McAfee CEO says cloud providers need to step up security

Las Vegas – Mike DeCesare, the co-CEO of McAfee pointed the finger directly at the cloud providers and challenged them to do more when it comes to security.

At the McAfee Focus 2012 Conference, held here, DeCesare told a crowd of customers and channel partners that the company made the decision to move employee data to the cloud. This move made him ponder how long before everything is cloud based.He said that most organizations are heading towards this cloud model, but could they continue to replicate the same kind of security they deploy in an on-premise environment?

“I think that would be a big mistake and we need to hold cloud providers to a bigger set of standards. My wallet is in my pocket and occasionally I tap it just to make sure it’s still there. But can I do the same with electronic transfers?

We hold banks to a much higher standard with our money. They have vaults, surveillance equipment and we need to hold cloud providers the same set of standards and not make them easy targets,” DeCesare said.When asked by CDN during a question and answer session with the high tech press, DeCesare would not give specifics on what exactly the cloud providers were doing wrong from a security perspective. He did, however, provide an example of what kind of standards he expects that cloud providers to adopt.DeCesare said that when McAfee went through the process of putting its CRM tool on the cloud it undertook a “vigorous evaluation” which included exploring external methods and then came back to the cloud provider and asked them to match that level of security.

“If a thief wants to break into a bank they can get all the money that’s there. With mission critical data on the cloud, it’s incumbent on all of us to protect that data. They (cloud providers) have security challenges right now. We see a massive opportunity to partner with cloud providers to provide a level of security for those SMB customers that rely on cloud providers as a cost saver,” DeCesare said.SMBs are headed towards the cloud if they are not already there. I thought DeCesare made an excellent point about the SMB. The concern is really in the small business area.

Those companies of about 100 employees or less will see the cloud as an opportunity to lower costs and potentially be more productive depending on their area of business. These companies will either assume the cloud providers offer top-notch security or believe that their potential risks or business loss comes with the territory. This inevitably becomes an economic issues if the cloud providers only offer a certain base level of security.

Some of these cloud providers are also solution providers who have their own cloud such as Softchoice and Dimension Data Canada which recently launched their own clouds. Some solution providers decide to partner with Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. They too will need to step up their game for smaller business.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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