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Cloud Security Concerns Holding Back Adoption

By Expert Author: skyhigh networks

The revelations of NSA spying activities from Edward Snowden are predicted to impact US cloud providers as customers in Europe and Asia pull back orders. That’s according to the Cloud Security Alliance which predicts losses could total between $35 billion and $45 billion. The revelations are already having an impact, according to Hightail CEO Brad Garlinghouse. "The Snowden effect has extended the sales cycle for non-US companies looking at doing business with US companies."

Even before the NSA revelations, cloud providers faced challenges complying with regional and country-specific data privacy regulations. The EU Data Protection Directive prohibits the movement of certain types of personally identifiable information (PII) from leaving the European Union. With datacenters spread all over the world to provide high performance at low cost, cloud providers have found these regulations to be challenging.

Regulated companies in the US also need to ensure special protections for data in the cloud. Health companies regulated by HIPAA msut ensure personal health information (PHI) is not accessible when it’s transferred to third parties. When this data is uploaded to the cloud, it must be encrypted so that in the event of a security breach sensitive patient information is not exposed. But customers are looking for more than the encryption offered by cloud providers today.

One disadvantage of encryption offered by many cloud providers is that they maintain copies of the encryption keys. If the government were to request the data in a blind subpoena or intercept the data in transit between data centers it could be vulnerable to a data breach. Many companies are looking to maintain control of their own encryption keys so unauthorized third parties, and even cloud providers, won’t have access to their sensitive, regulated data.

Many companies already have key management servers and hardware security modules to encrypt data on premises. Ideally, many companies would look to extend these established enterprise key management practices to their data as it transits to the cloud. Cloud Security providers like Skyhigh Networks offer integration with popular key management servers, allowing companies to manage keys using their established policies and controls.

In some cases, companies don’t want certain types of data to go to the cloud at all, even if it is protected with encryption. Data loss prevention has traditionally focused on email, storage devices, and printing but cloud providers and Cloud Security vendors are working on integrating this functionality into their offerings. For instance, earlier in 2013 Box announced a lightweight DLP offering that would allow quarantine and blocking of social security numbers, credit card numbers, and other patterns. Other companies are offering integration with enterprise DLP solutions from Symantec and EMC so customers can extend their policies to the cloud.

As we look to 2014, a great emphasis is likely to be placed by companies on ensuring data security wherever data goes – in the cloud and on mobile devices. We may also see a move toward balkanization of the web as countries react to NSA revelations and look to keep more data from moving outside the country. With more Cloud Security solutions, companies are likely to find ways to embrace the cloud with appropriate controls for security, compliance, and governance.

Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Security Services company, enables companies to embrace Cloud Security Services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, healthcare, high technology, media, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference 2013 Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit us at http://www.skyhighnetworks.com/ or follow us on Twitter@skyhighnetworks.

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