momius - Fotolia

Where does IT privacy end and government control begin?

Cloud and IT security is already a hot-button issue. And now, U.S. law enforcement is looking for an easier path to search remote computers.

As technology continues to advance, IT privacy and other data security issues arise. To keep pace with IT's rapid development, U.S. law enforcement agencies are looking for an easier path to remote computer access.

"It seems like we're still trying to figure out where privacy should stop and government control starts," said David Linthicum in a recent podcast. "That still seems to be a grey area."

Linthicum discussed privacy issues and other cloud topics with Peter Coffee, VP of strategic research at Other highlights included:

1. Is the recent proposal to ease law enforcement's access to remote computers a significant privacy concern? "The history of communication has been more marked by the assumption that anyone who really wanted to know what you were saying could find out," Coffee said. "If you care about the privacy, you seek out and use the best available technology … and you deal with the world as you find it instead of expecting legislation to turn people into angels."

Is the law struggling to keep up with technology? "To say the law is having a hard time coming to grips with the realities of a modern digital world would be a huge understatement," Coffee said.

Will this affect people's perception of cloud computing? "There's a lot of people who seem to think it's an 'either or' thing -- either you trust the cloud completely or you don't trust it at all," Coffee said. "It's infinitely more nuanced than that."

"The amount of security that you have really goes to the people, processes and mechanisms that you have in place," Linthicum said. "It's not necessarily the location of the data … just ask Sony and Home Depot." (2:50-12:20)

2.'s customer-support application,, is focusing on small businesses and now speaks more than 50 languages.

"One of the most exciting phenomena of cloud is that the global accessibility and discoverability that used to be limited to the world's largest companies is now available, in principle, to a one or five person startup," Coffee said.

What's most important for small businesses? Linthicum and Coffee agreed that price is secondary to finding the right technology or cloud service -- be it infrastructure as a service or platform as a service -- to meet specific business needs. (12:21-17:41)

3. Do business units have more cloud resource control than IT would prefer? "The IT department that allows itself to be perceived as the gatekeeper and be perceived as Dr. No has to acknowledge some responsibility for the behavior that results," Coffee said.

Does IT need to change its approach? IT departments treating anyone wanting cloud access or other data center services as a supplicant, don't have much of a future, Coffee said.

Will IT be brokering services or APIs in the future? Coffee believes so. "In many ways today, what you are in the marketplace is the portfolio of APIs you expose," Coffee said. "Your brand is your APIs." (17:41-28:00)

Next Steps

What to consider for cloud security, governance plans

Cloud control essential for effective management

Why public cloud encryption is key for data storage

Dig Deeper on Public cloud and other cloud deployment models