Cloud Computing: Just Pie in the Sky or a Practical Tool for Publishers?
INBOX: Do you know of any magazine publishers who are using cloud computing? Who are they and in what ways are they using it?
RICE: These are early days when it comes to specific applications, but the most noteworthy venture I'm aware of is the recent joint announcement -- only about two weeks old now -- from HP and the consumer publishing platform vendor Wikia for a cloud-based service product called "MagCloud," which purports to automate the entire magazine publishing supply chain.
INBOX: What cost savings, revenue gains, etc. can publishers realize from setting up cloud computing systems?
RICE: For businesses that have entirely adopted cloud-based solutions to run their company, we're seeing upwards of 40-percent savings over traditional, on-premises IT solutions, when considered from a total cost of ownership model. We think it'll be much more than that as companies begin to measure some of the intangible benefits like people resource consumption that was required in the old paradigm.
INBOX: Will publishers have personal relationships with the companies that manage the clouds, allowing them to frequently edit the documents they've stored on the cloud?
RICE: A publishing company would simply access the software and its associated artifacts much the same as they do today, except they'd do it by way of the big computer in the cloud. What they'd need is an Internet-connected computer and a browser. The service would also be ubiquitous, so decentralized workforces would also be prominent in this model. This is a very simplified illustration, but no, I don't think accessibility to data or security will be much of a concern for publishers.
INBOX: How does cloud computing address the security concerns of publishers?
RICE: Security is all-encompassing and takes lots of different forms. The perspective I'd offer is that there's safety in numbers. All of the prominent cloud-based solution providers have instituted advanced data security technologies throughout their operations, including authentication for password protection access, SSL 128-bit encryption, timed log-offs for session termination when no user activity is present, industrial grade firewall protection to deny unauthorized connections and, of course, data backup regimens stored in off-site facilities.