SMBs reaping financial benefits of cloud security

May 15, 2012

A recent study has found that widespread concerns about the cost of cloud security for small businesses may be exaggerated. According to the study, conducted by Microsoft, 35 percent of SMBs have seen notable improvements in their IT security since migrating to the cloud.

Improved security has reduced concerns for many of the companies, with 32 percent of respondents claiming that they now worry less about threats of cyberattacks. Feeling like they have secure cloud computing has allowed those SMBs to spend less - in both time and money - on security.

Security in the cloud pays
The reduction in the total amount of money spent on security in the last three years occurred nearly six times more often in those SMBs who use the cloud, according to the survey. In addition, the time spent managing security was 32 percent less per week.

With so many hours no longer dedicated to security, SMBs that use the cloud were able to concentrate more on the bottom line and growing their businesses. Fifty-two percent of cloud-using companies were able to add new products or services. As part of those new endeavors, 41 percent of companies were able to employ a greater number of staff in roles that supported sales or growth as opposed to areas such as web security or data protection.

More transparency needed
Not every SMB is convinced that the cloud is the ideal path for growth, fearing that security is still not up to par with their current standards. Confidence in security was the major sticking point for companies that didn't use the cloud, with 38 percent calling for greater transparency and 67 percent asking for industry standards, according to the survey.

Regulations and certifications that would increase the transparency and accountability of cloud providers was on the top of the agenda at the Cloud Security Alliance's SecureCloud 2012 conference in Germany earlier in May. The CSA called for an open certification framework, hoping to increase the level of trust between providers of the cloud and their customers.

As the cloud has continued to mature in the past few years, standards - as is the norm with developing technologies - have lagged behind. Recent efforts by the CSA and Storage Network Industry Association have pushed the movement along, according to Network World. The next key to transparency is proving to providers that they should, according to SINA chairman Wayne Adams. "Vendors like it when they lock you in," Adams told Network World in April. "Adopting standards in some ways could have the effect of eroding their market."

-McAfee Cloud Security