A FICO credit score, but for your cloud

Skyhigh Networks wants to tell users if their cloud is secure or not

In the early-1980s Fair, Isaac and Co. created a universal metric named the FICO Credit Score that allowed lending agencies to judge the credit-worthiness of potential debtors. Rajiv Gupta, founder of cloud security startup Skyhigh Networks, says the cloud needs the same thing. And his company's Cloud Security Dashbaord aims to be just that.

Skyhigh's Dashboard, released today, provides users with a real-time score - based on a scale of one to ten - regarding the security of their business's cloud usage. The system automatically monitors which cloud-based services businesses are using and creates a metric either warning users of risky services being used, or assuring them that there are no abnormal activities being done on the network.

The FICO Credit rating system greased the gears of the credit lending industry, turning it from a niche feature for only certain individuals into a tool for the masses. Gupta is hoping his security rating tool can do the same for the cloud.

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Skyhigh's dashboard works by collecting activity information on a company's network. Skyhigh's powerful analytics tools, which are hosted in the cloud and accessed as a SaaS, track what cloud-based services are used within a business. Skyhigh compares what services are used to its database of cloud services it has analyzed the security of. Based on which services are being used, Skyhight provides customers with insight into how risky their current cloud usage is.

How does Skyhigh know what a risky cloud service is? The company has spent months developing an inventory of hundreds of cloud-based services that are used in enterprise settings. It has assessed each one for key security metrics. For example: Does the service encrypt data in transit and in rest; does it have logical separation of customer data in a multi-tenant environment; does it have two factor authentication? There are dozens of metrics Skyhigh uses to assess the riskiness of a service.

The dashboard aggregates that information into a simple metric that end users can glance at to get a view into what cloud-based services are being used within their business and if those services should be a concern. It's updated in real time. So, if a user suddently logs on to a service Skyhigh has flagged as risky, it will alert a central IT administrator.

Gupta says this is a tool that will make executives more comfortable about using  cloud-based services because they will have insight into what exactly is being used and how much of a threat that is to the company. Perhaps that will help grease the wheels of the cloud taking off in the enterprise.

Skyhigh's platform is available today for between $2 and $40 per user per month depending on the features included and size of the company. 

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and NetworkWorld.com. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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