Editor’s Note: To assist our clients in understanding cloud computing, we are posting a series of short write-ups about the subject. The following is the fourth post in this series and it serves as a status report on security. See the first, second and third posts in this series to benefit from the full discussion.
Good News / Bad News
Like many things in life, the relationship between internet security and cloud computing is a good news / bad news story.
First, the bad news: the internet is not secure. Although leading players in the computing world correctly proclaim the benefits of cloud computing, the internet nonetheless has security issues. Knowledgeable industry observers know this and, as evidenced by our survey of FNI’s own users, many of our clients concur. The security breach known as Heartbleed was just the latest illustration of how serious the problem can be. A few months earlier, it was the breach at Target Corp. that exposed credit card and personal data of more than 110 million consumers. The fact that computer security experts continue to be surprised by such events provides notice that internet security remains a problem. The solution is still a work in process.
There is good news however. These problems are being addressed and internet security continues to improve. Tremendous effort is being poured into internet security by firms with huge resources and a major stake in the outcome. Solutions are being developed.
Of course, even with this good news, questions remain. Here are just a few:
Why is Financial Navigator confident a solution for internet security issues will be developed?
The answer is simple: The computing industry must do so or it will not be able to grow. Cloud computing in its various forms offers advantages of cost savings and convenience that customers need. However, many users will not adopt this new mode of computing until they feel more confident about the security of their data. The industry recognizes this and will devote whatever resources are necessary to gain that trust.
How long will it take before the internet is secure?
This, of course, is impossible to say with any certainty. The most practical assessment is described in the response to the following question.
What form will the answer to internet security take?
The issue of internet security is complex. The answer, consequently, must be multi-faceted and will evolve, as first one aspect of the problem is resolved and then another. It is not a question of one day waking up and being told the internet is now secure. Rather, the answer will come in the form of hearing that the day has arrived when the internet is much more secure than it was a year ago and many times more secure than three years ago. Eventually, people will gain confidence that it is secure enough, even if some issues still remain. As user concerns recede, the benefits to be gained will out-weigh the perceived risks. By then, virtually all of us will be using some form of cloud services, finding it safe enough for even our most sensitive data.
We hope this discussion is helpful for you to understand the issues as we see them. Please come back to the blog to read future posts on this and other subjects.