Cloud Security Pros and Cons

Cloud Security Pros And Cons

Securing your business in the cloud can offer substantial savings and resources balanced by large and unexpected risks. In this review of cloud security silver linings and storms warnings, we look at some of the brightest and darkest security clouds.

By Keith Ferrell, InformationWeek
July 27, 2010

As more security vendors provide cloud-based security as a service (SaaS), more small and midsize businesses consider these offerings. With vendors broadening their security offerings to include backup-and-restore, end-point monitoring messaging security and more, the appeal of one-stop security shopping in the cloud continues to grow. The best cloud security vendors are beginning to fulfill the promise of bringing enterprise-level security to SMBs. This is a trend that's likely to grow, and to grow quickly, especially with big security providers gobbling up both smaller specialty service companies. If you don't have dedicated security staff, now might be prime time to get your security head in the clouds.

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but even a little brain-work will remind you that complete dependence upon the cloud -- whether for security services or anything else -- requires complete confidence in your business's ability not only to connect to the cloud but also to ensure that your connections are themselves secure. That's easier said than done, judging by ongoing concerns about security at the local business network level. So before moving to the cloud, a thorough, rigorous and absolutely aggressive review of your entire network security infrastructure -- and usage policies is a must.

If you build it, will they come to the cloud? Only if it's secure. Because security concerns always cause hesitation, cloud-based vendors of apps and services have addressed it constantly. And the security industry is itself getting involved, rolling out security certifications for cloud-based businesses. Check the security, reliability and reputation of cloud services before you commit portions of your business to them. In other words, make sure every cloud-based company you do business with protects its resources -- and yours -- with the full array of security tools, technologies and policies.

Secure connection to the cloud means constant, dependable and fast connections. All the security in the world isn't going to help you access the cloud if your connection is subject to frequent outages or slowdowns -- or if your bandwidth or capacity is limited by your IP, as with rural customers dependent upon satellite connections, for instance. Keep an eye on your ISP, your telecommunications provider and very other vendor whose availability -- or bandwidth pricing policies -- could have an effect on your cloud security or its cost. Be sure to have alternatives in place should your cloud connection go down, even briefly.

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