Solution Providers: Cloud No Longer Knocked For Being Less Secure

The cloud often gets a bad reputation as being insecure, but security experts say this is starting to change as it gains traction in the marketplace.

"I think originally, security was a barrier," said John Landy, chief technology officer of Jersey City, N.J.-based Datapipe. "That whole public perception has changed."

Inez Luna, business development manager at San Diego, Calif.-based Total Tech, agreed, saying that she has recently seen a shift away from the reluctance to trust the cloud because of security, particularly with regard to mobile technologies.

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"I think we have seen a rapid shift, even in the past year," Luna said.

Bill Lucchini, senior vice president and general manager of Sophos Cloud, said he sees people buying into the cloud big time around security. As an example, Lucchini said, Sophos Cloud is the company's fastest-growing product in Sophos' 30-year history, growing tenfold last year.

"I think people needed more time to see that the claims [of being secure] are true," Lucchini said. "[People are] beginning to understand that inherently, cloud, while not invulnerable ... that you just start from a better place with cloud than you do with on-premise solutions."

A lot of that change is an effect of more widespread cloud adoption rather than a direct change in perception, said Ben Munroe, Cisco product marketing manager, security business group. As more companies look to actively embrace the cloud, they are taking steps to figure out the most secure way to do so.

"People are learning to trust through necessity," Munroe said. "I would say there's definitely more confidence, and part of it is our overall usage of the cloud. We see the benefits to it and we understand the risk of it more as well. There's just a heightened level of comfort, and people are turning to the cloud to … be part of their overall portfolio."

Sam Heard, president of Lakeland, Fla.-based Data Integrity Services, said a lot of that shift comes down to informing clients, and making them aware of the pros and cons of the cloud. While it might not be the right solution for all clients in all verticals, Heard said, in general, those conversations are getting easier.

"I do see people more accepting to a cloud solution, but it all comes back to education," Heard said.

As a result of that kind of client education from solution providers, understanding of cloud technology overall is growing, said Chenxi Wang, vice president of cloud security and strategy at CipherCloud, San Jose, Calif. She said she sees customers asking more detailed questions about the cloud and its capabilities -- something that wasn't happening two or three years ago.

"I think that there is a deeper and more extensive understanding of cloud operations today," Wang said. "Because that is happening, what you see is on the whole, people are getting more comfortable with cloud operations."

Another factor in growing comfort with cloud security is that as the news is saturated with reports of the latest megabreach, cloud providers have remained relatively unscathed, said Scott Hazdra, senior security consultant, security solutions, at Cisco.

"There's so many threats at so many different points to an organization's data that picking on cloud providers is almost unfair," Hazdra said. "As a track record, the cloud providers themselves have done pretty well."

While the market might still have a way to go when it comes to cloud security perceptions, Hazdra said, there's been a pretty good start.

"I think there's a lot of advantages to cloud and the whole model. I think, in the end, cloud can be more secure than a traditional model. It just might take a little more time," Hazdra said.