Cloud computing can be an attractive option for many businesses - especially small and midsize businesses looking for ways of increasing or maintaining security while reducing IT costs - but they come with additional security liabilities, said a new report from the European Network and Information Security Agency.

"[T]he cloud's economies of scale and flexibility are both a friend and a foe from a security point of view," said the report. "The massive concentrations of resources and data present a more attractive target to attackers, but cloud-based defenses can be more robust, scalable and cost-effective."

Specifically, cloud computing allows for "rapid" and "smart" scaling of resources, audit and evidence-gathering advantages, and more timely and efficient updates and defaults, all of which can improve enterprise security. Users also benefit from resource concentration and flexible scaling, enabling them to get more security for their money.

Additionally, a survey of small and midsize businesses that accompanied the study found that reducing IT costs due to lower capital expenditure was the most common reason for possible cloud computing deployment, followed by flexibility and scalability of IT resources.

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