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Intel Security flags role channel has to play to calm cloud fears

UK customers are still having their doubts when it comes to the cloud and the channel has a crucial role to play if those concerns are going to be overcome

Ever since the cloud started to become a serious option for customers, and not just a hyped possibility, there have been security concerns about hosted data.

Over the past three or four years the cloud industry has worked hard to stress the point that it takes security very seriously and it is often better protected than data in on-premise servers.

But there continues to be a gut feeling among some users that still keeps them worrying about data integrity and that should be a chance for a reseller to step into the breach and ease their passage to the hosted world.

The potential role that the channel should play has been highlighted by Intel Security, which has just released its second annual cloud security report.

The vendor found that the UK is one of the most risk-averse when it comes to cloud adoption. Some of that is caused by a skills shortage making it harder for customers to move to a hosted environment, but there are also real concerns about moving sensitive data into the cloud.

“Security concerns and the skills shortage seem to be holding UK organisations back when it comes to cloud adoption. Yet while our research clearly demonstrates that businesses in the UK are the least likely globally to implement a proactive cloud-first strategy, that is not preventing cloud from being adopted across the business. This often leads to shadow IT practices which make it difficult for IT to get a firm control over corporate data in the cloud," said Stuart Taylor, UKI regional director, channel at Intel Security.

The Intel research found that 40% of cloud services were now being commissioned without the involvement of the IT department and the shadow IT problem was also adding to security headaches.

“With more data shifting across to the cloud, it is essential that the correct security controls are put in place. By moving towards a cloud-first strategy, organisations can encourage the adoption of cloud services to increase flexibility, reduce costs and set up proactive security operations. To this end, we work closely with our channel partners to ensure they are in a position to advise end users on the steps needed to secure cloud deployments," he added.

“Our channel partners understand that taking a proactive stance is key. Whether implementing integrated security solutions to ensure visibility across an entire organisation’s services, using authentication best practices or thwarting advanced targeted attacks through threat intelligence sharing, our partners are able to help companies go beyond initial protection by ensuring the correct technology is in place to rapidly detect threats and correct their systems when necessary. However, this focus on the threat defence lifecycle must go hand in hand with shifting the defender-attacker dynamic," he said.

Intel Security's discoveries

The firm got a fairly good insight into the current attitude towards cloud:

Trust now outnumbers distrust for public clouds by more than 2-to-1.

·  49% of professionals slowed cloud adoption due to a lack of cybersecurity skills.

·  65% think Shadow IT is interfering with keeping the cloud safe and secure.

·  52% indicate a malware infection can be tracked to a cloud application.

·  62% store sensitive customer information in the public cloud.

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