One of the most often expressed fears about adopting cloud services is that a company is giving its crown jewels to an outside organisation. With cloud security services, the fear is that you are giving the key to the safe away too.

But cloud security offers a raft of benefits that outweigh the risk, as long as you choose a reputable service provider. Cloud security vendors see the overall security picture and can react to incoming threats faster and more effectively than much smaller IT departments, and spend considerable sums researching emerging threats and developing countermeasures. And, of course, they can offer economies of scale that individual companies can rarely match.

So cloud security firms jealously guard their reputation for their own security.


Nervousness about the cloud


"There is still a degree of nervousness about the cloud, because you have lost control, effectively." says Ed Macnair CEO at Basingstoke-based cloud security firm CensorNet. "Education is critical - understanding what you are putting into the cloud, securing that information, making sure only the right people have access to the information and making sure that information can't leave without your authority."

Many large players in very security-conscious sectors are now using cloud security. "We have 4,000 customers worldwide including banks, government departments and police forces who rely on us to keep them up to date on the latest threats and challenges," Macnair says. "We work in a lot of sectors that have a very rigorous attitude to security, but some sectors are less so - manufacturing and retail could definitely do with beefing up their security."


Seeing the threats coming in


One of the benefits of cloud security is that the provider sees the big picture across all their clients. "We are majoring on threat intelligence," Macnair says. "Because we see threats coming in from the web and email but also Cloud applications it gives us an unparalleled view of security trends. The fact that we see across all protocols makes our ability to secure an organisation far, far stronger."

In fact, so much data is now being looked at, the process is beyond the human capacity to analyse. The future is in artificial intelligence and machine learning allowing security systems to automatically monitor emerging threats and develop strategies to counter them, Macnair believes. "Unified security is an area that will become more and more important, because one of the challenges organisations face is they are looking across so many threat vectors they need to make sense of the noise."