The corporate computing arena has been forever transformed by the rapid proliferation of new technologies and services, including big data, cloud computing and mobility. Although these trends have been highly beneficial in terms of operational efficiency, productivity and spend-management, they each come with a unique set of security requirements for organizations that are using them today.
Analysts have suggested that cloud computing can actually be used to refine and improve corporate security through the centralization of oversight procedures, but the vulnerabilities of this technology are just as important to remember. For one, the majority of cloud users leverage managed, hosted services for delivery purposes, meaning that data and network oversight responsibilities will be spread between the adopter and the vendor.
The recent Omnibus Rule that was attached to the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act has direct implications for health care providers who are using cloud computing, while other statutes will govern HIPAA email and alternative technologies used for collaborative purposes. Regardless of which industry an organization might be competing in or what regulatory compliance statutes it must oblige, though, cloud deployments must be accompanied by refined and modernized security frameworks.
A real challenge
Wired Magazine recently reported that the Ponemon Institute has released a new study that sought to discover the breadth of new risks that can come with a cloud computing deployment. The research was backed by analytics and policy provider Netskope, and surveyed more than 600 IT professionals regarding their experiences with risk management following one or more cloud computing deployments.
According to the news provider, roughly 30 percent to 50 percent of all IT frameworks are either based in cloud computing or attached to the technology, while users are accessing the environments from upward of three unique devices each on average. The Ponemon Institute's Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect report revealed that 66 percent of respondents look at cloud computing deployments as hindrances to control and security.
The source pointed out that the researchers believe the cloud can increase the risk of data breach by three times, noting that the cost of these events continues to rise rapidly among a variety of industries and regions. The analysts also found that 64 percent of respondents feel as though the cloud acts as an obstacle standing in the way of effective mission-critical application security and resilience to outages.
Finally, the Ponemon Institute found that nearly two-thirds of the survey participants do not even know if their firms diligently assess cloud computing solutions - specifically applications - before deploying and using them for core operational functions, Wired Magazine noted.
While all of these findings might persuade leaders to simply avoid cloud computing, the source affirmed that this is not necessarily feasible given the increased importance of the technology in the average industry.
What can be done
Past research from the Ponemon Institute indicated that the majority of data breaches are caused by insider threats, employee error and leadership negligence, regardless of which technologies are being used by the victimized business at the time of the incident. The trick to maintaining a competitive edge with new technologies and not taking on extraneous risk is the use of expert guidance and helpful tools to secure the investments and the data traveling through them.
Mobility, big data and other trends have rapidly transformed from novel movements to necessary and required implementations for the average organization, and waiting too long to deploy these tools can hurt a company's profitability. As such, using providers of secure email and other IT and communications protections is often the best step forward for businesses.