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CSOs: Are You a Groundhog or a Giraffe?

Having control over security and other cloud parameters makes it easier to deal with the integrations when they take place

Through a great deal of research on enterprise cloud adoption and security, I've learned something telling. As you would expect, CISOs' opinions about cloud strategy are quite varied. While many folks recognize their company's use of SaaS for HR, sales, communication, and other applications, they are fairly divided about the use of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and how secure these environments are in keeping company data safeguarded. After many talks with these technology leaders, I've determined that each fall into three distinct categories.

The "Server Huggers"
The first group is the server huggers and they make up a very small percentage of the respondents. They simply have no reason to leverage IaaS. Their applications are very resource intensive and expensive, and their businesses are highly predictable, so the need for scalable capacity just doesn't exist. However, the time may come where they have company needs to bring the cloud into the mix. If so, they should be well informed on how to take advantage of cloud services and realize the ways to protect data during and after that migration.

The Groundhogs
These guys burrow into the ground and resist the changes taking place on the surface. The majority of CSOs take this stance that the cloud is inherently insecure, and their general reaction is: "I'm not putting my data up there!" Despite all the benefits and the huge number of reports available today, they remain hesitant. The reality is that they know the business units are doing it, especially for temporary projects or for collaboration and file sharing. The obvious challenge to the CSO is that it's hard enough to secure networks you know... much less those that you don't. Thus, means must be put in place to keep a close eye on keys and monitor where the data resides and who has access. Those factors alone establish peace of mind and ease the uncertainly during the transition.

The Giraffes
Finally, the third group is those that see beyond the rest of us. They are aggressive and ready to embrace the cloud challenges of today. This small percentage of CSOs are taking the reins and recognizing that business unit leaders are going to do what they need to in order to accomplish their goals. They recognize that the business must take precedence, and they want to be enablers, rather than restrictors, of innovation. These leaders view the cloud as just another network, with different parameters, to accomplish goals, and define security policies to make sure their organizations use the cloud with the best possible security postures available.

Having control over security and other cloud parameters makes it easier to deal with the integrations when they take place. In general, education and understanding the cloud and its effects as it relates to security is key to a smooth and confident transition and aftereffect once it becomes the company norm.

More Stories By Steve Pate

Steve Pate is CTO & Co-Founder of HighCloud Security, bringing 25 years of designing, building, and delivering file system, operating system, and security technologies, with a proven history of converting market-changing ideas into enterprise-ready products. Before HighCloud Security, he built and led teams at ICL, SCO, VERITAS, HyTrust, Vormetric, and others. HighCloud’s resident author, he has published two well-respected books on UNIX kernel internals and UNIX file systems, as well as hundreds of articles and blogs. He has also published two books, on UNIX kernel internals and UNIX filesystems.

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