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Business Implications for Cloud Information Protection

Three specific benefits to implementing a cloud computing security system

For some organizations, cloud computing can be a hard sell, even before you come to the question of how to handle cloud-computing security. Public cloud, private cloud, hybrid cloud, encryption, tokenization, data residency, privacy regulations - all are factors involved and the perceived effort can sometimes seem to overshadow the benefits. But just as cloud computing comes with a slew of demonstrated business benefits, so does effective cloud computing security. Included below are three specific benefits to implementing a cloud computing security system.

1. Regulatory compliance prevents costly fines.
One of the most common reasons enterprises have for investing in cloud computing security is, of course, regulatory compliance. Heavily regulated industries like finance and health care - industries that handle the most sensitive personal information - must remain in compliance with relevant regional, national, and international laws, as well as with industry-specific standards. Failure to do so can come with a high price. In fact, banks that fail to comply with the PCI DSS requirements, for example, may face fines of anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 per month, costs that tend to get passed downstream, resulting in higher costs for all, according to the PCI Compliance Guide's FAQ.

As companies begin to see cost efficiency returns from their cloud investment, they are also finding the need to deploy a robust security system to protect customer data while complying with privacy regulations to mitigate against costly fines and reputational damage.

2. Cloud computing security preserves consumer confidence.
Data that is improperly protected with non-encryption or with poor encrypted data welcomes intruders, hackers and bots to compromise that data causing a data breach that results in irreparable harm to a business's reputation. In most regions, laws mandate that the businesses that lost the data disclose the breach to the public. Between February 2005 to December 2006, for example, "100 million personal records were reportedly lost or exposed," according to the IT Law Wiki.

And cyber crime is on the rise. Ponemon Institute recently reported that organizations suffered an average of nine cyber attacks in 2013 and that 50 percent of survey respondents indicated that these breaches successfully stole sensitive information. With the bulk of the holiday shopping season remaining, this is the most profitable time of the year for retailers, banks and card processors. But since cyber criminals follow the money trail, now is also the time for businesses to shore up their data protection measures through encryption and other recommended security practices from PCI and the 40-some breach notification mandates in the US.

3. Secure cloud computing improves reliability and flexibility and lowers costs (lower TCO).
Today, regulative noncompliance and data breaches pose significant dangers to businesses. Some say it's better to avoid the cloud, however, if a business decides to do so, they lose the opportunities for far greater reliability and flexibility in the business's computing infrastructure. As Abby Shagin wrote in the SAP blog, cloud computing liberates employees from dependence on in-house infrastructure, "creating a more flexible and mobile work lifestyle"; the cloud also allows for far more agility in implementing change.

Shagin points out that the economies of scale in the cloud allow for greater reliability, since "the vendor is more able to give 24/7 technical support and highly trained experienced staff to support the infrastructure at its best condition." Additionally, cloud computing can reduce business costs by shifting the burden of IT staffing away from your enterprise and onto the cloud provider, as TechRadar's Kate O'Flaherty observes.

Cloud computing is essential in creating an ecosystem that scales and adapts in the data-centric environment that drives business. In this data influx, cloud, and more important, security, ensures success and safety for customers, employees and the entire business today.

More Stories By Paige Leidig

Paige Leidig is SVP at CipherCloud. He has 20 years of experience in technology, marketing, and selling enterprise application solutions and managing trusted customer relationships. As SVP of Marketing, he is responsible for all aspects of marketing at CipherCloud. Paige was previously in the Office of the CEO at SAP, where he was responsible for leading and coordinating SAP’s acquisition and integration activities on a global basis. He has managed a number of marketing initiatives at SAP, including responsibility for all go-to-market activities for SAP’s Cloud applications portfolio. Preceding his SAP career, Paige held senior management positions with Ariba, Elance, and E*Trade.

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