Cloud Security Alliance Reaches Out to Small Businesses

Among its first priorities, the CSA SMB Working Group will be tasked with creating an SMB version of the CSA Guidance.

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within cloud computing, announced a new membership level and working group designed to benefit the growing needs of cloud computing among small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

Launched April 24, the CSA SMB Membership and SMB Working Group will focus on providing tailored guidance to SMBs and help cloud providers understand the requirements of the market. Among its first priorities, the CSA SMB Working Group will be tasked with creating an SMB version of the CSA Guidance, along with a number of materials related to cloud security that can be readily consumed by SMBs.

"Small businesses are the workhorses of a strong economy, yet they continue to be faced with a myriad of challenges such as access to funding, skilled labor and new affordable technologies," Daniele Catteddu, CSA managing director, said in a statement. "By educating and helping these businesses understand and apply best practices to cloud computing, we hope to give them the cost-effective competitive edge to create new opportunities and markets for their businesses."

The SMB Working Group also plans to organize a series of online workshops to discuss and gather research on small business cloud requirements and along with perceptions of current cloud alliance guidance. Based on its research, the group plans to issues the first CSA SMB Cloud Guidance document by year’s end.

The CSA recently partnered with communication technology specialist Fujitsu Laboratories of America to launch the Big Data Working Group (BDWG), programmed to crystallize best practices for security and privacy in big data, help industry and government on the adoption of best practices, establish liaisons with other organizations to coordinate the development of big data security and privacy standards, and accelerate the adoption of novel research aimed to address security and privacy issues.

The 2012 cloud services market grew to $45 billion as at least 6 million SMBs entered the cloud market for the first time last year, and the global market will continue to grow at 28 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2015 to a forecast of $95 billion, according to hosting and cloud services enablement specialist Parallels’ SMB Cloud Insights report, released in February.

Parallels calculated the SMB market at the end of 2011 to be $15.1 billion across all categories of cloud services. Hosted infrastructure contributes $5.9 billion to this market, Web presence services contributes $2.7 billion, hosted communication and collaboration (including premium business email and hosted PBX) adds $2.2 billion, and business applications, also known as software as a service (SaaS) account for the remaining $4.3 billion.