Fact or fiction: Myths and realities behind cloud apps and security

The cloud is open for business - but is it a safe choice? While this is a question that's revolving around business IT offices across the country, it's especially prevalent at small and medium-sized companies. Big businesses, after all, seem to have the infrastructure - and, more importantly, the staffing power - to smoothly facilitate, sustain and secure a cloud move.

"The question of cloud security is especially prevalent at small and medium-sized companies."

For companies that don't have a huge fleet of security decision-makers, choosing to be cloud-forward can seem inherently risky. But it is also increasingly being seen as a business necessity. In a January 2015 survey of 930 IT professionals, 93 percent of respondents stated that their businesses were leveraging cloud technology. By 2020, the cloud market is set to be a $500 billion industry, as companies continue to invest in a cloud-centric strategy. 

Numbers like these affirm the importance of being cloud-forward, but security concerns can still hold some SMBs back. And cloud security worries are only heightened when reading about incidents like the recent Ashley Madison hack, in which cybercriminals publicly exposed data for a reported 32 million of the site's users.

When it comes to SMBs embracing cloud and cloud apps, a key step is to dispel common cloud misconceptions. Therefore, we present three myths about the technology as well as offer the reality in each case:

Myth: The cloud is inherently insecure. 
Reality: The cloud is as secure as you make it.
Faced with headlines about cloud-based hacks, business security decision-makers can assume that such stories apply to the entire cloud. But that's not true. The way hackers breach cloud apps is via vulnerabilities, which often center around finding means of unauthorized access. When companies take steps to improve identity and access management, they can ensure that their cloud is highly secure. Security tools like two-factor authentication and secure authentication with SAML are some of the key ways to protect cloud apps. In fact, experts argue that some high-profile breaches could have been prevented with better identity security measures in place, like the IRS hack.   

Myth: Cloud security protocols are very hard to roll out.
Reality: They're easy with the right formula!
If a company uses a variety of different cloud apps, how can it ensure cloud-wide security? Contrary to myth, a company doesn't compromise security with each forward step it takes in the cloud. As long as businesses pursue solutions to centralize cloud oversight and security - such as harnessing password management and directory integration - they can extend their secure identity to the cloud and not have to worry about it being at a higher risk of getting targeted. 

Myth: It's hard to keep track of cloud app usage.
Reality: With the proper tool, keeping track of cloud app usage is a breeze. 
The typical cloud-forward business will have many different cloud apps in its mix. As the number of apps being used within the business increases, it may seem impossible for IT leaders to keep track of important elements like individual app usage statistics. That's where Bitium comes into play. With our centralized application management, we provide IT administrators with the ability to gain the app visibility they need across the entire business. 

Just because smaller businesses lack the size and staffing of their larger counterparts doesn't mean their cloud deployments have to be any less robust. With strong identity and access management in place, SMBs can prevent cloud security issues from arising. When it comes to IAM solutions tailored specifically to SMBs, Bitium is a leading provider. Check out our product overview to learn more, and sign up for a free trial today!

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Don't let myths stop your company from finding value - and security - in the cloud.