Cloud Security Remains Top Business Worry


The Cloud continues to vex and challenge most businesses, with security leading their list of concerns

Businesses have mixed feelings when it comes to security, according to a new survey from Symantec, with the majority ranking it as a top concern when moving to the Cloud.

Symantec’s 2011 State of Cloud Survey examined how organisations are adopting cloud computing and dealing with the changes it can impose on their approach to managing IT.

The survey revealed that IT organisations may not be adequately prepared for the move to the cloud, as almost half of the respondents said their IT staffs are not ready at this time.

Security Concerns

Organisations are most conflicted about security – rating it both as a top goal and a top concern with moving to the cloud. Eighty-seven percent of respondents are confident that moving to the cloud will not impact or will actually improve their security. However, achieving security for cloud environments is also a top concern for these organisations, which cited potential risks, including malware, hacker-based theft and loss of confidential data.

“These survey findings reinforce what our customers are telling us. Security is one of their top concerns when it comes moving to the cloud,” said Francis deSouza, group president of enterprise products and services for Symantec. “To be confident in the cloud, IT organisations must take measures to ensure they have the same visibility and control of their information and applications whether they are in the cloud or residing on their own infrastructure.”

Despite a great deal of consideration, many organisations claimed that they are not ready to adopt the cloud. The minority of respondents (between 15 and 18 percent) rated their staffs as extremely prepared for the transition to cloud. Almost half of the respondents said their IT staffs are not ready at this time.

Part of the reason for this readiness shortfall is lack of experience, the survey indicated, as just 25 percent of IT teams have any cloud experience. As a result, most organisations are turning to outside resources for help. In fact, when deploying hybrid infrastructure or platform-as-a-service, about three in four respondents said they are turning to value-added resellers (VARs), independent consultants, vendor professional services organisations or systems integrators.

Realising The Benefits

The survey discovered that organisations having implemented cloud technologies are not seeing the results or benefits they had anticipated. Eighty-eight percent expected the cloud to improve their IT agility, but only 47 percent said that it actually has.

Results also fell short in the areas of disaster recovery, efficiency, lower operational expenses and improved security.

Less than 20 percent reported having completed implementing each of the cloud focus areas covered by the research. About one in four organisations are currently in an implementation phase. About two-thirds are still in early discussions, trials or not considering a move to the cloud at all.

Just under three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) said they have adopted or are adopting some sort of cloud service, with security services leading the way. The top cloud services that companies are adopting include email services (such as management or security), security management, and Web and IM security.

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