Friday, September 17, 2010

Cloud Computing and the Security Paradox

Cloud Computing and the Security Paradox

On September, 14th  I participated in a local IBM conference titled: Smarter Solutions for a Smarter Business. One of the most interesting and practical presentations was Moises Navarro's presentation on Cloud Computing.
He quoted an IBM survey about suitable and unsuitable workload types for implementation in the Cloud. The ten leading suitable workloads included many Infrastructure services and Desktop Services. The unsuitable workloads list included ERP as well as other Core Applications as I would expect (for example, read my previous post SaaS is Going Mainstream).
However, it also included Security Services, as one of the most unsuitable workloads. On one hand, it is not a surprising finding because Security concerns are Cloud Computing inhibitors, but on the other hand Security Services are part of infrastructure Services, and therefore could be a good fit for implementation in the Cloud.

A recent Aberdeen Group's Research Note titled: Web Security in the Cloud: More Secure! Compliant! Less Expensive! (May 2010) supports the view that Security Services implementation in the Cloud, may provide significant benefits.
The study reveals that applying e-mail Security as a Service in the Cloud is more efficient and secure than applying e-mail On Premise Security. Aberdeen study was based upon 36 organizations using On Premise Web Security solutions and on 22 organizations using Cloud Computing based solutions.
Cloud based solutions reported significantly less Security incidents in every incident category checked. The categories were: Data Loss, Malware Infections, Web-Site compromise, Security related Downtime and Audit Deficiencies.
As far as efficiency is concerned, Aberdeen Group found that users of Cloud based Web Security solutions realized 42% reduction in associated Help Desk calls in comparison to users of On Premise solutions. 

The findings may not be limited to Web Security and e-mail Security. Aberdeen Group identifies convergence process between Web Security; e-mail Security and Data Loss Prevention (DLP).

The paradox is that most Security threats are internal, while most Security concerns are about External threats. For example, approximately 60% of Security breaches in banks were Internal. Usually insiders can do more harm than outsiders.
The Cloud is not an exception to that paradoxical rule: many Security concerns about Cloud Based implementations and about Cloud based Security Services and relatively less Security breaches and more efficient implementation of Security Services in the Cloud.

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