Calling it the “third platform,” IDC says the cloud is an emerging platform for business growth and innovation. And, according to the IBM Institute for Business Value, cloud computing is widely recognized as a technology game changer, but its potential for driving business innovation remains largely untapped. It seems that where the cloud is concerned, the best is yet to come.

To some extent, the promise of the cloud hinges on our industry’s ability to provide a secure environment for the data and applications we put in the cloud. It’s hard to pursue innovation if you think you’re putting your most important data assets at risk. Fortunately, history suggests that once we overcome the security concerns, growth of the “third platform” will accelerate, and innovation will be unleashed.

eCommerce stagnated until the advent of Web Assurance Services

For example, consider the eCommerce economy. It was flat from 1990 through 1995. A primary reason was that consumers were concerned with the security of eCommerce sites and hesitant to enter their credit cards. Web assurance services such as VeriSign successfully addressed these concerns beginning in 1996 and that led to dramatic growth. After the 1996 introduction of the VeriSign Trusted checkmark (now known as Norton Secured) for secure websites, the e-commerce market saw hockey stick growth and went from $700 million in 1996, to $11 billion in 1998, $20 billion in 1999, and over $250 billion in 2012.

Credit score causes credit economy to explode

As another example, consider the credit economy. Prior to the introduction of the standardized credit score in 1981, the credit economy experienced slow and gradual growth. A primary concern was the lack of an objective third-party that could provide a full picture of the risk to the lender. The introduction of the credit score catapulted the credit economy, which grew from $250 billion in the early 1980s to $2.5 trillion today.


Skyhigh addresses the security challenges of the cloud in two fundamental ways that are analogous to Verisign’s trust checkmark and the ubiquitous credit score.

Skyhigh CloudTrust Program – A VeriSign for Cloud Service Providers

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For providers of cloud services, the Skyhigh CloudTrust™ Program provides an objective assessment of the cloud service’s security capabilities based on over 50 attributes. The program was developed in conjunction with the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) as an industry-wide objective risk assessment of cloud services. Services that are enterprise-ready receive the Skyhigh Enterprise-Ready Seal similar to VeriSign’s checkmark for websites. As a result, enterprises no longer have to spend upwards of $20,000 and 3 months on a point-in-time security assessment of each cloud service, which will be quickly outdated. Instead, enterprises can use continuously updated and comprehensive security trust ratings. Within minutes, enterprises can view the risk ratings of all of their cloud services, promote employee use of “enterprise-ready” services, and discourage or block high risk cloud services—thus reducing risk.

Skyhigh CloudRisk Score – A Credit Score Equivalent for the Enterprise

For enterprises, the Skyhigh CloudRisk™ Dashboard provides an objective assessment of an organization’s risk from the use of cloud services within their environment. Similar to the credit score that provided lenders with an objective, quantifiable assessment of credit risk, the CloudRisk Score provides enterprises with an objective, quantifiable assessment of cloud risk. In addition to the CloudRisk Score, the Dashboard also enables executives to compare their score to that of their peers, view risk trends over time, and receive and act on specific recommendations to reduce risk – all from one pane of glass.

With the combination of the Skyhigh CloudTrust Program and the Skyhigh CloudRisk Dashboard, our goal is to address cloud security from both perspectives – the providers and consumers of cloud services respectively – thus freeing the cloud economy to achieve its full potential.