Security has for years been in the cloud thanks to the continued success of alarm monitoring firms. But if you think “cloud networks” and “cloud services” are just buzzwords or another set of technologies destined for extinction, think again: The cloud is here to stay. In the future, companies will subscribe to one or more cloud products — if they have not already. A friend of mine asked if we would prevent unauthorized cloud products, which he called “shadow clouds,” from starting to appear on our networks. His question is not as strange as it might sound. Every new, big technology leap has also brought in a deluge of unmanaged instances — think instant messaging or social network sites. Shadow clouds would, in fact, be a more significant threat to your company’s confidential information than IM or social networking blogs. All computer services and presences need to be managed to ensure compliant security, content, and messaging, but with a shadow cloud, a user is at greater risk because their company’s confidential data is more likely to be hosted on the cloud provider’s systems. Ridiculous or unusual though it may sound, IT security should start preparing now for the emergence of shadow clouds.

Security Magazine’s Web site boasts plenty of archived article on cloud computing. Go to