U.S.-based Incapsula adds to its cloud Web security solutions

Cloud services are typically thought of applications or infrastructure.

But a number of startups are also offering network services in the cloud.

The latest is California-based Incapsula, which just announced a load balancing solution.

Incapsula has for several years been selling DDoS protection and Web site acceleration for organizations of all sizes., Marc Gaffan, co-founder and vice-president of marketing and business development, said in an interview. These include “several dozen” in Canada, which he couldn’t name.

The load balancing service, which routes customer Web traffic through Incapsula’s cloud works in two ways: either replacing an on-premise load balancer, or by providing global load balancing for organizations with data centres in several countries. In this case customers can control which data centre the traffic goes to.

The new service can also be used for disaster recovery, routing traffic to an alternate data centre.

Why load balancing in the cloud? It’s more elastic than an on-premise appliance, Gaffan said. When the device can’t handle a bigger workload IT has to buy a new one. In the cloud the organization simply buys more capacity.

Similarly, he argued, a cloud-based service is better able to handle spikes in demand. Global load balancing is simpler in the cloud, he added.

Many Canadian organizations might be reluctant to use the service because traffic flows out of the country. In fact Gaffan admits that Canadian executives he talks to worry the U.S. Patriot Act could give law enforcement agencies there the ability to get at their data. “That is potentially something that is slowing down cloud adoption in Canada, mainly because the big service providers that are offering cloud in Canada — like Amazon — don’t have servers there.”

But he shrugs off such concerns. First, Incapsula doesn’t store customer data, he said. Second, some Canadian traffic probably crosses the U.S. “And fortunately, or unfortunately, we’ve seen the U.S. government does not only put the hands on data in the U.S., they have ways of putting their hands on data outside the U.S. as well,” he said, referring to the revelations of whistleblower Edward Snowden.

So it depends “how paranoid you are.”

If an organization doesn’t have sensitive data it shouldn’t be a problem, he said.

Incapsula is in the process of being bought by Imperva Inc., which sells a number of security solutions including the SecureSphere line for Web application, database and file security.

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