Cloud-based IT Security at a Tipping Point

A survey has found that email and web security are now just as likely to be outsourced to a cloud-based provider as on premise, and that fears over loss of control and data security in the cloud are decreasing.
By: Incisive Media
March 21, 2011 - PRLog -- A survey by UK business technology publication Computing has found that 75% of UK companies sized between 100 and 1,000 seats are either using or considering the cloud for IT security. This suggests that historic concerns about cloud computing around data security and loss of control have largely been laid to rest. As more organisations adopt, most are finding that cloud services match or exceed their expectations of what an IT security solution should achieve.

The email survey of 150 IT decision makers, conducted in association with security vendor, found evidence that cloud-based IT security solutions may be superior to their on-premise counterparts when it comes to blocking threats, with just half the number of reported incidences of security breaches.

Given the fast changing nature of cybercrime it is certainly reasonable to expect that running state-of-the-art detection and filtering infrastructure and being able to rely on expert engineers 24x7 will give cloud providers the edge over on-premise systems managed by the house IT team. An on-premise solution may well be able to deal efficiently with the threats of today, but with the threat landscape continuing to evolve at an astonishing rate, its continued effectiveness three years down the line is highly debatable.

Second on the list of desirable features revealed by the survey was availability and resilience. These features are given a higher priority by cloud users than by utilisers of in-house systems, suggesting that the legally backed guarantees of uptime in the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) offered by cloud providers (in many cases 99.999% uptime – the equivalent of just 5 minutes downtime per year – or better) have made a convincing case. This level of availability is virtually impossible to match using in-house systems.

Many cloud providers have the capacity to share capacity across multiple data centres in multiple locations globally, meaning that even if an entire city loses its connectivity the customer need not be affected.

Performance and manageability issues were next. Interestingly, users of cloud security systems rate ongoing manageability a more important feature than their on premise counterparts. While some IT teams may be happy to continue patching operating systems, reviewing software licenses and upgrading hardware to stay ahead of the threats, others are happy to relinquish such routine maintenance duties in return for management by SLA.

"The cloud might not be suitable for every organisation and there will always be those with good reason to maintain their IT security systems in house", according to John Leonard of Computing Research. "However, the survey results suggest that a tipping point may have been reached, with cloud services now considered the norm rather than a newcomer that has yet to prove its trustworthiness."

"As evidence builds that using the cloud model is no more of a threat to data security and control than on – premise, and indeed that both aspects may be improved, then trust in the technology will be easier to come by. It is likely that more and more organisations will be moving IT security services into the cloud over the coming months and years".

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Tags:Cloud, Computing, Security, Malware, Virus, Cybercrime, Outsourcing, IT, Software, Cloud Computing
Industry:Internet, Security, Technology
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Page Updated Last on: Mar 22, 2011
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