July 31, 2012
Popular thought may have many believing that the cloud is more of a security threat than a weapon of defense. However, according to PC Pro UK, organizations are beginning to deploy cloud security tools in the fight against prevalent threats to data security, such as malware.
Many experts see a lot of promise in a cloud-based security software-as-a-service model for organizations of all sizes. Even detractors that see it as only a nominal change from the old way of protecting data, swapping in-hour controls for a remote datacenter and web-based control panel, regard it as a solid option for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that may be operating without a dedicated IT team.
Even for companies that do have an IT department committed to the security cause, using the cloud as an additional line of defense can be beneficial for data protection. As one industry expert points out, the cloud can aid detection and make warnings more efficient and timely against malware attacks.
"Effective IT security has always relied upon having a layered defense," head of compliance and security at niu Solutions told PC Pro. "[With cloud security models] we're seeing more and more layers appearing."
Another expert from a Russian security firm told PC Pro that using cloud services is akin to a neighborhood watch, though likely with more teeth. Every area potentially exposed to attack can experience real-time defense and monitoring, thanks to the scalable nature of cloud computing.
Small business benefit
While the security benefits for large companies and SMBs can be great, many are still hesitant about a general move to the cloud, especially smaller organizations. As Ben Dyer wrote for PC Advisor, cloud computing data security, as opposed to threat monitoring, still can prove to be a nightmare for management purposes. Part of this comes from the fact that the benefits for SMBs can also present greater challenges.
"For the same reasons, companies that are growing quickly are also [likely to] be attracted by the scalability offered by cloud providers," Dyer wrote. "The difference for them, however, is that they have something to lose."
The plight of growing companies presents an interesting case of when and when not to move to the cloud. While turning the entire network over to the cloud may be a scary proposition for many SMBs, the potential benefits, especially when it comes to security, can make it an attractive situation.
-McAfee Cloud Security