Despite Security Risks, More Organizations Embrace the Cloud

A new report from McAfee finds that the security risks that come with using the public cloud, including the potential for data theft, do not seem to be deterring many organizations, which are embracing the convenience and cost advantages driving cloud uptake.

Many organizations rely on cloud computing in one way or another. Not all clouds are created equal from a security standpoint, but as a new report from the digital security firm McAfee finds, that doesn’t appear to be slowing cloud computing’s massive growth.

The company’s latest report, Navigating a Cloudy Sky: Practical Guidance and the State of Cloud Security [PDF], highlights the increased use of public cloud services and their related security problems, including the risk of information theft. The report, based on responses from 1,400 IT decision-makers and interviews with C-level executives, notes that 87 percent of organizations store sensitive data in the public cloud, and 69 percent are willing to put their trust in outside cloud services.

But risks linger. A quarter of respondents said they’ve experienced some form of data theft through the cloud, whether through their infrastructure or through software-as-a-service applications, and a fifth said they’ve experienced an attack on their public cloud infrastructure.

Organizations appear to be considering those risks and proceeding with the technology anyway: Roughly 90 percent of respondents said the benefits of using cloud computing—particularly the public form rather than the organization-controlled private form—outweigh the risks. Many organizations rely on a combination of public and private services, and 60 percent use more than 20 public cloud services.

Meanwhile, the private cloud has seen a significant decline in fortunes in recent years. In 2015, slightly more than half of respondents said they were using the private cloud, compared to 30 percent public and 19 percent a hybrid approach. In 2017, just 23 percent of respondents said they use the private cloud exclusively, with 59 percent choosing a hybrid approach and 19 percent using only the public cloud.

“As public cloud services become ubiquitous, IT professionals are coming to accept their benefits as commonplace,” the report states. Lower costs, higher visibility of data, and proven technology are considered more likely benefits of the public cloud compared to a private cloud, the report finds.

In a news release, Rajiv Gupta, senior vice president of McAfee’s cloud security business unit, said the desire to embrace the public cloud despite clear security challenges points to the importance of cloud security tools.

“Despite the clear prevalence of security incidents occurring in the cloud, enterprise cloud adoption is pressing on,” Gupta said. “By implementing security measures that allow organizations to regain visibility and control of their data in the cloud, businesses can leverage the cloud to accelerate their business and improve the security of their data.”

(Rick_Jo/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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