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Network World - Each year we ask IT pros what they love, and this year several cloud-related products ranked among the favorites.
Spending on cloud services is so far just a fraction of total IT spending -- roughly 3% -- but the market is growing. According to research firm Gartner, global spending on public cloud computing services will grow 18.5% in 2013 to $131 billion, up from $111 billion last year.
It's not always easy to impress IT pros with new technology, but those who cited cloud products and services based their favoritism on qualities such as cost savings, productivity gains and security benefits.
[ SEE THE RAVES: 25 IT pros name their favorite products ]
Todd Felker, for instance, singled out Skyhigh Networks' Cloud Services Manager, which his company uses to discover what cloud services employees are using and to identify and block any services that pose a security risk.
"It gives me visibility to the growing number of cloud services that my organization is using and helps me create a strategy utilizing the best and most secure services," says Felker, infrastructure and security architect at Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Torrance, Calif. "Our firewall will allow us to block entire categories of services, but I needed more granular information about specific services as well as usage data to help me understand the needs of my customers and to help craft a smart policy."
As more end users are accessing cloud applications through Web browsers, organizations such as Move With Us, a U.K.-based property management company, are looking to protect Web content in the browser and prevent data leakage and malware exposure. For that, Anthony Hall relies on Quarri Technologies' Protect On Q (POQ) software.
"POQ gives me and my team peace of mind that people aren't lifting data from the browser. I like that it's easy to deploy and set up policies. My favorite features are that I can stop copying of data and print screen," says Hall, IT operations director at Move With Us. "We have a lot of people using BYOD, so being able to provide the same access and security on unmanaged devices is huge."
Eric Montague, president of IT services provider Executech, also finds peace of mind through a cloud security product that protects against cyberthreats. He named AppRiver's cloud-based SecureSurf Web security software as his favorite product.
"SecureSurf is an easy-to-deploy hosted solution that doesn't inhibit Web surfing and safeguards users against malicious sites, viruses, inappropriate content or anything that might violate a company's policy," Montague says. "I like how I can install the agent on individual machines to ensure those machines are configured for the most accurate website traffic evaluation, even if a user is working remotely or through a non-corporate network. Plus, I appreciate the machine-by-machine reporting of Web surfing activities."
Adoption of cloud-based storage capacity is driving enterprises to deploy file management systems that can work with both public and on-premises storage.