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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jon Freeman, CIO of MyCroft, Inc. (Part 7)

Posted on Thursday, Oct 13th 2011

Sramana Mitra: The iPad in particular is a device that’s being used by multiple people in a household. Let’s say it’s an iPad that belongs to a Fortune 500 employee but is also, in the evening or on the weekend, being used by the same person’s five-year-old son for completely different purposes. There needs to be a policy for that.

Jon Freeman: Absolutely. The funny thing is – to your point – what we’ve found that just the scenario you just painted with an iPad being at home, we had a great situation where the managing director of a large investment bank was checking his online assets and online portfolio with his portfolio management company. He logged out – thought he logged out – from his own organization’s asset management website. [He] hit the “log out” button, got confirmation that he’d logged out, and put the iPad down. His 17-year-old son picked up the iPad, hit the backspace key, and was brought right back into the system. So, the 17-year-old son is very happy because he now knows what his father is going to be leaving him, but these devices have forced people to understand there’s a new way of doing computing that is not the same established model as when you’re dealing with a device that just sits on your desktop.

SM: Yes. It’ all very dangerous the way we have our laptops and iPads set up these days. We have all these passwords stored in the memory of the browser, and the machine itself is seldom password protected. So, if somebody who shouldn’t get access to a machine like that does get access, there’s an immense amount of damage to be done.

JF: You’re absolutely right. That’s the exciting part about being in this space right now. We’re dealing with such a draconian change or paradigm shift in the way computing is being done. The organizations we deal with are almost breaking in the middle being able to support this. The business, once again, is driving technology, which is a great and exciting thing because for many years our CEOs felt displaced. Technology was no longer a differentiator or competitive tool that made the organization run better. It almost became synonymous with the guy who runs the telephone system. Well, we all need PCs. We all need Excel. Now, they’re back on the cutting edge because these devices are redefining how users and how businesses conduct business.

But the security infrastructures need to become adaptive and need to be able to take into consideration how to work with these systems as well. More important, they need to be able to understand that a user today, logged in from a desktop, tomorrow, or in three minutes or simultaneously may be logged in through an iPad, and the policies and context are entirely different.

SM: That’s right. This has been a very interesting conversation, Jon. Speaking with you reinforces my feeling that we are living in a very insecure computing environment right now.

JF: It was great talking with you. I learned a lot. Thank you.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Jon Freeman, CIO of MyCroft, Inc.
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