Survey: Cloud Can Cut Security Labor Time

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 @ 03:02 PM gHale

Cloud computing looks like it will be the next technology shift for the manufacturing automation sector down the road. If you look at labor time devoted to managing security solutions, the cloud could save time and money.

Right now companies spend an average of 127 hours per month managing on-site security solutions and related problems, according to new research.

However, four in 10 respondents plan to implement cloud-based Web security in 2011 or 2012. The top cited reasons are to simplify management of Web security (21 percent), reduce burden on IT staff (16.2 percent) and improve effectiveness against malware (15 percent).

Organizations with more remote or mobile employees face more problems when using on-premise security, according to the survey from Webroot. The survey covered 820 IT decision-makers in organizations with 100 to 5,000 employees in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Specifically, these companies are 43 percent more likely to undergo phishing attacks and 33 percent more likely to experience viruses or worms than organizations using cloud security. Time spent repairing damage and addressing other repercussions is also more significant.

The time and cost associated with managing on-site security solutions is substantial:

• Managing software and hardware updates alone eats up more than two full workdays per month.

• Seven percent of respondents said managing software and hardware updates has no impact on their IT resources.

• The second highest resource consumption is re-imaging infected machines, which takes more than 17 hours per month.

• Enforcing end user policies and managing patches rank third and fourth respectively, each consuming more than 16 hours per month. Two in 10 respondents describe the impact of these activities as major or severe.

Companies with one-fourth or more of their employees accessing the server remotely face the greatest repercussions.

Companies with remote-based employees find help desk time to repair damage increases 10 percentage points (from 19 percent to 29 percent). They also find compromised customer data triples (19 percent versus six percent).

They also found web site compromises and hacking attacks each increase by 10 percentage points.

Those using cloud security are 30 percent less likely to experience phishing attacks than those using on-premise security solutions, 25 percent less likely to experience viruses or worms, and 20 percent less likely to experience spyware, the report found.

Securing mobile users is the top security challenge in 2011:

• 33 percent of respondents rank securing mobile/laptop users as their number one challenge in the year ahead.

• Mobile user protection ranked in the top five reasons that companies are considering cloud-based Web security, with 12 percent citing it as a primary reason they have adopted or will adopt it.

• The next highest ranked security challenges in 2011 are preventing data breaches (26 percent) and protecting against Web-based malware (25 percent).

• The burden of managing on-premise security is not going unnoticed by companies:

• 18 percent of companies with on-premise security strongly agree their IT security vendors act as if they work for them, whereas that number nearly doubles amongst those that have implemented cloud-based Web security solutions.

In addition, respondents said the hours spent dealing with on-premise security issues translate into lost hours in other areas: 26 percent of companies using on-premise solutions strongly agree their solutions enable them to spend more time on strategic IT initiatives, compared with 42 percent that have implemented cloud-based Web security.

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