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Aruba, April 3, 2013 - Stuart McClure has simple advice for companies that want to put their data in the cloud: Don't do it. When it comes to security, the former chief technology officer of McAfee said choosing a safe service can be like "picking a dog with the least fleas."

Yet when McClure needed help running his security startup, Cylance Inc., he didn't heed his own advice. He said he reluctantly hired a company that handles administrative work such as managing employee 401(k)s over the Internet, even though he described the cloud provider's initial security plan as an "abysmal mess."

"It's just a painful process," McClure said. "The challenge is you have to get comfortable accepting a certain amount of risk around the data -- and if you can't do that, you really shouldn't get into the cloud."

The economics of cloud computing have become so irresistible that even die-hard opponents, who fear confidential information will be stolen or service outages will hurt their business, are making the shift to save money on hiring staff and buying computer servers.

Spending on cloud computing is forecast to grow 18.5 percent to $130.7 billion worldwide this year, according to Gartner Inc. As consumers pour data into the websites of Google Inc. and Inc., companies including Inc., Savvis Inc., Terremark Worldwide Inc. and Rackspace Hosting Inc. have grown up alongside them catering to businesses.

Still, the question about cloud computing remains: Is it secure?

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