Cloud computing allows businesses and other organizations to move their computer functions to the internet from internal networks. This relieves the entity from having to maintain expensive IT equipment, such as servers, programs, and other networking solutions. It also allows for a reduction of expensive IT personnel. The overall savings can be very significant, depending on the size of the organization and its computer operations. At the same time, entities are able to provide greater flexibility to an increasingly mobile work force and as a result experience greater efficiency from the workforce. The downside is that when an entity moves its computer functions to the internet it becomes a big target for cyber criminals that want to steal sensitive information, hence the big security concerns.
Cloud computing services are provided by third parties and the entities involved are dependent on those third parties to provide adequate security measures. In turn, however the third party service providers are depending on each entity to do its part. Security is only as strong as the weakest link and if one entity has lower security concerns that the rest there will be increased vulnerability for all. Most security breaches occur because of actions from inside the entity. An employee carries out an action that opens a door to unauthorized access. This can happen through carelessness, an employee being duped by some outside party or by a disgruntled employee. Security awareness among employees of each entity should be considered essential to maintaining overall security for each entity in the cloud.
For many entities, given the right IT security solutions, there is really no reason not to move IT functions to the cloud. They can increase efficiency and effectiveness while decreasing costs and simplifying IT processes and functions for all parties involved. The purchase of Virtuata by Cisco means that other cloud computing service providers will need to up their game, regarding IT security, in order to remain competitive. Security professionals must strive to stay ahead of cyber criminals who are always working to find new and innovative ways to breach security. The firm(s) that provides the best IT security will dominate in the cloud computing arena. Cisco has made a good move with the purchase of Virtuata and is poised to increase its footprint in the cloud computing arena in a big way.