Cloud adoption increasing, especially among SMBs

Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) are moving to the cloud, at least for some of the capabilities they need. It’s critical, then, to consider the security of these services at the same time.

In a research report released by Symantec found that cloud services are well on their way to ubiquity, but their success will rely heavily on customers understanding the costs of a cloud move. The company’s State of Cloud Global Results survey, which was conducted by ReRez and polled 3,236 organizations in 29 countries, found that 82 percent of SMBs are at least discussing the cloud.

“SMBs really are ready to adopt the cloud,” Tom Powledge, vice president of products and services for Symantec’s SMB and Cloud group, tells me. “They are looking at the cloud for their environment for speed and convenience, mainly, since people running IT for small businesses don’t necessarily have a lot of time. They are also looking to adopt cloud based on price.”

With ease of use and pricing topping the list for SMBs, it’s not surprising that the figure goes up even higher when the topic of cloud services arises. Some 88 percent of SMBs said that they are at least discussing use of these services, the survey found. Email management and security, general security management, and cloud backup and storage, in particular, are the most popular items under discussion.

Today, SMBs understand the basic benefits of a cloud-based service. “You don’t have to install a bunch of servers in the environment or outlay a bunch of capital up-front with cloud services,” says Powledge. “You can get up and running with ERM, CRM, email, or endpoint security by subscribing to those services from a cloud provider without laying out capital. It becomes an operating expense rather than a capital expense, and there’s time and money savings over time.”

As SMBs adopt cloud, having a plan is critical. Rogue adoption of cloud (i.e., when employees use consumer-facing cloud services without support from IT) is rampant at smaller organizations. In fact, 70 percent of those surveyed reported that they had encountered these issues in the past year.

More than half of those surveyed (56 percent) said that frequency of rogue cloud projects has stayed the same, while 23 percent report increased frequency. Another 21 percent said that rogue adoption has decreased.

Ad-hoc adoption creates a variety of security and data protection issues. As the organization moves toward use of cloud solutions, management must carefully choose and deploy appropriate services and create clear mandates about employees using those services rather than choosing their own.

“Setting policies is absolutely important,” says Powledge. “It’s also essential to educate people about what is allowed and what is not. Educating, monitoring, and policy enforcement are the biggest channels going forward.”

Source: Point2Security

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