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Enterprises starting to trust cloud for more sensitive apps

Cloud gaining traction for everything from e-discovery to security monitoring

By , Network World
June 21, 2013 04:10 PM ET

Network World - Trusting the cloud to handle sensitive transactions and security services isn't for every enterprise, but organizations from banks to app developers are starting to give it a try.

Gartner predicts the global cloud computing market will grow 18.5% this year to $131 billion, with business process-as-a-service accounting for the biggest chunk of that at 28%. According to Gartner's numbers, management, security and automation accounts for just 2.8%.

Even more traditional and conservative types of companies, such as banks, are venturing into the cloud to carry out complex processes that, in some cases, they find they can do far more efficiently outside of internal data centers.

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Take TD Bank, for example, which like all banks has the legal obligation to process e-discovery requests related to any civil and criminal case in which bank records or email are needed. Dera Nevin, the managing counsel for e-discovery there, says she's found a cloud-based e-discovery system has been a huge advantage over trying to run an in-house application to do this.

"Our IT systems were not designed with e-discovery in mind," says Nevin. She points out that e-discovery involves complicated searches to ferret out exactly the right financial information that lawyers approaching the bank need to represent their clients in civil or criminal cases that might involve everything from arbitration to regulation to criminal subpoenas to matrimonial disputes.

By adopting Catalyst Repository Systems as a cloud-based service where documents are uploaded and then sorted through, the e-discovery process scales up much better than it did trying to sort through documents directly inside the bank's various locations, Nevin says.

Our IT systems were not designed with e-discovery in mind."

"This platform is designed to take disparate file types and normalize them," Nevin says. TD Bank has literally "petabytes" of data that need to be searched for e-discovery and the cloud-based service has fine-grained searching mechanisms that make the process go faster and more smoothly for the bank's staff, Nevin says. TD Bank first uploads large volumes of data to the cloud service and then proceeds with the search.

Security in the cloud

Turning to outside vendors for security help is also a choice some companies are making when it comes to the cloud.

Atlanta-based PGi is a large provider of Web-based collaboration services available to mobile and desktop, a $525 million business operating in 25 countries with 45,000 enterprises customers. Sean O'Brien, executive vice president for strategy and communications, says his company has turned to the cloud for many types of services, including those from Salesforce, ServiceNow and Amazon EC2. To guard its collaboration service and its own internal network, PGi elected to have Symantec monitor and handle security issues that might come up.

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