Cloud computing works best for start-ups at the moment. Large organizations still aren't comfortable with the concept.
Putting your information in the cloud "feels like free fall," said Carolyn Lawson, CIO of California's Public Utilities Commission. "There's nothing that I can really grab on and touch."
As the CIO of a government entity, Lawson has to worry about regulations that don't apply to most start-ups. "I am personally accountable for what happens to the data in my charge," she explained.
That's not to say she can't or won't do things in the cloud, but she stressed that she has to be reassured to a far greater level that cloud services are reliable and secure. That means airtight service level agreements, security certifications, and guaranteed data portability.
Other organizations see things differently. "I'm more comfortable with my data in Oracles' data center than in my 40 person IT shop," said Anthony Hill, CIO of Golden Gate University, an organization that has embraced the cloud model.
By the time the conference concluded, it was still not entirely clear where clouds will be forming or what shape they will take. But for companies that want to build IT infrastructure without major capital expenditure, the future of cloud computing looks bright.
To further understand how companies large and small are approaching cloud computing, InformationWeek has published an independent report on the subject. Download the report here (registration required).