Rapid Cloud-based security adoption = widespread use

Jenny Carpenter

Sitting on the beach you glance over at your laptop and notice that a few workstations have just signed on. Its business as usual back at the office and your employees will be logging in across the country over the next few hours.  A fantasy brought closer to reality by cloud-based security services.  Though this dream still won’t be the norm for most IT professionals, cloud security services are sure to be a key advantage for busy schedules, road warriors and telecommuters.  Or maybe you are just looking to stop spending all your time on monitoring and focus on more value added projects.

A recent Spiceworks survey of over 600 IT professionals in small or midsize businesses, found that the adoption rate for security services through the cloud was 60%. The most important reason: simplicity.

Cloud services not only eliminate the need of in-person maintenance of hardware and software but it also simplifies the management of services.

According to the survey, the top five reasons for the switch to cloud-based security are:

  1. Runs on existing hardware
  2. Incorporates automatic software updates
  3. Ease of management
  4. Low set-up costs
  5. Combines multiple security measures into one solution.

With many options only a click away, cloud security services can be installed and running in minutes.. The ability to trial cloud-based services without the need for purchasing additional hardware has obviously had a significant effect on the rapid adoption of the cloud. Many companies may have been hesitant to trust something as important as security to a third party without being able to test it out first.

Not to mention that you are able to migrate from on-premise to cloud services one at a time rather than switching all services to the cloud all at once.

Though easy set-up is attractive and important, ease of management has to be the one of the best time-saving benefits of using the cloud for security.

A business could free up a lot of hours normally spent on monitoring to focus on more value-driven projects that are core to their business. This can present new and exciting challenges to retain top IT professionals while the more basic security functions are easily managed through the cloud.

A wide variety of security services are being offered as well, the most popular being anti-spam, content filtering and anti-virus. Other services are catching on as well with mobile policy management, firewall and patch management services all coming in at over 10% adoption rates, according to the Spiceworks survey.

The services on offer range from stand-alone features to integrated Software-as-a-service (SaaS) packages, allowing the IT professionals to choose what works for them. This also enables them to try out cloud-based features for lower risk services, such as anti-spam, while building trust in the privacy and data security the cloud can offer.   “What does it cost” is the likely question to follow.

Interestingly in a recent survey of IT executives by SIM IT Trends, security was rated the second highest priority but it is only the 14th highest based on expenditure.  There is often only so much capital an organization can commit to IT and with high dollar areas such as business analytic and enterprise resource planning  (ERP) software (1st and 3rd highest expenditures) draining most of the budget it can cause a significant shortfall for security spending.  This gap may be bridged with the utilization of cloud-based security, which was rated ‘highly affordable’ in the Spiceworks survey.

A 2013 study by Gartner stated that the biggest growth potential for cloud-based security is in security information and event management (SIEM), and identity and access management (IAM), a market worth $2bn and expected to increase to $3bn 2015. Though some services were considered niche previously, such as encryption, there is significant projected growth across all services.  The top-selling feature in their study was email security, which should allay any fears latecomers may still have about data protection.

In fact, in the Spiceworks study, 90% of IT professionals using the cloud for backup said they used it for ‘highly confidential and/or essential data’.  Though some feared the addition of a third party into their IT security plans, many services offered are actually safer than you would expect.  Since they connect to the server directly there is no need for any new open ports, which eliminates firewall issues and the risk of unwanted infiltration into your system.

With such high adoption rates and projected increases on the horizon, using the cloud for security may soon become the norm rather than the new kid on the block.  Whether you are looking to cut costs, increase security and monitoring capabilities, or to simply free up some time for your overstretched IT professionals, the solution is here. And when it comes to security, the verdict is in; the cloud is a winner.

References:

Gartner Report

Spiceworks Report

IT Trends Survey