October 21, 2010 – As interest and involvement in cloud computing grows, IBM is establishing new planning and infrastructure services to ease lingering security concerns that companies have with virtual data deployment.

IBM announced a two-pronged approach toward better overall cloud security for its customers, who have been found in studies to rate data safety issues as their primary problem with cloud adoption.

First, IBM creates a planning and assessment strategy that includes a roadmap for cloud activity and an outline to CIOs for security of that data. Secondly, customers can manage real-time security events and review logs on their information, along with IBM reviews of vulnerable aspects of a company network.    

The company is also further extending its research and development of cloud security features like “infrastructure hardening,” mechanism for a stronger isolation between different workloads.

Basis for the initiatives stem from an internal study of hundreds of companies across enterprises and revenue size on IT risk released last month. IBM findings included 77 percent of respondents stating that adoption of cloud computing makes privacy protection more difficult, and 50 percent indicating they are concerned about data breach or loss in the cloud. IBM security solutions general manager Steve Robinson said in a news release that the individually tailored cloud security measures is the best approach for both data safety and company peace of mind.

It’s a move that could be tricky to pull off, but one that IBM certainly has the resources and capabilities to handle, says Phil Hochmuth, security projects program manager with independent analyst firm IDC, after a review of IBM’s initiatives.

Adding layers of encryption and control are paramount to assuring customers that their data is safe in the cloud, and the moves by IBM make “a good first step,” Hochmuth says. Cloud security with any company needs to also include measures where customers can be certain that their information can’t be tapped into by others or is truly removed if the company switches providers, the analyst says.

“IBM, with all of their assets and security, if they can focus that really effective technology to the cloud and still make it something that’s easily deployed and adaptable, then you can get enterprises to put their data out there,” Hochmuth says.

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