reading comprehension

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

There is nothing easy about the adoption of cloud computing. It demands new information-technology (IT) and developer skill sets. It also challenges organizational structure and work practice. But that does not mean, as Bruce Schneier says, that “it’s complicated” or a “maybe”. Companies should make the adoption of the cloud a strategic imperative because it is a vastly superior way to deliver reliable, secure, scalable computing—which is needed to fuel business.

Mr Schneier highlights the potential risks of the cloud, but fails to account for the risk of not adopting it. Businesses exist to deliver value while managing risk. And the broad adoption of cloud computing will dramatically decrease risk and offer incredible opportunities to firms that seek competitive advantage. Mr Schneier neglects to mention the manifest risk inherent in the status quo: a legacy mindset born of well-founded fears. Today’s IT infrastructure is a Swiss cheese of vulnerable networks, operating systems and applications developed before the internet. It is difficult and expensive to keep running—and easy to penetrate. In 2014 Verizon reported more than 2,100 data breaches. The FBI has claimed that every major American company has been compromised by the Chinese—whether they realized it or not. Against this backdrop, it is rational for IT staff to seek greater control by locking down networks and computers, and by prohibiting the use of the cloud.

But did attempts to secure the perimeter protect ancient Troy? When the Greeks disappeared leaving an innocent-looking horse, the Trojans willingly wheeled it inside. Nothing has changed: more than 70% of attacks cannot be detected, and more than 90% of breaches are the result of poor IT hygiene and human error. There are only two ways forward: either embracing fundamentally more secure, automated, cloud-centric IT, or to continue trying to defend the indefensible.

By focusing on the hypothetical risks of the cloud, Mr Schneier unwittingly lends credibility to naysayers. Organizations that follow his advice place their faith in an error-prone human labour practice that clings to legacy IT assets and low levels of automation, which in turn are rooted in the fallacious belief that less change improves security. These organisations use humans to sift through the haystack of weak signals that might indicate a threat, but easily fall prey to undetectable targeted attacks. By focusing their resources on trying to defend the infrastructure, these organizations will also fail to seize opportunities for IT to lead enterprise innovation through the use of the cloud.

Only a few reputable cloud vendors will survive the intense competition to provide utility-scale cloud services. These will invest heavily to ensure that they can satisfy complex regional and business sector-specific regulations. Clouds may be “a juicier target” for attackers, in the words of Mr Schneier, but cloud providers design security into their systems and dedicate enormous resources to protect their customers. Their scale is a huge asset: contrast the difficulty of breaking into a cloud provider’s infrastructure to find valuable data among the trillions of objects it stores or to locate a vulnerable application on one of its millions of servers with the ease with which Sony Pictures Entertainment was directly targeted and breached, resulting in the loss of more than 10 terabytes of data.

Today’s enterprise IT needs to become a casualty of the cloud. From the ashes of the traditional ways of doing IT will emerge a business-focused, cloud-centric competence that can fuel innovation. Cloud computing is synonymous with automation, continuous update, security through rigorous design and rapid, service-centric innovation that is of vital importance to the future of every business. The success of companies such as, Uber, Netflix and Airbnb is a result solely of their innovative use of the cloud. The ability to securely store and process vast amounts of data quickly offers opportunities for process and supply chain optimization, marketing, sales and new-product innovation. New, efficient methods for asynchronous parallel computation make the vast capacity of the cloud available to every application owner—the potential of which we have only just begun to explore.

1. The author mentions the FBI’s claim in the second paragraph in order to
A. set up a contention that the author later dismisses.
B. admit that cloud computing has insurmountable risks.
C. show how IT is vulnerable to invasions from the Chinese.
D. highlight the point at issue between the author and Mr. Schneier.

2. The author, in using the expression “trying to defend the indefensible”, implies that
A. it is sometimes justified that one should strive to do the impossible.
B. it is in the interest of the IT industry to prohibit the use of the cloud.
C. “trying to defend the indefensible” is an option the IT industry may turn to.
D. it is obvious that the only way forward for the IT industry is cloud computing.

3. The tone of the passage can be best described as
A. argumentative.
B. derisive.
C. equivocal.
D. descriptive.

4. It can be properly inferred from the passage that
I. the breach of Sony Pictures Entertainment that led to the loss of significant data cannot be attributed to weaknesses in the armor of cloud computing.
II. the entertainment industry has suffered significant losses of data and revenue as a direct consequence of Chinese attempts to infiltrate networks.
III. cloud computing guarantees the safe keeping of valuable data that companies that provide cloud services have been entrusted with.

A. I only.
B. II only.
C. I and III only.
D. All of the above.


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