These days any talk of the cloud almost invariably includes mention of security issues. Though there have been few security breaches involving anything more than some shrewd password guessing, just the idea of hosting highly sensitive information on offsite, shared servers is not terribly comforting to most IT executives.
In response to the growing concern, several cloud service providers have pushed to make additional security measures available to enterprise clients. McAfee and Novell have beefed up their security offerings in the past couple weeks, and the most recent cloud vendor to join the fray is Unisys, which announced the availability of its Secure Cloud Solution earlier this week.
Using a security measure referred to as Stealth, the offering allows clients to transport applications into a managed, shared cloud service without the need for arduous rewrites. Typically, when users move applications that process sensitive business data to the cloud, the applications must be modified or rebuilt to ensure sufficient levels of security. This is generally a time consuming and expensive task. Unisys’s avoids the need for such practices by “cloaking” data through multiple levels of authentication and encryption, bit-splitting data into multiple packets so it moves invisibly across networks.
The additional layer of security is intended to make enterprise clients feel more comfortable hosting business-critical information in the cloud. Unisys claims that most enterprise clients currently have no problem moving test and development suites into the cloud, but are extremely averse to the idea of pushing sensitive data outside internal firewalls. It will be interesting to see if this reluctance wanes with advances in security technology, or if companies will continue to simply fork over the extra cash for local data centers.