Risk
5/14/2012
06:04 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Microsoft Sees Cloud As SMB Security Cure

Microsoft pushing the idea that cloud services offer more cost-effective security for SMBs than the alternative.

10 Everyday Android Apps For SMBs
10 Everyday Android Apps For SMBs
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
If cloud computing were marketed as a medicine, it would be a wonder drug. Its healing powers would be so great that the cautious consumer might suspect quackery.

But Microsoft insists the cloud can cure a bleeding wallet, a perennial concern among small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).

The company's Trustworthy Computing Division recently surveyed SMBs--companies with between 100 and 250 PCs, some who use cloud computing, and some who don't--in the United States, India, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Among the U.S. organizations surveyed--93 cloud, 94 non-cloud--Microsoft found that SMBs relying on cloud services feel three to five times better about IT costs, IT value, and IT security than those who shun the cloud.

But it's more than a feeling: Microsoft's cloud-using respondents report spending 32% less time managing security than those who don't use cloud services.

[ Get a roadmap for your move to the cloud. See Anatomy Of An All-Cloud SMB. ]

"The security benefits of the cloud are there to see," said Adrienne Hall, general manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group, in a blog post.

In the past three years, according to Microsoft's findings, SMBs in the U.S. that favor cloud services were five times more likely than their tradition-minded counterparts to have decreased their managed security spending as a percentage of their overall IT budget. And they were six times more likely to have reduced IT security spending overall.

Among cloud-positive SMBs, 45% reported easier systems integration, 38% reported spending less time managing security, 35% said they believed their business was more secure, and 34% expressed more confidence in their company's regulatory compliance.

SkyWire Media, a mobile content delivery provider, reports positive results from a Microsoft cloud injection, in the form of Windows Intune, Microsoft's cloud management service.

Thomas Castleberry, chief operating officer of SkyWire Media, said in an email that his company had previously used a variety of Windows update services and anti-malware products. Each such system required its own server, software license, support contract, and IT administrator, he explained.

SkyWire Media also had different Microsoft Office and Outlook versions, which Castleberry characterized as "a bit of a headache." By selecting Intune, he said, "we were able to take a unified approach to deploying software, removing unwarranted software, and creating a reliable communications platform."

"We were additionally able to repurpose the hardware (or eliminate it all together), and reassign an IT person to other internal development projects, decreasing the need to hire an additional staff member, and reducing our overall IT overhead while improving our ability to service our internal customers," Castleberry said.

The net result, according to Castleberry, was more than $90,000 in equipment and personnel savings.

Gartner concurs about the benefits of the cloud, sort of. The research consultancy has concluded that cloud computing can be more secure than on-premises software, sometimes. A recent security survey by Alert Logic offers a similar assessment. The cloud has a lot to recommend it, but it's not a panacea for every IT concern.

"Whether in the cloud or an on-premises environment, effectively securing IT infrastructure is largely about the quality of management," Alert Logic's report concludes.

High-profile breaches against cloud-based services have forced tougher security and closer scrutiny of what to put in the cloud. In our Dark Side Of The Cloud report, we explain the risks. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2037
Published: 2014-11-26
Openswan 2.6.40 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (NULL pointer dereference and IKE daemon restart) via IKEv2 packets that lack expected payloads. NOTE: this vulnerability exists because of an incomplete fix for CVE 2013-6466.

CVE-2014-6609
Published: 2014-11-26
The res_pjsip_pubsub module in Asterisk Open Source 12.x before 12.5.1 allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via crafted headers in a SIP SUBSCRIBE request for an event package.

CVE-2014-6610
Published: 2014-11-26
Asterisk Open Source 11.x before 11.12.1 and 12.x before 12.5.1 and Certified Asterisk 11.6 before 11.6-cert6, when using the res_fax_spandsp module, allows remote authenticated users to cause a denial of service (crash) via an out of call message, which is not properly handled in the ReceiveFax dia...

CVE-2014-7141
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (out-of-bounds read and crash) via a crafted type in an (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet.

CVE-2014-7142
Published: 2014-11-26
The pinger in Squid 3.x before 3.4.8 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service (crash) via a crafted (1) ICMP or (2) ICMP6 packet size.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?