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BY DAVID CANELLOS

Gartner recently published a report that highlights a trend that we have been experiencing over the past few years, namely, the growing number of enterprises wrestling with cloud data security, cloud compliance, and cloud data residency issues associated with storing and processing sensitive information in SaaS cloud applications. Gartner estimates that by 2016, 25% of enterprises will secure access to cloud-based services using what they term a Cloud Access Security Broker platform and that these platforms will reduce the cost of securing access by 30%. Based on what we have seen from our clients, I think the cost savings are a low estimate.

The report also highlights an important consideration that our enterprise clients have told us is critical to their IT departments. Gartner recommends that companies strongly consider a "unified" Cloud Access Security Broker solution that is capable of providing multiple security policy enforcement capabilities from a single platform in order to avoid separate siloed solutions. It is clear that this capability alone could be the driver for significant savings in the enterprise.

At PerspecSys, providing this sort of "platform" is a core part of the value our solution provides. The PerspecSys Cloud Data Protection Gateway delivers the ability to select your data protection policies, such as FIPS 140-2 encryption or tokenization (for needs such as Data Residency), in a single platform that meets needs across multiple cloud environments. For encryption, the capability to preserve SaaS functionality, such as Search, even when using strong NIST approved FIPS 140-2 algorithms is important not only for government organizations, but also enterprise's looking for the strongest forms of encryption. And for tokenization, we have validated our solution using outside independent IT Assessors and Auditors to validate compliance with the tokenization guidelines from the PCI Security Standards Council. Since enterprises need to reflect any changes in data protection policies across data in all of their cloud applications, a centralized cloud data management platform allows practitioners to make the change once and have that change propagate across all of their cloud systems (versus having to make independent changes and monitor enforcement across multiple clouds).

And here is an additional benefit to consider. A horizontal cloud data protection platform like PerspecSys is vendor-agnostic and supports multiple clouds. PerspecSys gives the enterprise the ability to reduce switching costs from one cloud app to another should company business requirements change. Vendor lock-in is often cited as a top concern by enterprises in moving to the cloud, and a centralized platform that supports cloud data protection across multiple SaaS clouds is an important capability to help address this issue.

To ensure they are getting the capabilities they need today and into the future, enterprises need to make sure they consider these important capabilities and certifications when they adopt Cloud Access Security Broker services.

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