Cloud computing has been described as an 'opportunity', while CSOs see social networking as the most over-hyped threat

Cloud computing has been described as an ‘opportunity' by a collection of CSOs.

At the CSO Interchange event in London last week, a live poll found 70 per cent of the 30 CSOs saw centralising data with a cloud computing solution as an opportunity. Social networking was also seen as the most over-hyped threat, above other possible threats such as data leakage, targeted and non-targeted attacks, internal fraud and active economic warfare.

The lively discussion on cloud computing concluded that there was an urgent need for a common set of industry standards to enable companies to evaluate and compare alternative cloud providers. The consensus was that there is an unstoppable move towards cloud computing and that the industry needs to focus on developing best practices on how to choose and deploy cloud computing solutions.

On the subject of social networking, discussions indicated a strong preference for companies to ban social networking - with the notable exception of LinkedIn, which most companies consider acceptable.

The overwhelming majority recognised that banning company use of these tools risked alienating younger members of the workforce who could be tempted to resort to their own mobile devices, and most delegates advocated more education of enterprise users to help them understand how to use social networking tools in a responsible manner.

Qualys chairman and CEO Philippe Courtot, who is also founder of the CSO Interchange, said: “The discussions and views aired at these events always reinforce my view of the immense and ever-changing nature of the challenges facing today's CSOs. It's no longer sufficient to be technologically astute but increasingly in the future they will also need to display a variety of skills ranging from technician to communicator and evangelist.”

Peter Bauer, CEO and founder of cloud-based email management provider Mimecast, said: “The truth is that any disillusionment around cloud security is largely self-inflicted. The promise of rapid ROI, particularly given the prevailing economic climate, has led to organisations rushing to adopt cloud services without carrying out due diligence on vendors and the integrity of their cloud infrastructures. To put it bluntly, the allure of the cloud has provoked businesses into putting their information at unnecessary risk, which is why cloud is now getting such a bad rap.

“However, there is an urgent need for a greater degree of transparency and compliance in the cloud that can be easily consumed and integrated into an organisation. Cloud systems that have been fully architected by a single vendor, with security in mind at every stage of the process, can unquestionably result in better data protection than a business's own client-server setup. In other words, security should be a reason to adopt cloud services, not to avoid them.”

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