MSPs Should Brace For Cloud Security Impact


MSPs accustomed to managing on-premise security solutions take note: your business is moving to the cloud.

Security in the cloud is growing steadily. Gartner Inc. predicts that the cloud-based security services market will grow to $3.1 billion in 2015, up from $2.1 billion last year. The company notes that growth in cloud security will "remain strong." Market researcher Infonetics affirms that trajectory. The company states that cloud-based security service revenue will expand at a 10.8 percent compound annual growth rate through 2017, when the company projects the market will reach $9.2 billon.

A variety of security functions are moving to the cloud. Gartner contends that the top three in-demand cloud services moving forward will be email security, web security services and identity and access management (IAM). During 2014, however, Gartner believes the highest growth will occur in cloud-based tokenization and encryption, security information and event management, vulnerability assessment and web application firewalls.

Several factors drive the projected uptake in cloud-based security. Consider the following:

* Ease of deployment: Cloud security solutions eliminate the need to buy and maintain on-premise hardware and software. That consideration makes the technology easier for small and medium businesses (SMBs) to digest. Many smaller firms lack full-time IT personnel, much less a security detail. Indeed, SMBs will likely emerge as a important market for cloud-based security in the coming months. According to Gartner, the larger IT and network service providers will rollout new security-as-a-service-based solutions, focusing on particular security controls for cloud-based IT resources. Gartner says those offerings will initially target SMBs.

* Lower Operating Costs: Cloud security offerings cut the upfront cost of acquiring server hardware and security software licenses. The approach also trims the ongoing expense of software maintenance and hardware upgrades. Labor costs also shrink since the customer no longer needs to assign employes to keep tabs on in-house security technology.

* Easier updates/upgrade: The task of updating security software ranks among the top hassles of maintaining on-premise security solutions. In the case of endpoint security products, for example, the customer -- or its security services provider -- must frequently download signature updates provided by the security software vendor. And once the signatures are downloaded, there's the chore of making sure all endpoints receive the updates. Cloud-based security removes that burden.

* The Cloud Is Here: Many business apps already run in the cloud. Customers have begun to conclude that it makes sense to move security there as well. This pattern may be seen in IAM. As businesses use more Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, they are also looking into moving single sign-on and other IAM solutions to the cloud. The federal government, for instance, is piloting cloud-based IAM. The objective is to make the IAM solution, dubbed the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCCX), a government-wide resource. Gartner reports that smaller organizations are interested in cloud-based IAM as well, noting that SMBs need to "extend their basic IAM functions and serve employees who are accessing SaaS and some internal web-architected applications."

Prepare For Cloud Security

It's a safe bet that businesses will start moving at least some security functions to the cloud, if they haven't done so already. SMBs, a traditional market for MSPs, will probably lead the way in migrating to the cloud security, as they seek to simplify deployment and cut costs.

The upshot: MSPs need to acknowledge the cloud security trend or risk getting locked out of opportunities.