Security Still Major Concern for Cloud Adopters

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Over 50% of organisations that host some or all of their data offsite identified security as their main concern, according to research conducted by Pulsant. This is in stark contrast to other issues such as the importance of the reputation of the data centre provider (15%) and location of the data centre itself (14%) that were only identified by a small percentage of organisations as being a main consideration.

The research highlighted that 83% of organisations still keep their business critical data on-premise. However, the research also identified that there is a move in the industry towards more hybrid approaches, with the report also revealing that two thirds of organisations are making use of hybrid hosting models, while only 11% of respondents store all business data offsite. The research recognised that although 24% of organisations store all business data on-premise, there is increasing confidence in externally hosted solutions which meet specific certified criteria to host business critical data to acceptable service levels.

The research was conducted in September 2014 and surveyed 251 IT decision makers from organisations active across a diverse range of industries.

“The maturity of hybrid hosting models which operate to certified data management best practices is now enabling business to securely migrate data off-premise. Suppliers are providing and mitigating data transition risks through migration expertise and technologies, allowing businesses to maintain control of their data and leveraging external supplier benefits,” says Matt Lovell, CTO, Pulsant.

“Our research identifies that organisations continue to have data management and security concerns. However, partnership models between data owners and suppliers are evolving rapidly to address these. A key part of leveraging the benefits of cloud services must now be focused on these partnership models, which enable suppliers to generate a better sense of awareness of data security issues. It’s ultimately about customer choice and having the flexibility needed while still meeting certain criteria, such as security considerations. Having that awareness of security and other issues, such as compliance, legislation or business process better positions the customer to take advantage of different offerings, especially when working with trusted hosting suppliers.”

The research revealed that most organisations do have the strategies in place to address security concerns, especially regarding emerging trends such as BYOD and shadow IT. More than half of organisations (53%) are making use of BYOD, either formally or informally, and of that number, 87% have policies in place to manage data security, with 8% in the process of developing these plans, and only 5% not having any policy at all.

Shadow IT and the use of personal cloud storage, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, may not be as widely accepted as BYOD, but 49% of organisations allow the practice and have the means in place to manage its use. Over a third of organisations (35%), however, do not allow it, while 12% allow its use but have no policies in place to handle security issues.

“The market is maturing in terms of business security processes within the cloud. However, there is still work to be done to further strengthen the trust and confidence of customers in terms of how these processes can be integrated into existing business operations. Certified processes and supplier transparency are clearly important, but risk must be mitigated from the moment data migration into cloud begins and must evolve alongside the business and security threats. The true value for customers will come from their preparation and willingness to work in partnership, as well as the supplier’s information security support, processes and ongoing business knowledge in developing customer trust,” concludes Lovell.