Information Banking – the next Cloud Frontier

Less than a hundred years ago it was common practice to simply place your money or valuables under a mattress. Although this approach was convenient, your finances could easily be stolen, lost or simply forgotten about.

Today the idea of stuffing your salary beneath the bed is absurd. Almost everyone now has access to a bank account and only a handful of conspiracy theorists question the fundamental value associated with this system.

Less than a hundred years ago it was common practice to simply place your money or valuables under a mattress

Now we expect banks to keep our money safe and provide complimentary services. Aside from giving us new ways to use our money, we hope that it’ll also invest it wisely so we see some interest.

We're seeing a similar trend emerge in cloud computing.

To begin with we all stored our valuable data in our on-premise datacenter, the IT equivalent of putting it under our corporate mattress. Now the cloud is widely accepted as a reliable and safe repository.

Organizations are turning to companies like Mimecast to host their data, recognizing that reputable cloud providers specialize in securing data for their customers. They offer technology, expertise and cost efficiency that is very tough to match. Like the bank, they stand or fall on their ability to store, protect and make data available – it’s all they focus on.

We’re close to a time where cloud service providers like Mimecast, will become the protected data repositories through which every company, organization and individual will access information – be it medical records, corporate communication, customer or financial data.

There are still some cloud skeptics of course who believe that remotely hosted services are less reliable and remove control from the owner of the data – but they’re increasingly in the minority as the economics and technical facts of cloud services become more compelling.

Just as banking quickly moved from simply storing dusty bank notes to providing added value services, cloud service firms like ourselves are doing the same with corporate data.

We’re seeing this metamorphosis play out in the form of the “Big Data” discussions which center around how to make data work harder for a business. A great deal of the value is actually in the detail or metadata. This is pretty hard to surface as it’s hidden and disconnected across your organization in multiple data stores. In email, on personal hard disks, cloud services and data centers. As you consolidate, archive or store all your data on secure cloud services the potential to cohesively surface increased value from the data begins to emerge.

We’ve already begun implementing services that absorb corporate information of all shapes and sizes into a cloud-based information ‘banking’ service – an Interactive Archive that dusts your metadata off and puts it back to work.

The biggest remaining challenge, however, is cloud standardization. Like the financial industry, the cloud sector must also have a uniform set of practices that offer users piece of mind when accessing a service of this nature.

Mimecast has long been a supporter of developing cloud standards and was one of the first cloud archiving vendors to align with the Cloud Security Alliance. Mimecast has also adopted a stringent approach to data security that is bolstered by the company’s adherence to internationally recognized industry standards such as ISO27001.

The cloud industry is growing at a rapid rate, and these services are demonstrating the value that can be drawn from a cloud archive, we expect that over time a handful of ‘information banks’ will emerge.

You wouldn’t hide your cash beneath the mattress and expect it to earn interest, so why would you do the IT equivalent with your valuable data?