Cloud security improving, but still has a way to go

Cloud security improving, but still has a way to go

There can be little doubt that cloud computing has had a dramatic impact on the way many enterprises do business, bringing a whole host of benefits to an organisation's infrastructure.

Yet many IT managers have expressed concerns over the security of data stored on the cloud, which have been further heightened by several high-profile scandals.

However, those concerns appear to be easing, with a number of experts now appearing comfortable in using such technology, especially public cloud services, with a noticeable increase in the encryption of information.

A study of over 4,000 organisations by the Ponemon Institute and Thales e-Security, found that when it comes to software-as-a-service (SaaS) users, encryption has increased from 32 per cent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2013.

In terms of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) users, many claimed a rise from 17 to 26 per cent during that same period.

The report also found that more than half of all respondents make use of the cloud in processing and storing sensitive data.

Only 11 per cent claimed that their organisation did not have any plans in place to follow suit, down from the 19 per cent recorded a year ago.

That's not to say that concerns over security have disappeared completely, however, as 34 per cent of companies that had stored their data on a cloud system stated that it has had a negative impact on their operations.

However, there are signs that the cloud is still moving in the right direction, as the number of respondents that feel confident about knowing the security practices of their providers has risen from 29 per cent to 35 per cent in the space of two years.

According to Joe McKendrick, one of the key areas in which organisations need to focus is the issue of responsibility.

He claims: "It always comes down to this: client companies should always take responsibility for their own data security — and not rely on cloud providers.

"Cloud vendors can only offer tools and platforms, nothing more. It’s up to the data owners to do due diligence on selecting vendors and hold their vendors’ feet to the fire when it comes to keeping data secure."