In cloud we trust?

by Mark Rowe

Data security and trust in cloud-based services are a rapidly growing concern for IT decision makers within large businesses. That is according to a new global study from the telecoms firm BT.

While 70 per cent of those surveyed are adopting cloud storage and web applications within their business, their confidence around cloud security is at an all-time low, it is claimed. Yet despite this, half of those surveyed say they have adopted mass market ‘consumer’ cloud services, rather than those designed specifically for the enterprise.

The study explores the attitudes to, and use of, cloud-based services of IT decision makers from enterprises in 11 countries and regions. It finds that three quarters of IT decision makers (76 per cent) say security is their main concern about using cloud-based services. Half of respondents (49 per cent) admit that they are ‘very or extremely anxious’ about the security implications of these services. This is a rise of 10 per cent from previous research in 2012.

On opting for consumer solutions over cloud offerings tailored to the enterprise, near half, 48 per cent of respondents have the impression that enterprise cloud applications and services are too expensive and 44 per cent hold the belief that mass market public cloud applications and services are as effective as using those designed specifically for enterprise users. For more than half (54 per cent) of IT decision makers, trusting a third party is also a concern. 41 per cent of respondents have the impression that all cloud services are inherently insecure and 26 per cent of those surveyed said that they had experienced a data breach incident where their cloud service provider was partly at fault.

Mark Hughes, pictured, president of BT Security, said: “The adoption of cloud services has increased rapidly across the globe. Organisations are looking to reap the numerous benefits – such as scalability, fast deployment and ubiquitous network access – these services can offer. It is an interesting paradox that the survey has exposed – on the one hand decision makers are concerned about the security implications of using public cloud services but on the other, their buying decisions seem to be driven by short term cost perceptions. We invite these decision makers to also weigh up the reputational cost and impact on their brand of a cloud security breach. Enterprise cloud applications and services are designed to help businesses realise the possibilities in the cloud while substantially decreasing risk. For example, our own BT Cloud Compute portfolio can provide security around cloud storage, while our BT Assure portfolio brings powerful cloud based security and risk management to the network. This can end up providing very substantial savings.

“I would suggest organisations undertake a thorough risk analysis before opting for mass market cloud services. Every organisation has a different appetite for risk and these need to be factored into the buying decision equation. Our security specialists can help them make the right assessment for the optimal solution to limit their risks, and deliver a great performance, whatever their needs may be.”


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