Cloud security worries? ‘No more excuses’

Marc Thaler

Circus performers who walk a tightrope for a living operate in a world with a razor-thin margin for error. One false step – quite literally – can result in a freefall with disastrous consequences.

Your workplace isn’t exactly under the big top (though you may disagree). But you can surely relate. As an IT administrator, you must routinely strike a balance between three objectives:

  1. Adopting affordable solutions that drive down costs
  2. Increasing workforce efficiency
  3. Protecting the most valuable asset your company creates: its data

If it’s any consolation, at least your stress comes with two feet planted firmly on the ground.

Joking aside, what’s holding you back from moving your business operations to the cloud? If your answer is “security,” at least one study suggests you’re now in the minority.

According to North Bridge Venture Partners’ 2013 Future of Cloud Computing Survey, security still tops the list of reasons preventing cloud migration. But it dropped noticeably, from 55% in 2012 to 46% in 2013.

Better yet, Forrester Research executive and analyst James Staten took hesitant IT pros to task on his blog late last year. A leading voice on cloud computing, Staten published 10 predictions for 2014, including this one:

Cloud security will be much more centralized and automated. If you're resisting the cloud because of security concerns, you're running out of excuses. The leading public cloud providers have made strong gains in security and compliance, and there are few workloads completely off-limits for public cloud anymore. At the same time, securing private clouds has become safer, more reliable and easier to control through advanced management tools… letting you articulate cloud security requirements in executable automation of business policies. Enterprises will achieve better security this way than on their own.”

Staten isn’t alone in taking such a stance. Tech giants Google and Microsoft together declared their confidence in the cloud – specifically its security. It was indeed newsworthy, considering the two companies previously made headlines for feuding publicly.

Speaking at the RSA Conference in February, CNET reported that Director of Security for Google Apps Eran Feigenbaum and Microsoft Chief Information Security Officer Bret Arsenault, among others, emphasized the need to trust today’s technology and the vendors providing it.

Familiar with the adage “practice what you preach”? Feigenbaum reportedly said the following:

“We do use some competitors’ cloud (systems) today. Some of their services are better than ours, and some of them use ours.”

It’s possible to merge both into your business. Call it the virtual version of a balancing act.