08 August 2011 16:30:37
Data breaches have been on the rise, and more high-profile organizations have fallen to hackers uncovering sensitive information. Exposed health records have also been on the rise, while more healthcare providers and hospitals are switching to mobile and cloud computing services as a method of cutting costs and meeting meaningful use standards.
Data Center Dynamics recently published an article by Phil Dawson, the managing director of MDS Technologies, assessing why the transition to the cloud does not need to be an overwhelming process. Dawson cites a recent survey of 500 senior IT executives, conducted by Colt, that showed a little less than half of these professionals saw security as the biggest concern in the transition to the cloud.
These cloud security concerns come as no surprise. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the healthcare and medical industries have lost more than 3.5 million sensitive records to data breach exposure since January 1 in the U.S. alone. Still, as Healthcare IT News reported earlier this month, 30 percent of healthcare organizations are either using cloud computing or are in the process of making the transition.
Dawson explains that the recent news of the U.K.'s National Health Service transition to the cloud for sensitive patient information has added fuel to the security concerns of the public. Still, Dawson feels that these concerns have been a bit overstated, a symptom that he attributes to the relative lack of understanding of how cloud computing works.
In its essence, cloud computing doesn't necessarily come with a security concern, but, as it is new technology and security processes are constantly changing, the public doesn't have a basis to trust this innovation, Dawson explains.
"When [businesses] understand that data is stored remotely in the cloud and is managed by a specialist company with a highly skilled team of IT professionals, it is actually far more secure than their typical office IT set-up," stated Rob Lovell, chief executive of a major IT service provider. Dawson believes that, through proper management and education on the IT end, businesses do not have more to fear with cloud security than their traditional IT processes.
Dawson comes to the conclusion that cloud computing brings a variety of benefits, especially with regard to cost efficiency and availability of data. The security concerns, Dawson explains, shouldn't impede businesses, governments or healthcare professionals from taking advantage of these new technologies. With proper and flexible security measures, the cloud can be just as safe, if not safer, than traditional methods.
-McAfee Cloud Security