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In cloud computing, risks may soon outstrip benefits

By Paolo Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:02:00 04/25/2011

Filed Under: Computing & Information Technology, Software

MANILA, Philippines?With more businesses moving their computer systems and data storage to the Internet ?cloud,? addressing security threats from malicious viruses that try to steal personal information, among other things, is expected to get harder.

Security firm Trend Micro Inc. said companies like Facebook had grown from dorm-room startups to multibillion-dollar firms in only a few years precisely because of cloud computing, or computer services hosted through the Internet.

This has allowed Internet-enabled companies to expand operations by just renting servers and data storage facilities?something cash-strapped entrepreneurs will appreciate.

?It?s cheaper for companies to expand their systems now because they don?t have to worry about cooling or storage costs. You just have to go to the cloud,? said Oscar Chang, Trend Micro chief development officer and executive vice-president of Greater China sales.

Multinational corporations too have been able to save millions of dollars by availing of cloud computing services, instead of buying their own equipment that needs to be replaced every three or four years, Chang added.

He said the cloud computing market revenue could grow up to $121 billion by 2015 from $37.8 billion in 2010.

But as with any other innovation in technology, there are risks, Chang said. And because cloud computing means more data will be on the Internet, these data become more vulnerable.

?With cloud computing, people are more connected. The problem is, there is a bigger chance to get infected because you are connected,? Chang told reporters during a recent visit to Manila. ?Hackers now are also smarter nowadays.?

The issue of security is particularly important for banks, which store large amounts of their clients personal data, Chang explained.

?As much promise as it holds, cloud computing can also be a source of problems,? he stressed.

Despite the risks, Chang said, multinationals and small businesses should not shun cloud services.

Software solutions, sold by companies like Trend Micro, are designed to detect and block off access points where data may be compromised, Chang said.

If organizations refuse to avail of cloud services, they would be forced to go through lengthy procurement processes whenever they would upgrade their computer systems.

With cloud services, this can be done in a day, enabling companies to adapt to fast-changing industry dynamics, he said.

?There are more security risks. But the risk of innovation is also lower. If a company does not decide to go on the cloud, then that?s trouble,? Chang said.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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