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Cloud security concerns remain an issue

The argument that cloud security has been dealt with appear premature, according to research

Security has always been the number one concern holding back users from moving data into a hosted environment – and those fears remain.

Many in the industry have got to a stage where they like to talk about the data integrity issues and feel the debate over cloud is finished. But, according to research from Barracuda Networks, that is clearly not the case.

The firm found in its report Future shock: the cloud is the new network that 70% of the business executives surveyed felt security concerns had held back wider adoption of public cloud.

When the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA)-wide survey was analysed on a country basis, the number of users worried about security nudged slightly higher to 72%.

There is clearly an opportunity for the channel around easing those concerns, because the same Barracuda survey also found there was momentum among customers driving them more towards the cloud.

Fears about data protection are not unfounded and the Barracuda survey found that three-quarters of firms have already been attacked, with the number of cyber attacks on UK businesses rising to four, on average.

Across EMEA, the expectation is that 76% of organisations will be running IT infrastructure in the public cloud, which is up from the current level of 45%.

Chris Hill, regional vice-president for public cloud at Barracuda Networks, said it was understandable that firms remained concerned about security issues.

“Considering the abundance of sophisticated cyber attacks that face organisations every day, it is no surprise to see that such a large percentage of business decision-makers are still cautious when committing to public cloud IT infrastructure," he said.

Hill said steps could be taken to rectify the problems and provided a shopping list of technology that resellers could pitch to customers.

“Organisations can and should take comfort in knowing that if their data and applications are properly protected using proven firewall defence services, and users are gaining access with the assistance of SD-WAN technology, there is no reason that public cloud should be deemed any less secure than traditional data storage or software infrastructure,” he said.

At the same time as the Barracuda report, more evidence of cloud security problems came in the form of research from Avant Analytics, the market research division of Avant Communications.

The firm’s 6-12 report for IT security found that attacks were increasing and customers were lacking the in-house staff and resources to keep fighting them off. Its suggested solution was to turn to the channel to help gain the expertise, particularly for hard-pressed IT teams that were moving to the public cloud for the first time and lacked experience.

“Security is a value proposition unlike any other in the IT industry,” said Ken Presti, research vice-president at Avant Research and Analytics. “Any other technology can be installed and tested to prove that it works. But security is such a rapidly moving space that it is difficult to know what the criminal element will be able to penetrate.

“Since no guarantees can be made, enterprise decision-makers need to work with their trusted advisers to maximise the odds, while at the same time developing effective contingency plans in the event that something bad does occur.”

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