Counting the cloud security advantages and understanding them

The cloud security market, the success for which is being defined by the extraordinary adoption rates, registers extraordinary global growth figures

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Photo Credit: FutUndBeidl

Author

Nitin Chitmalwar is an Assistant Manager at Allied Market Research and specializes in ICT.

Data security is an unavoidable issue in the present era where information is the highest value commodity. This vertical spun off in a fresh direction when enterprises and organizations began shifting all their data on the cloud storage. In all its infinite glory, adoption rates for cloud storage surged among the global populace. The third party service providers not only hosted the information and sealed it off from unauthorized users, it relaxed the organizations from the burden of extra hardware and software maintenance. At a substituted cost, they could now reset their focus on enhancing their core service and products.

The cloud security market, the success for which is being defined by the extraordinary adoption rates among businesses around the world, registers extraordinary global growth figures. The leading enterprises openly accept that they have felt little, or no hesitation when shifting from data centers to public cloud storage. The consistent improvements in the cloud security market offerings for the major reason behind this. The others, who have been lagging behind in the adoption league have no solid logic to back their inhibitions.

The locker room analogy

There exists an interesting approach to the present cloud security models that are made available by the providers. It draws an analogy between locker room self-service storage facilities and the cloud storage facilities. In a physical locker room storage facility, the area for storing personal belongings is provided and maintained by the authorities, but the key to the lockers in which the items are placed are secured by the owners. In a similar fashion, the access to main servers and storage locations is authorized by the providers, while users are solely responsible for securing their ‘lockers’. With the fact in mind that all their customers might not specialize in security software as well, the providers extend their services to meet complete customer demand.

The third hand of efforts

Hosted cloud security services offered by industry vendors take the high route to provide risk mitigation and sustain system integrity. In addition, they ensure that networks are compliant to the set internet usage protocols in the industry. Managed security service providers take rigorous efforts to monitor network activity within your organization to track what is being sent and received. The installed systems are designed to continuously monitor the content being shared among users in and outside the network. Any malevolent substance is easily detected and effectively eliminated when initiated to do so. Warning messages are prompted at the receiving end to let them decide what course of action is to be taken.

Why focus on e-mails

Experts report that maximum malware and viruses enter a system network through electronic mails. Spam e-mails give the users a major hiccup in smooth operation and sorting. The latest antiviruses are trained to detect and deal with any novice threats as the intruders mostly try to hit the unattended spot. They are well aware of the fact that the business owners are pretty much prepared at their end for the threats that are popular and known. There are two options for them on the menu—find a new target or find a new tool. Unfortunately, both are easily available. One, because people are not aware of, or are not capable to afford, the available services. Two, because there are quite a lot of developers who can deliver these unsolicited viruses. Therefore, e-mails are identified as a strong surrogate for potential threats by the cloud security managers.

Current trends of bring- and choose-your-own-device (BYOD & CYOD) demand extra protection for the devices apart from standard encryptions. Biometric and physical token authentication can to a great extent assist in preventing any unsanctioned access in case of device theft or loss. In fact, it is the distributed platform scenario in the modern working environment that has necessitated to hand over the e-mail safety to the cloud security. Taking the e-mail security to the cloud alters the experience for network users in a pleasant mail.

Professionals can carry on with what is required of them and their device, while the CSPs take care of spam mails. They use image composition analysis to automatically differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate content. It equips the users with an array of tools to choose what they want to see or receive. They have the power to restrict viewership for confidential data and reception of suspected threats flowing through the e-mails. The entire process is made simple and seamless to promote organizational productivity. When a comparison is drawn between the users and the non-users, there are lesser reported incidences of falling victim to spams, phishing, and malware threats among the latter. This does seem obvious, and yet again questions what refrains them from switching over to cloud security solutions.

Aiming for ‘twin win’

Having discussed that the cloud security providers (CSPs) manage the internet compliance structure for an organization, it is equally for them to adhere to standard security policies themselves. The ones leading the business can assure that regular performance audits help them stay upgraded and competitive. Not only does it build trust among customers, but advertising of high quality standards helps spread awareness about it. This increases competition and force other players in the market to mimic the practice. Another popular trend is sharing the essential authentication credentials with the organizations as well. It is eventually easier for the enterprises to keep a personal track on the network activities and cross-check the efficiency of provisions made by cloud security vendors. A two-step encryption strategy is encouraged for users to reduce the risk levels. The addition of a second encryption key transfers the control of in-house data flow to the enterprise.

Despite its high performance, standard industry practices, and extremely promising prospects there are a few factors that can be held accountable for delayed response and adoption among enterprises. The key among those restraining factors is the lack of awareness among them. The rest of the herd is misguided by recent cyber-attacks that have made headlines across the world. It should be understood that no level of security will ever be enough given the extent of counter-expertise held by potential sources of threat. There exists no single silver bullet to deal with all existing concerns, but there is scope for integrating multiple packages that can deal with each of them one at a time. The vendors know that, users believe it, and developers continue to work on it.

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