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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

2FA can alleviate cloud security concerns and provide compliance

27 November, 2009
Dave Abrahams of Signify explains how the use of compliant two-factor authentication can alleviate one of the main security concerns detracting companiestest from adopting cloud computing technology
Launchpad Europe's recent survey has suggested that half of the companies not planning to take up cloud technology during 2010 have quoted security concerns as being the primary reason. (See the story here) Security in the cloud has been a hot topic recently and so the statistics come as no surprise given the levels of uncertainty and confusion in the potential user community.

One of the reasons for the doubt is that the security environment is complex, encompassing access control, data transfer protection and data loss prevention to name just the main three.

However, there can be little doubt that cloud computing will dominate as in-house costs become constrained and service "rental" or Software-as-a-Service becomes the norm, particularly in the SME sector. Given this burgeoning market opportunity, it is quite surprising that the cloud vendors and security companies aren't doing more to publicise the benefits and allay the security fears surrounding the technology.

Security vendors are now putting forward solutions these concerns particularly regarding remote access control to cloud resources. CryptoCard has its SaaS two factor authentication service for which they recently won a BCS award and which you can read more about by clicking here


Another vendor that is active in addressing the concerns on the minds of potential cloud subscribers is UK-based Signify. A data protection specialist, Signify provides a hosted two-factor authentication (2FA) login service for users of SaaS applications. (Click here for more information).

Dave Abraham, the CEO of Signify told me, "While 2FA is becoming the de-facto standard for remote access to server-based business applications, most enterprises are still accessing their SaaS applications, including Salesforce.com and Google Apps, with passwords that can be easily compromised. This is both surprising and worrying; particularly given the increasing growth in these web-based applications, where users are accessing potentially sensitive data in the cloud".

There is also a compliance implication which needs to be considered. Dave explains further:

"It appears that enterprises forget that access to these applications in the cloud should be considered remote access and deserves the same protection as the data on their own networks. It also means many organisations do not realise that industry policies and guidelines that increasingly specify 2FA for remote access compliance may also apply to their SaaS applications".

Launchpad Europe's survey results may seem to be depressing news for the cloud service providers but it needed be the case. The problem lies in convincing the potential market that the security holes are adequately filled by proven solutions. This results in an opportunity for the security vendors explain Dave Abraham:

"Filling this security 'blindspot' is a great channel opportunity for those who can resell Signify's hosted 2FA service as part of their portfolio to ensure their customers are fully protected for both corporate and hosted SaaS/cloud applications".
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