When we think about cryptographic keys, we tend to think about closely guarded secrets. Keys are the only thing that keeps the attacker away from your encrypted data. Some keys are usually treated with the appropriate level of respect. Security professionals in the payments industry, or those that have deployed a PKI, know all too well about the importance... 

Richard Moulds

Pavlov And Cloud Computing: How We Will Overcome Our Anxiety

Pavlov and Cloud Computing: How We Will Overcome our Anxiety

It’s interesting to consider why we struggle to accept the cloud-computing model of data management. It seems safer to have our critical data and applications within walking distance from our desk where we can check its pulse anytime we want. Like Pavlov’s dogs we are conditioned to a react to whatever is a perceived as the non-threatening option. In this case one where we believe we must own the applications. After all we own our home, our vehicles, and our money. And yet even that is not the truth in its entirety.

For most of us the mortgage holder can be considered at least a part owner who requires us to have insurance and make payments. Vehicles are also financed and when we can’t make the payments we, “own” these lenders take the asset. If all of us decided to visit our money at the bank on the same day we would be disappointed yet we rest assured that the government has guaranteed it, and the banks are taking care of it. The point is that all of us do a lot more outsourcing than we are trained to believe. In fact every time we participate in online banking we are engaging in a form of cloud computing both literally in a technological sense, and figuratively in that we can never check on our money in the other room. This sounds like a, “cloud” philosophy.

What Pavlov Would Say

Based on the influential learning theories of Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov, its safe to assume he would tell us we have learned to trust an expensive form of ownership through classical conditioning. Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate when they heard a bell much like we are conditioned to react guardedly when the cloud is suggested as a less expensive alternative than back room tech ownership. It is then that our, “owner reflex” kicks into gear and we feel insecure. Often this reaction is a reflection of a biased view toward ownership that produces the opposite paradigm than the ROI approach so necessary to a company’s success.

The Cost of Ownership

That house we own is an expensive proposition. Taxes, mortgage payments, maintenance, and other expenses arise that can make one doubt the value of this investment. Yet over the long haul home ownership has been a sound investment for most people. The history is far shorter in the tech industry. How many of us are working from a concrete financial analysis to assess cloud computing by the numbers? Often our initial reactions are conditioned responses to cloud computing until something happens to wake us from our slumber

When Pavlov’s assistant accidentally slammed a door during the bell ringing what came to be known as a, novel stimulus interrupted the dogs and they responded less. In the same way many of us will open up to the cloud when the novel stimulus of convenient, quick, and effective services are experienced.

By Don Cleveland

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