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I've been reading research. But I don't know word ring-fenced.

Local, state and federal governments—will require “private” clouds, which are ring-fenced infrastructures that use cloud technologies

Is it a financial term or technology term?

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Can you cite the source? –  Kris Apr 26 '12 at 5:25
    
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Since around the 1980's "ring-fencing" has been primarily a financial term, but the roots of the term are in the ring of fencing put around an area of land to confine livestock. So its core meaning is "a comprehensive barrier protecting" something.

In the quote cited, I believe "ring-fenced" refers to a comprehensive computer networking barrier and physical barrier to protect computers containing sensitive information from being accessed from outside the "fence", particularly by other authorized users of the same cloud providers services. Both Google and Amazon have built such facilities so they can host sensitive governmental data and applications for government use, addressing fears that such services will be less secure than current computing services owned and operated directly by the governmental agencies.

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+1 But what has a financial term got to do with data security? There must already be suitable technical term. –  Kris Apr 26 '12 at 5:22
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@Kris, you have it backwards. First it was a literal term for a ring of physical fencing. It has been used metaphorically for a long time, it just gained a lot of traction in legal and financial circles in the 80's to the point where it became jargon. As a technologist who has built public web sites hosted on cloud infrastructure, I feel "ring-fenced" is an appropriate term to use in the quote the OP cited. Cloud computing is a fairly new technology and has unique security requirements which "ring-fence" describes very well. I'm in favor of it becoming the technical argot. –  Old Pro Apr 26 '12 at 5:49
    
Nice explanation, thanks. This is more like what the OP wanted to know, if we understand the Q. correctly. –  Kris Apr 26 '12 at 6:24
    
... being somewhat at variance with the answer by @mgb here. –  Kris Apr 26 '12 at 6:27
    
@Kriz - I've never heard ring-fenced being used for network security, perhaps the original writer got confused with "fire-walled"? –  mgb May 3 '12 at 21:58
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It normally means some money can only be used for a specific purpose rather than meeting general expenses - it's mostly used in government finance.

In this example, "private", "reserved" or "restricted" infrastructures would be the more normal term. I think buzzword-compliance got the better of someone.

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+1 for 'buzzword-compliance'. –  Kris Apr 26 '12 at 5:17
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