General Keith Alexander, the U.S. Army officer in charge of the nation's Cyber Command and National Security Agency, recently spoke to the House Armed Services Subcommittee charged with tracking emerging threats. Alexander's news was worrisome, if unsurprising: "Cyberspace is becoming more dangerous." Yet he also had good news for the subcommittee, telling them that "The IT infrastructure of the future, the…. virtual cloud environment, will make it a much more defensible architecture. I think that's the key to the future."
Many small and medium sized businesses in the nation would have to concur. These businesses have already seen how virtualization and cloud computing can lead to improved IT security outcomes. When the two are combined to provide the kind of virtual cloud environment Alexander spoke of, the potential for enhanced security measures becomes even greater.
Alexander identified three key varieties of threat in the cyber environment.
The risk that intellectual property or proprietary IT solutions or manufacturing data might be stolen online is one example.
Alexander defined this as attempts to interfere with online access. Disruption can affect companies that systems have been hacked so that they cannot access the internet. Alternatively, it can affect the customers of a company, who may be redirected away from the firm's website.
These kinds of cyber threats can actually destroy equipment. They are not yet common, but Alexander sees them as part of the future threat environment.
Businesses that have not yet taken advantages of strategies such as virtualization and cloud computing should work with an IT consulting firm to find out how they can help them to lower costs and improve security.