In a report released this month, the Radicati Group, a market analysis firm, projects that the worldwide market for security-as-a-service will double during the next four years, reaching more than $2 billion in 2014. Companies' problems in securing their mobile workforce is a major factor in the demand for cloud security services, says Sara Radicati, president and principal analyst for the firm.
"The explosion in the use of mobile devices and the growth of the whole disconnected mobile workforce" are forcing companies to consider the cloud, Radicati says. "That entire trend is much better dealt with by a cloud service because then everyone dials into the cloud, and they are protected."
Another trend in mobility -- consumer-driven IT -- has also pushed companies toward the cloud, Radicati says. The complexities in securing a wide range of workers' mobile devices -- rather than a single type of device chosen by the company -- means that a cloud security provider's multivendor expertise might be needed. In addition, cloud services can help with monitoring, which can be difficult in environments where employees increasingly blend work and personal information technology.
Finally, the speed at which attacks evolve also puts pressure on corporate IT teams and requires enormous resources to combat.
"The threats change so quickly that actually a cloud provider is better placed to have the latest measures and latest patches," Radicati says. "For any customer that has done more in-depth thinking ... they should know that they are never going to be able to compete in-house in terms of how quickly they deploy security measures compared to a cloud provider."
All of these trends suggest that companies will study cloud security options to tame the complexity of securing their data and mobile workforce. Yet companies are also considering cloud services for security just because it's the cloud, Radicati says.
"Every five or 10 years, business goes through a major shift, just like the shift to client-server architecture," Radicati says. "The whole move to the cloud is the next big revolution, and everyone is looking at that, and there are valid benefits to moving to cloud [for security]."
But companies should move carefully to the cloud, security experts say. Because companies are giving up some control, careful attention should be paid to contract language, says Lina Liberti, vice president of marketing for security at CA Technologies.
"So you are giving up that control, which really is OK as long as you treat it like outsourcing," Liberti says. Companies should make sure to set adequate policies and implement those in a cloud security service, she states.
Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.