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The Growing Need for Secure Cloud Apps

Keeping the Cloud Secure

4Dec

Cloud computing has been one of the major success stories in tech recently. The other big winner is mobility. The share of single-platform Internet users on mobile devices is now higher than those on desktops. That's a milestone that should make anyone in development sit up and pay attention. Apps are more important than ever before, and cloud apps that can take advantage of the raw power the cloud provides and the mobility of the app format, have the best of both worlds. But the very same value that makes these apps work also means that security measures protecting the data flowing through the apps are absolutely crucial.

Keeping Data Secure

One of the hallmarks of the cloud is data, a lot of data. Once it is in the cloud, that data tends to be quite secure. But it's the steps before it that leaves data vulnerable, especially in the less security-minded mobility arena. The market penetration of any app will quickly evaporate if it proves itself to be vulnerable to a hack which skims off data before it can reach the cloud. One of the most important advantages of cloud apps in the first place is the security, so not securing the app itself and the flow of data to the cloud is like leaving the front door open.

Hackers who are in the business of stealing identities love to find unprotected consumer data. That is what lies behind many of the massive breaches of big companies and governmental organizations in the past. Hacking groups are just like anyone else- they look for the easiest and fastest ways to do things. That's why they are attracted to the vulnerable cloud apps rather than the cloud itself. Thus far, hackers have not been successful in trying to breach the platform of any major cloud provider. It's much more lucrative to go after an app feeding data to that cloud and grab data before it reaches the cloud.

The Rising Need for App Security

Adding security to cloud apps will secure the front door. Not only does this prevent hacks from succeeding, but hackers will divert their attention to a softer target once they know that a previously unsecured program is no longer easy to breach. The outcome is therefore twofold- a reduction in the success rate of attacks and in the actual number of attacks.

These benefits have driven a lot of attention and activity in the market for companies providing security to apps in general and cloud apps in particular. For example, the security firm Blue Coat recently acquired Elastica, which is a startup that monitors apps for signs of a breach. Elastica examines traffic to see if anything looks out of the ordinary, which could be a sign that an app or device has been hacked and is transmitting data to an unscrupulous agent. The $280 million acquisition adds more diversity to the parent company's ability to monitor and control the traffic flowing through a business's network.

It's a common thread in tech that new innovations race ahead, one step in front of security tools. Early adopters count on the newness of the technology to keep them safe. The growing size and importance of cloud apps means that security is now a critical issue in this area, so it is not surprising that startups focusing on cloud app security are benefiting from the extra attention.

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