in that specific service. No one wants to be the guinea pig in any situation, but this is often what a SMB is when using their internal staff to solve ALL technology challenges. While it may cost more to get expertise from outside your walls, this would be a place NOT to be penny-wise and pound foolish.

The most difficult part of the security conversations has been requesting users to change their behavior. We stumble into this scenario sometimes in clients who have made simplicity and ease the guiding principle of their technology, even when it violates basic security protocols. When asking an organization to embrace common security standards, in this day and age of DNS attacks and corporate espionage, your security is only as strong as your weakest link. . I definitely recognize that security is a sometimes difficult balance between safe guarding your data and avoiding inconvenience for the user. That said, everyone must be on-board to protect the firm’s data, IP, and overall business. No exceptions, even for the founder and CEO

Scott’s speech was met with applause (speeches will be posted here) and he stayed on stage to anchor a panel to discuss additional healthcare / cloud questions from the moderator. True to form, he got the entire room to laugh at a metaphor three times during the Q&A session. We do take technology serious, but often times we can explain things to simply and comically, that the audience will actually remember it. Both of us feel the audience remembering the story/metaphor is more powerful a tool than being perfectly detailed on a technology concept. I guess it really goes back to “know your audience.”

It was a little tortuous to be in a windowless hotel conference room with picture-perfect spring days outside. We got out for one nice meal at Le Diplomate before the final day of the show and that meal was amazing. I highly recommend the pâté (smooth as ice cream), as well as their seafood platter. I love French food.

Le Diplomate

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