Although much has been made about security risks stemming from the cloud in the past, recent technologies and security tools have eased many concerns. Yet some may still be hesitant to drop all on-premises infrastructure and move everything to the cloud.

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What Are the Real Security Risks of the Cloud?


The use of cloud services provides many advantages for organizations, from reduced cost and complexity to improved customer services and collaboration capabilities that boost productivity. However, many organizations still believe that the security risks of using cloud services is the greatest inhibitor to wider adoption.

Are the Security Risks Real?

According to the Cloud Industry Forum, while 70 percent of organizations in the U.K. said they have concerns regarding data security and 61 percent about data privacy, 99 percent have never experienced a security breach when using a cloud service.

Verizon found that 40 percent of its survey respondents believed the use of cloud resources is either much more or at least a bit more secure than on-premises solutions. A further 40 percent believe the cloud is about the same as on-premises infrastructure in terms of security.

CIO reported that almost all cloud services are highly resistant to attack, and all available evidence points to the fact that commercial cloud service providers have shown better performance in terms of security than end user organizations have. While there is growing recognition that clouds are generally secure, customers must make greater efforts in terms of security and take responsibility for appropriate use of cloud services. Gartner cautioned that 95 percent of security issues and failures of cloud services will be the fault of the customer, rather than the service provider, in 2020.

Cloud Customers Should Take More Responsibility for Security

Waning fears over cloud security are leading to increased focus on achieving visibility, managing access and protecting data on the part of security executives.

One area that holds much promise is the use of cloud access security broker solutions, which provide capabilities that include cloud discovery user analytics, identity and access management and threat prevention. Other technologies that will help organizations achieve more robust security include the implementation of security information and event management (SIEM) systems and enterprise mobility management offerings.

More must be done to ensure that sensitive data is protected, which is one of the greatest fears cited by security executives. According to the Ponemon Institute, 56 percent of organizations transfer sensitive or confidential information to the cloud regardless of whether it is encrypted. However, 71 percent claimed that support for cloud deployments is one of the most important features of encryption technologies.

Organizations that do not leverage these anonymizing techniques face significant security risks. Lack of security tools hamper enterprises’ ability to protect information and will leave them in danger of being unable to meet their compliance objectives in terms of data protection.

Cloud Security Remains Important

Secure clouds are growing in importance as regulations are set to get tougher, including the new EU general data protection regulation, which will impact all organizations that collect information on EU citizens no matter where in the world the organization is based or where the data is stored.

Cloud computing adoption is rising rapidly, and that growth looks set to continue despite continued concerns regarding the security risks involved. But it is not sufficient to assume that all responsibility for security is held by the cloud service provider. Organizations that wish to benefit from such services should ensure they have processes and controls that allow them to consume such services in the most secure manner possible.

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