Cloud computing future depends on tackling security breaches

January 29, 2015

Cloud storage, as an emerging system of managing online information, has multiplied possible risks of cyber attacks, which seems to correspond to the more data gets transferred through the web, the more opportunities for hackers to intersect them. Think of Taylor Swift’s incident that happened this week, few months after the infamous celebrities iCloud accounts hacking where the likes of Jennifer Lawrence saw their nude images shared online.It is now clear why such problems became an ominous shadow of the cloud’s growth and why they have always been a burning issue in the enterprise setting.Lizard Squad hackers claimed to seize control of US Pop star Taylor Swift’s social media accounts and threatened to release her nude pictures although she later said that wasn’t the case. The Welcome to New York hit singer became the latest celebrity to have their social media accounts hacked.That incident led to a friend of mine asking me about my honest opinion regarding cloud based security. Many small and mid-sized businesses, celebrities and even small timers face security challenges online. This is because of not having the resources to manage their security, and tight budgets preventing them from investing but when it comes to individuals, we are under the mercy of service providers. Businesses like that owned by my blud have options when it comes to security solutions on the market. I recommended to him cloud-based security compared to traditionally used on-premise security solutions.

A recent study by American research company, Gartner estimate that cloud-based security market will continue to grow and its usage driven mostly by small businesses.But after Taylor Swift’s incident, many people must be asking themselves if cloud-based security is the right fit for business entities and individual use. As small businesses grows, they need to evolve and prioritize certain aspects of their business over others.In a report I read last year, there are various growth stages of small businesses because many start-ups do not have sufficient manpower and security resources to manage their security posture. Generally, this makes businesses vulnerable as start-ups are not immune to cyber attacks and the fact that start-ups often deal with sensitive data related to their customers, as employees transmit data through e-mails, the cloud and in between devices some of them very unsecured.Cloud-based security solution can help start-ups with technical capabilities. Although Taylor Swift wrote on her official Tumblr “My Twitter got hacked but don’t worry, Twitter is deleting the hacker tweets and locking my account until they can figure out how this happened and get me new passwords, to safeguard against threats, the adopted solutions need to have robust security features and can recommend a few ranging from web control, web security, controlled access to corporate and individual accounts, mobile control, and the ability to remotely lock and wipe devices which most people ignore.

As small and mid sized businesses grows, they will always face cash flow pressures and prioritize on other pressing matters within their budgets. Within their IT department, small and mid sized businesses incurs periodic maintenance cost to a security vendor. In South Africa, a friend working there as an IT expert told me last week how their company faces the cost of purchasing and maintaining hardware and servers.Studies have shown that cloud-based solutions help reduce IT expenditures for businesses, since most don’t utilize any servers or general hardwares.There are no upfront cost whenever a business migrates to a cloud-based solution, and this enables organizations to reduce overall IT related costs enabling them to grow rapidly by acquiring more customers.The growth of mobile workforce means that they are more difficult to ensure the security of each roaming employee and the multitude of devices they own. Cloud-based solutions are suitable for the swiftly growing businesses, as they ensures that each and every device and endpoint are well-protected.Overall, this ensures that the businesses’s operations run smoothly while they focus on business goals such as rapid expansion.

My studies on this issue has been on the type of cloud computing that involves data collection, storage or processing from the enterprise to specialist third parties, generally using the internet as the communication and delivery mechanism. In addition to old fears of the cloud, 2013 leakage of the classified data about the US spy agency, National Security Agency activities has further shaken the trust in public servers as a place for storing private and enterprise data.Fundamental change in the way information is collected, stored and handled by businesses and government agencies poses significant questions about how the collection and handling of personal information is appropriately undertaken in this new environment.Every vendor need different offerings when it comes to cloud security, and it will be crucial to choose the sustainable and easy usage options. The trend of moving massive amounts of personal information online has encouraged a wave of fraudulent activities with main aim of which is to obtain users’ personal and at times sensitive data. No doubt cloud technology has penetrated our lives with a set of new solutions for facilitating every individual and professional activities on the web but security remains the greatest threats to its growth.

Contador Harrison