It seems that hacking data networks has become the new fad recently. With companies like Google, Sony, Nintendo, Lockheed Martin, and most recently Citibank, it appears that, with the exception of Lockheed Martin, the attackers are going after customer data. All this coming at a time when the internet is experiencing an evolution to a wireless, mobile (or cloud) network.
It’s a potential one step forward, two steps back moment and companies will need to start spending on their security in order to keep customer confidence up. Especially when most people, myself included, don’t really understand the how, where, and why these cyber attacks are possible.
The Corporate Perspective
Big business has been turning to the “cloud” to do business and maintain their data. If you haven’t heard of the “cloud” yet, it’s a broad term covering the evolution of the internet that allows corporations to store data, applications, programs, etc., on a virtual server. It allows both big and small businesses to have the use of all the new technology, without the cost of buying the new hardware.
Corporate spending will continue to be the bulk of the revenues for security companies. The more businesses that turn to the “cloud”, the more security that is required to protect those companies. With the latest cyber attacks hitting some major corporations, the spending will only increase to protect brand names, and keep them out of the headlines. Combine that with the fact that the “cloud” is still at the early stages of it’s life cycle, the technology to secure the “cloud” will continue to evolve.
The Consumer Perspective
Protecting yourself from cyber attacks meant having a firewall and antivirus program for your PC. With the advancement of the mobile internet and WiFi, you now have to figure out how to protect your smartphone, tablet, netbook, and everything else that can be connected to the internet.
Mobile apps are just now coming out to protect some of these devices, but do so at a minimal level. Because these devices are so new, having to secure your smartphone isn’t really a thought. It will more likely happen sooner rather than later. With smartphone sales outpacing PC’s for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2010, it’s only a matter of time before we find out how secure these devices really are.
With Apple’s introduction of the iCloud this past week (Google and Amazon offer similar more watered down versions) gives us a glimpse of how consumers will continue to interact with the “cloud”. Like all things new, this may take some time to catch on. But could be a game changer as far as how big this new market could become from a consumer perspective. As WiFi and mobile internet speeds continue to increase, the number of uses for “cloud” applications will only grow. Increasing the security needs required to keep our information safe.
How To Invest For It
There are several ways to invest in cloud security. A few of the more well established companies in the cloud space are Cisco Systems, EMC Corp, Juniper Networks, Check Point Software Technologies, and Symantec. All these companies offer network security as part of their broader products and services. The smaller, more specialized security plays may tend toward the riskier side but include Intralinks Holdings, Fortinet, VASCO Data Security, Sourcefire, and Websense.
These are just a few companies in the cloud security market. Take the time to do your investment research. Get to know the market and companies before you invest your money.