While cloud apps are rapidly making their way into companies, the number of resources that channel pros can access to rate their performance is surprisingly small. Netskope, a cloud analytics and policy management software start-up based in Los Altos, Calif., recently addressed this with its inaugural Cloud Report, which rates more than 2,600 cloud apps for business-readiness. The company says it will be releasing these reports on a quarterly basis.
This first Netskope Cloud Report is based on the company's Cloud Confidence Index (CCI), which encompasses seven different categories: identity and access control, file sharing, data classification, encryption, audit and alert, certifications and compliance, and disaster recovery and business continuity. Each category features its own subset of criteria: Encryption, for example, was assessed based on the apps' encryption capabilities for data in transit, data stored in the cloud, as well as who has access to what.
"In other words, is the customer actually holding the keys for the data that is encrypted in the cloud? Does the cloud app provider have access to the customer's data?" asks Ram Keralapura, data scientist at Netskope. Researchers arrived at scores from zero to 100 percent based on observed app characteristics and responses from the app vendors themselves.
Low- vs. High-Ranking Categories
According to Netskope's findings, software development, marketing, and productivity are the lowest-scoring categories; the report found that these apps fell short in app compliance certifications, encryption of data at rest, and enforcement of complex passwords. ERP, document management, and security apps received high scores for their audit logging, data center certification, and device restriction functionality.
The biggest functional differences that produced a gap between high- and low-scoring apps centered on audit logging, granular role-based policies, and separation of customers' data in the cloud. Salesforce, Box, and CrashPlan are the report's highest-scoring apps, having met, according to Keralapura, more than 90 percent of Netskope's CCI criteria.
Scores aside, the report urges IT providers to consider each solution in its own context: What's mission critical to the business? And what risks is that specific organization, within its own context, exposed to? These are among the questions that Keralapura and the Cloud Report will assist channel pros in answering, to help them provide the best solutions for their clients.
"It gives IT personnel the information they need--especially in terms of security and compliance--to help them make a decision [about] what it is they want to do." The Cloud Report, he says, is a current view of the state of cloud apps. "Think of it as a consumer report, but for the cloud."