I recently wrote a blog about progresses in security within the cloud. I think the blog spoke well to how the cloud will quickly adapt to be compliant and store private, secure data for the businesses that are restricted by that compliance, but it did not address several other areas of concern for a typical small or medium business (SMB). While several SMBs are very concerned about being compliant and making sure that no one has access to their data; I think the larger, more general concern should be the integrity of the data itself.
Therefore, the biggest “security” gain for a typical SMB transitioning to the cloud is reliable storage of data. Storage can be overlooked by SMBs, especially smaller businesses and those not integrated with the cloud. SMBs not using the cloud are storing their data on their own hardware, and in many cases that data will be stored at a single location (or perhaps backed up on a single external drive) on hardware that may be 4 to 7 years old.
In the case of hardware, the question should not be about it failing, but rather when. I often hear about how the cloud allows for automatic security updates and other easy software solutions, but the bigger gain for an SMB is the hardware running the cloud. The cloud model takes away the prohibitive upfront costs of correctly storing your data and spreads that cost out over a monthly subscription and in some cases, shifts the costs onto the cloud provider who is bundling storage with other applications. The virtual infrastructure that comes with cloud storage is a big gain for an SMB and any software-as-a-service (SaaS) by definition has a little bit of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) running it.
I believe this presents a two-fold opportunity. First, businesses can keep a sharp eye out for bargains on cloud-based storage. With our research, AMI predicts that the proportion of new information and communications technology (ICT) spending attributed to cloud will surpass spending on on-premises solutions in the next 3 years for many categories and there are potential benefits for getting ahead of that increase of demand. Secondly, cloud providers can focus on the benefits of bundling storage with other applications that SMBs are currently investing or interested in. While SMBs may not be looking directly at storage, they are drawn to attractive bundling opportunities. AMI’s research shows that SMBs are 3 to 5 times more likely to invest in a bundled SaaS and managed services offering compared to a single solution.
Through these methods the cloud will be able to address the most important aspect of security–maintaining the integrity of the data.
-Clayton Miller, Associate