Cloud Security: Attitudes Of The Experts

Picking The Brains Of The Experts

Lieberman Software has issued the results of a survey of IT professionals regarding their views of cloud services and security. The survey was conducted at the 2012 Cloud Security Alliance Congress in November. Roughly 70 percent of survey participants were from companies with more than 1,000 employees, and 50 percent had more than 5,000 employees. While most were willing to give the cloud credit for cost and ease-of-use, concerns about security abound.

Personal Trust

More than half of the IT experts participating in the survey say they don't trust the cloud for any of their personal data, including such things that might be considered noncritical such as contact lists, music, photos and Webmail. On-premises solutions were preferred by 51 percent of the respondents. Not only were they careful to keep sensitive information like Social Security numbers out of the cloud, they also wanted to make sure you don't find out about their personal affinity for music by Abba, which they would much rather keep on the down low.

A Matter Of Professional Trust

It has long been acknowledged that companies frequently draw a line between categories of data they are willing to store in the cloud and categories of data they do not want to move off premise. The survey says that 86 percent of IT experts totally buy into that logic. They advise that data that can be easily exploited, as well as the crown jewels of the organization, be maintained locally whenever possible.

Where Did It Go?

Issues of security and reliability renewed themselves when the respondents were asked about the stability of data stored in the cloud. According to the report, 88 percent of the respondents believe that there is a chance that cloud-based data could be lost, corrupted or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Although data located in the cloud is typically stored in multiple locations, these IT experts were reluctant to place their trust in the external infrastructure.

A Split Decision

While the margin is fairly slender, a substantial number of participants also believe that cloud service providers can do a better job of delivering security than can be accomplished by their own organizations. When asked whether their move to the cloud has increased their organization's IT security, 46 percent answered in the affirmative. Confidence in the security of the cloud is more frequently found among small to medium-sized businesses, many of which have very limited in-house IT expertise.

Oooh, That's Easy!

The respondents were not universally bearish on the cloud. When it comes to the ease-of-use, they were far more excepting of the cloud as a viable strategy. Despite their concerns about the security of the data, the respondents were willing to give the cloud due credit for making their lives easier. More than nine out of 10 respondents, 91 percent, agreed that the move to cloud services has been more convenient for their organization's in-house IT team.

Seeing Green

Cloud proponents often point to the bottom line as the primary driver towards cloud services. The ability to offload many responsibilities, as well as to scale IT resources either upward or downward based on need, has always been a strong part of the value proposition. While the margin of acceptance among IT professionals was not a particularly wide one, the majority were in agreement. Approximately 56 percent of the respondents expressed the opinion that moving to cloud services has helped to save money for their respective companies.

You Can't Argue With Success

Success is something that can be measured in a lot of different ways, based on the interpretations of the individuals. The cloud advocates will be happy to learn that most of the respondents viewed the cloud migrations as an overall success. According to the survey, 86 percent described their cloud initiatives as successful.