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Cloud Summit: Trend Micro Warns About Security Hazards

The company's Smart Protection Network represents an attempt to counter the vast computational capacity of cybercriminals and their botnets.

Cloud computing may be a tough sell among enterprise IT managers, but at least one group has bought into the hype without reservation: cybercriminals.

What's a botnet after all but pay-as-you-go, on-demand computing infrastructure?

At the Cloud Summit Executive conference on Tuesday, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., John Maddison, VP of core technology solutions at Trend Micro, described his company's move to cloud computing as a necessity.

The bad guys got cloud computing long ago and are using it against organizations, said Maddison.

Scanning the audience, Maddison said to the crowd of several hundred, "There are probably 10 of you here today who are part of a botnet who don't even realize it," he said.

Maddison made no apologies about fear-based marketing. "Every day is Halloween for antivirus companies, because we like to scare everyone," he said.

But that's not just self-serving posturing; there really are threats out there, they're multiplying, and they're expensive. The average data leak costs an organization $500,000, he said, adding that incidents at computers or network endpoints cost $350,000 on average.

Trend Micro, he said, processes about 50,000 malware patterns per day now. Within a few years, he expects that his company will process 50,000 patterns an hour. That would be about 25 MB of security data per day, if you had to download it.

The Trend Micro Smart Protection Network represents an attempt to counter the vast computational capacity of cybercriminals and their botnets. It aims to handle malware defense in the cloud rather than at network endpoints.

"We're betting the whole company on cloud computing," Maddison said. "It's the only way to deal with the new threat environment."

To further understand how companies large and small are approaching cloud computing, InformationWeek has published an independent report on the subject. Download the report here (registration required).

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