Businesses will struggle keeping ‘cloud’ data safe

New ways of working mean that data is increasingly being carried over the web and network security must evolve to keep pace.

The next few years will see businesses struggling to maintain control of threats as network security tries to evolve to protect data in "the cloud," according to Gartner.

John Pescatore, Gartner's vice president and distinguished analyst, was talking at the Garner IT Security Summit in London today about the move from on-premises to off-premises computing over the internet, which businesses are increasingly struggling to control.

He said it is set to become an inevitable reality for all organisations. As such, security must evolve and protect any network that an employee might use, such as social networks or Web 2.0 mash-ups. The increasing consumerisation of IT is further compounding the issue, with tools like Google Apps tipped to become much more popular in the corporate space in the next few years, according to Pescatore.

"[This consumerisation] is increasing pressure to allow business to be done from unmanaged PCs and laptops, allowing contractors and business partners onto our networks," he said.

He added: "It is also the use of services that we never thought to use years ago. Things like Salesforce.com, which is totally out of our control and allowing data to live off the network [Businesses are] increasingly [interested in] things like Google Apps, the iPhone, MySpace and Facebook. There's a lot more business being done on servers and servers on networks that are not under a business' control."

Pescatore said it is now the responsibility of businesses to make sure that the security focus shifts from platform security to security that directly protects corporate data wherever it may reside.

To do this, Gartner said that the future will see all services having to go through a "security cloud" before they can be used. This defensive perimeter would then protect anywhere data was accessed.

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