Feeds

Secure your departmental apps

Underfunded and ignored: can SaaS help?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

Hosted apps Throughout this workshop, we’ve been looking at resiliency and security for hosted applications. The feedback we’ve had back from you is that a track record of security and privacy are at the heart of creating a feeling of trust towards a service provider.

What’s also plain is many of you feel that these issues are not at all well addressed by SaaS providers, coming right at the bottom of the pile of the strengths of the SaaS model over on-premise solutions. The result: there is a feeling of distrust and antipathy towards hosted applications.

So can’t we just continue without SaaS? The difficulty, of course, is that the way IT is deployed and used is changing dramatically. Once upon a time, it was easy to define the boundaries of IT services by the walls of the office - nowadays it’s not nearly so clear-cut.

More people have access to IT services as part of their normal routine, either from devices provided by the company, or personal devices. Employees are expecting to be able to log in from home, in any office or on the road, and at any time. Meanwhile new applications are changing how we do our jobs and interact with colleagues, partners and customers too.

With on-premise applications, the IT department is responsible for catering for these changes. Getting the applications up and running and having the basic functionality in place is the easier part – the headache is keeping it secure and available. And if we look closely at how we approach this, it is clear that all is not well.

It is painful to realise that no matter how good our capabilities are for keeping things running and secure, most of us are far behind where we would ideally like to be - with security in particular being a problem.

While things are not necessarily bad, they are not all that good either. And this is a problem for IT, because improvements are time consuming and expensive unless security, privacy and safe remote access are architected right from the beginning. Even then, it is costly and demanding to get right.

It should come as no surprise that it is the core applications and communications platforms that have the smallest gap to the ideal. These are strategic platforms and typically receive the most investment and planning. This does, however, leave a whole tranche of applications that are neither very reliable nor highly secure.

If we look at where the biggest gaps are, with potentially the biggest risk of exposure, it is local and departmental applications, intranet and portal/collaboration platforms that are suffering. These are the applications that departmental users increasingly rely on to do their jobs effectively – yet they receive the least investment in security, as they are typically tactical applications that sit on the fringes of IT.

Is there any hope to improve things internally for these neglected applications? If history is anything to go by, the answer is likely to be “No”. Where central money is forthcoming, it will be better spent on improving the core applications and communications services, as they generally have a broader impact on the business and users.

Individual departments are unlikely to have the funding or the political clout to justify increasing the spend on improving their own situation. More importantly, especially with regards to security, our research shows that on the whole they do not care - they see it as someone else’s problem. The only way for these applications to improve is if IT as a whole invests to raise the capabilities of the entire application infrastructure, which is very costly to do.

So this brings us back to SaaS and the feeling of trust. You may feel that service providers are not able to provide the security and privacy that IT services need - but is this really true, or a case of double standards? You’ve told us that IT struggles to deliver, yet SaaS providers - at least those that hope to have a long term future - are geared up to do so precisely because it is their primary reason to be in business.

In the long term the problem is only going to get more acute. While SaaS is far from being perfect it is something that IT departments should be embracing, rather than resisting, as part of the arsenal for the next generation of collaboration. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.