Companies look to work with secure email as prediction made that it will be the first application to be cloud-based

News by Dan Raywood

As interest and solutions in cloud storage increase, claims have been made that email will be one of the most likely applications to go into the cloud.

As interest and solutions in cloud storage increase, claims have been made that email will be one of the most likely applications to go into the cloud.

Proofpoint CEO Gary Steele said that as more and more organisations want to do email securely, it is being more and more widely accepted.

For example, he said that it is still standard practice to call the doctor but not email them as the NHS has not picked it up. He said: “We are saying it is a better way to communicate but they do not want procedures documented. We take it for granted but cannot always use it.”

He further commented that email ‘will never go away, it is getting more pervasive but it is the most convenient way to send information'.

He said: “We see more organisations putting email in the cloud, one of the most likely to go to cloud; there is management and storage, but it can be done cheaper in the cloud. It will be one of the first applications to go to the cloud.

“Making email run has become an expensive operation. I think it is 24 months away and it is one of the bigger opportunities for cloud computing.”

Proofpoint chief marketing officer Peter Galvin commented that this move will be a ‘seamless application', as customers are saying that they want more mobile users and want to be remote and productive.

Galvin said: “So many vendors are talking about opportunities in the cloud, people need to see advantages, security should be higher not lower and we encrypt on every cloud. We think about delivering higher level of security and how to prove to people to be cheaper through total cost of ownership and meet requirements.”

Commenting, Brian Tokuyoshi, product marketing manager at PGP, agreed with the comments about email being an early adopter service for the cloud.

He said: “There are a number of reasons for that, primarily because email requirements are fairly straightforward, the outsourced/managed service email market from the late 90s laid down the groundwork for email as a cloud service, and that organisations large and small can benefit from a move to cloud-based mail. The medical example above is just one case where it would be a good idea to implement it if it were secure.

“It's interesting that they mention the medical environment, for there are many reasons why electronic communication is both a good idea and yet not supported right now. It's a good idea because it's efficient, it's ubiquitous, and people like using email.

“But there's a range of issues that have not been addressed. The attacks on Google's email servers were one obvious example of how even the cloud provider may not be able to protect your data against all of the threats out there. Plain vanilla email environments are fragile because the data can be easily lost, duplicated, stolen, or improperly accessed.”

Tokuyoshi further commented that PGP believes that success in the cloud will come from the ability to protect all forms of data, wherever it goes, and not just with protocols to transport data from one location to another.

“We shouldn't think about whether secure email is the pathway to a secure cloud, but rather the other way around: a secure cloud depends on all data being secure, with email being just one part of it,” he said.

“What's the difference? We probably need to aim higher than just securing a service, and move the industry to think about what types of services are needed to sustain truly open, interoperable and secure means of protecting cloud data. It's relatively easy to adapt existing methods of secure email to run in the cloud. It's exponentially harder to leverage multiple types of protection to go beyond email if no considerations are made on what such an architecture should look like.”

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