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Research suggests a gap between perception and reality on cloud security persists

Research suggests a gap between perception and reality on cloud security persists

Research published this week suggests there continues to be a strong discrepancy between perception of data security in the cloud and what is actually experienced by cloud users. The Cloud Industry Forum said the results suggest industry needs to work harder to address fear, uncertainty and doubt and the growing gulf between perception and reality.

The Cloud Industry Forum surveyed 250 senior IT and business decision-makers on what they view as inhibitors or key challenges to cloud adoption. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 61 per cent of respondents identified security as a leading issue.

This was followed by data privacy (54 per cent) and data sovereignty (28 per cent).

According to the results applications considered to be the highest risk by organisations are data backup and disaster recovery solutions (36 per cent), data storage (30 per cent) and payroll applications (33 per cent).

“Despite the significant growth in adoption and penetration of Cloud services, it’s clear from the research that the market remains somewhat confused and uncertain as to the legal, regulatory and security environment surrounding the market,” said Alex Hilton, chief executive officer of the Cloud Industry Forum.

“This is arguably driven by the continued FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) being peddled in the media following recent developments in European Data Protection and the revelations about PRISM,” he said.

Hilton said hybrid cloud deployments may help some of these concerned organisations restore confidence in the cloud and manage their data concerns, allowing them to keep the most critical data on premise.

It would seem the Snowden allegations and the PRISM scandal continues to impact consumer confidence in cloud. Just under half (44 per cent) of respondents have “actively changed the way they use cloud” following the PRISM revelations, including almost one in ten who have changed their communication service provider entirely.

But all of the FUD and concern about security doesn’t necessarily align with experience. Just 2 per cent of organisations surveyed claimed they had actually experienced a cloud service-related security breach.

Richard Pharro, chief executive officer of APM Group said the issue is as much about perceptions as actual risk, presenting something of a challenge for the industry.

“Although more businesses than ever are open to cloud to some extent, turning the perception that cloud is insecure will take time. There are, however, a number of things that the industry can do to hurry the process along – certification being one of them. It’s simply not enough to say ‘trust that we will look after your data’; the industry must prove its worth.”