Cloud computing is revolutionizing the virtual workplace, making it easier than ever before to access and share work products from any location; but that convenience comes with a certain amount of risk. Cloud security is a growing concern for businesses. While small business owners, freelancers and other home workers may be less attractive targets for hackers; they also have fewer resources for cloud security measures. As more people join the virtual workplace, increased risk and the need for more effective and more accessible security measures are expected to computing

News reports of hacked websites, databases and social media have become a weekly occurrence. While identity thieves seem to be at the root of most hacking reports, corporate spies, gamers looking for a thrill, and, according to charges levied by the U.S. State Department, even the Chinese military have been caught raiding data that isn’t theirs.

“It’s scary,” Eric Chiu, co-founder and president of California security firm HyTrust, told the San Jose Mercury News in a recent article, If a hacker gets access to sensitive business or personal information, “they’ve got the keys to your kingdom. They can make copies of everything you have and they can potentially destroy your data center.”

While still a developing technology, there is real concern that, unless effective and cost-efficient security measures can be developed and implemented quickly, cloud computing could become the Wild West of the digital age, a lawless place where you do business at your own peril! Cloud computing’s major benefit — the convenience of sharing and accessing data from multiple locations — could pale in the face of increased data and intellectual property theft. If risk overbalances benefit, cloud computing could die a quick and ugly death.

“That burden of responsibility typically falls upon the customer and that often can be a huge challenge for a lot of folks,” J. D. Sherry of security firm Trend Micro said.

In the end, if relatively easy to implement and cost-efficient methods of cloud security cannot make it safe for workers in the virtual workplace, the cloud may evaporate like, well, a cloud!