From The Expert Feature Article
November 01, 2013

Everyone Agrees: Cloud Security is Red Hot

The biggest fear about the cloud used to be security. As security improves, it is just one of the biggest fears.

IT shops seeking the value of the cloud are shelling out big bucks to make sure their applications and data are all safe, and this is driving the cloud security market to new heights.

Gartner (News - Alert) is one many research houses tracking this area and it says security in the cloud will almost double to from this year’s $2.13 billion to hit $4.13 billion in 2017. And who exactly is driving this growth? SMBs, Gartner argues.

There are a bevy of tools that fit under this umbrella, including vulnerability assessment, identity and access management (IAM), secure Web and e-mail gateways, and event management.

“The cloud-based security market remains a viable one, offering providers many opportunities for expansion,” said Ruggero Contu, research director at Gartner. Encryption will be a new area of growth, but it remains a complex activity. The strongest interest will be in encryption products from cloud security brokers, which are relatively easy to deploy and have options for on-premises encryption management.” 

Cloud Security Growth  

Cloud e-mail gateways are the biggest area, and this year will account for some $800 million in sales. Growth, however, is far from explosive and sales will only rise to $1 billion over the next four years.

On the other hand IAM is red hot, expected to rise from a half billion dollars this year to $1.24 billion in 2017.

There are some things vendors need to be cautious about, said Kelly Kavanagh, principal research analyst at Gartner. “The benefits cloud security offers — particularly encryption — are making it an increasingly popular choice. However, trust concerns and regional variations mean that providers will have to assess each market opportunity carefully before deciding which to focus on,” he said.

Managed Security Market One Hot Area

Infonetics (News - Alert) Research focuses on the overall managed security market, which will exceed $9 billion by 2017, this according to the ‘Cloud and CPE Managed Security Services’ report.

The definition of security has changed with the advent of the cloud and managed services. Here Infonetics looks at both cloud and customer premises equipment (CPE) focused security services, and as such is larger than the market Gartner analyzed.  

And this market is poised to grow over the next five years a rather stunning 45%. Driving this growth, among other factors, are BYOD, an increasing disperse workforce, and the fact that security threats aren’t just growing, but becoming more complex and varied.

Infonetics numbers, though, are kind of a best case scenario as there are several areas of caution – just as Gartner expressed in its report.  

“The long-term outlook for managed security services, and especially cloud services, is quite strong, but there are some potential stumbling blocks,” said Jeff Wilson, Infonetics principal analyst for security. “Improvements in the efficacy and ease of management of security products could decrease the urgency to move to the cloud, and regulatory drivers are forcing some customers to keep all data on premise.”  

Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert) this February released a similar report, Analysis of the Global Managed Security Market, with very different results. This research house puts the entire market at some $66.5 billion last year, rising by 2021 to $139 billion. These numbers, however, include physical security.

Frost & Sullivan’s analysis of the market is in line, however, with Infonetics. "In current times, many organizations remain highly cost-conscious, motivating them to outsource their security requirements and reduce operating costs," said Frost & Sullivan Aerospace, Defense & Security Research Analyst Anthony Leather. "Even while security remains a priority for organizations, chief decision makers are looking to the industry to provide them with the most advanced security solutions at the most competitive prices."

Security Fears Lessen

Customers are becoming less worried about cloud security, in part because of what service providers are doing, and also due to what the IT shops are implementing.

A Microsoft (News - Alert) survey says SMBs that haven’t moved to the cloud, cite security as the biggest concern. In fact, 64 percent of those surveyed worry about cloud security and 45 percent fret that they will lose control over their data. Meanwhile 42 percent don’t trust the cloud for reliability.

Talk to shops that made the cloud move and you get the opposite result. That’s what Microsoft did, and its result say that SMBs that use the cloud find a lift in privacy, reliability and security.

Of those that used the cloud, 94 percent found improved security through more current anti-virus and spam controls, and in general having more up-to-date systems.

Meanwhile 65 percent of cloud users see better reliability and 62 percent experience more privacy.

“There’s a big gap between perception and reality when it comes to the cloud. SMBs that have adopted cloud services found security, privacy and reliability advantages to an extent they didn’t expect,” said Adrienne Hall, general manager, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft. “The real silver lining in cloud computing is that it enables companies not only to invest more time and money into growing their business, but to better secure their data and to do so with greater degrees of service reliability as well.” 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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