Data security through the cloud: Is the combination of cloud computing with mobility a perfect storm of security threats?

By Chad F. Walter

We all know that both cloud and mobility are here to stay. Many look at these technologies as essentially being one and the same. Without the cloud, mobility just isn’t sufficiently robust to meet our demanding technology requirements. Conversely, it’s mobility which has compelled many technologies to move to the cloud. So, is this combination of cloud and mobility creating the perfect storm for security threats?

Personally, I don’t think so, although I would concede, without reservation, to its adding to the storm front. There are other factors at play which serve to exacerbate the security conundrum.

For instance, we live in a society of immediate gratification – meaning we “need”what we “want”and we “need”it now. The IT community, specifically the IT security community, is under breakneck pressure to assimilate new tools, resources and data at a much faster pace than proper cloud and mobility safety nets can be developed and implemented. Why is this happening? One primary reason is that there seems to be a disconnect within the fundamental strategy discussion. We’re just not doing proper cause and effect; for instance, it’s not uncommon that the IT security people aren’t even invited to the strategy discussion. After all, the security team would just slow things down and our sales representative going to Dubai next week needs to have connectivity on all his devices or he won’t be able to close the big sale. This is the stuff cyber criminals prey on. It’s an open path to data and now it’s in the cloud, served up on a mobile silver platter. Yum, Yum.

What I’m saying is, yes, there’s definitely a storm brewing, and yes, cloud and mobility are fanning the flames. But, you know what? That sales representative going to Dubai next week? How about we involve IT security to strategically determine what’s needed and can we control, monitor and secure the data?

What’s the risk?  Is it worth taking?  Don’t wait to involve your IT security team until after something happens and then blame them for it happening in the first place.

In all fairness, it’s important to point out that there are great innovations within both the cloud and mobility technology arenas which are making it easier to secure data.  Hitting the market daily, we’re seeing the release of new managed cloud email security products, fully encrypted smart devices and even new, more secure ways to communicate.  I put it to you that if the convergence of cloud and mobility is creating a perfect storm for security threats, it’s also creating a perfect storm for security innovation.

(published on CB Insight)