Secure File Transfer and Collaboration in the Cloud: Maximizing the Benefits While Minimizing the Risks

Date of Publication: 
August 2011

Cloud computing is transforming enterprise IT. In every area of operations, enterprises are increasingly choosing cloud services when they launch new services or replace traditional on-premise applications.

Evidence of this transformation is everywhere. The Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market, which offers cloud-based applications over the Web, is growing six times faster than the rest of the software market, and it’s expected to continue growing at 26% Compound Annual Growth Rate through 2014.1 About 60% of enterprises are now using SaaS, up from 47% a year ago. Over the next five years, companies will spend over $112 billion on SaaS, Infrastructure-as-a- Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) combined, and world cloud services revenue will reach a whopping $148 billion.

Impressive as these numbers are, they probably under report the adoption of cloud services. Many cloud-based services are offered free of charge or for a small monthly fee. Departments and individual users subscribe to them through “quick-and-dirty” purchases outside the purview of the IT department, the finance department, and compliance officers. Since 40% of enterprises have no way of monitoring cloud services at all,2 it’s not surprising that a significant portion of cloud service usage goes undetected and unmonitored. Ignoring this adoption is risky, though, because these services are increasingly being used to transmit and store confidential data without adequate security safeguards, putting enterprises at risk for security breaches and compliance violations.