October 2011

The House Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing last week on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies “Witnesses testified about cloud computing and its implications for homeland security. Among the topics they addressed were risk assessment, the Obama administration’s Cloud First Policy, and preparations at the Department of Homeland Security to switch to cloud computing.”

The session addressed the inevitability of cloud adoption by government agencies, a need that is increasingly acute due to budget cuts and agency downsizing.  The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) has been established to provide a standard approach to Assessing and Authorizing (A&A) cloud computing services and products.

Security is a valid concern that needs to be addressed.  But the cloud is the future as pointed out by Tim Brown, VP of CA Associates: “If we don’t embrace the cloud we will be out of business.” Mr. Brown went on to observe that as cloud providers, we need to ‘trust and verify’ but the cloud is a fact of life.

Security is a major concern, but is cloud-based security the main security risk? You might be surprised at the answer.

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You are a small or medium-sized business, facing all the challenges in today’s economy. Your data is your business’ lifeline and there is a world of hackers eager to make you their lunch.

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, in 2010, the U.S. Secret Service and Verizon Communications Inc.‘s forensic analysis unit responded to 761 data breaches and of those, 63% were from companies with 100 employees or fewer. This is way up from 141 data breaches in 2009 with 27% of those attacks being on small businesses.

Small businesses have become prime targets because they lack the security of big businesses. Weak passwords, malicious programs sent as attachments or links in emails to employees are some of the ways hackers can get into small business systems and steal data.

What can you do—and how can you afford—to keep your data secure?

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