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Cloud security doubts remain

Even with the acceleration in adoption of hosted services, the channel will still have to convince some customers that all is safe when it comes to cloud security

There might well have been a rapid acceleration and adoption of cloud tools and remote working as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the channel cannot take it for granted that former security concerns have been overcome.

With the arrival of an unprecedented national lockdown in March 2020, many customers faced little choic but to move to a remote working model and provide access to data and networks to employees working from home.

Despite having been forced by global events to embrace technologies that were previously resisted, research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has indicated that long-standing reservations have not melted away.

The industry organisation has taken the pulse of customer attitudes towards cloud and found that many have seen the changes as positive, with 56% of companies enjoying the more flexible approach to work, and 41% satisfied with the cloud-based collaboration tools they are using to remain productive at home.

But CIF also found that 41% of organisations felt that remote working was still not as secure as the office, and so there might be some problems around shifting customers happily to a “new normal” world of hybrid working.

“The success of the vaccine roll-out so far has imbued many of us with a genuine sense of optimism that normality may return soon. That said, the way we work won’t be the same – office life will undoubtedly return, but a hybrid system with frequent home working will become a fixture,” said Alex Hilton, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum.

“Despite this reality and the fact that a majority of businesses see the benefits of a more flexible approach, our research shows that some security concerns associated with home working remain. This is something that organisations should be wise to as they plot what their post-pandemic working environment will look like,” he added.

Hilton pointed out that the research revealed that many customers had responded to Covid-19 by accelerating cloud adoption, and 80% expected to increase their consumption of those hosted services over the course of the year.

In fairness to those worried about security, there has been plenty of evidence emerging of a significant rise in home workers being targeted by cyber criminals. Trend Micro released its 2020 Annual cyber security report revealing that the firm had blocked more than 62.6 billion cyber threats last year, a 20% year-on-year (YoY) increase. Attacks on home networks globally surged 209% to reach nearly 2.9 billion.

“With attackers increasingly targeting corporate systems via home networks and users, it’s essential that organisations ensure their remote workers are running secure devices and have the training they need to stay safe,” said Bharat Mistry, UK technical director at Trend Micro.

The role for the channel identified by the latest research is clearly to enable customers to enjoy those positives and to keep the cloud momentum going while making sure security fears are assuaged.

“As the government sets out its plans to reopen the economy, firms should be getting their own houses in order too. Most have done a fantastic job in remaining successful during this extended period of remote working, so now is the time to step it up further,” said Hilton.

“This means identifying and addressing any lingering security issues, while adopting the technologies and processes needed to make the hybrid workplace a successful one.”

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