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Large organisations less confident over cloud security compared to smaller businesses

A study has found larger enterprises are not as confident as smaller businesses about the security of their data in the public cloud

Large businesses have less confidence than their smaller counterparts that the public cloud will manage their data securely, according to research.

Software provider Citrix commissioned a study which asked 750 UK IT decision makers across various sizes of organisation about their cloud usage. 

The survey found that the larger the organisation, the less likely they were to be using public cloud services. Some 46% of the smallest companies, with 250 to 499 employees, used the cloud; 42% of firms with 500 to 749 staff; 40% of those with 750 to 999 workers; but only 28% for businesses employing over 1000 people.

The study showed a similar picture in attitudes to cloud security – 26% of the largest organisations were not very confident over the security of data with public cloud, but only 16% of the smallest respondents shared that view.

Similarly, 28% of the smallest businesses were highly confident in security – eight percentage points higher than big enterprises. Citrix’s regional director for the UK & Ireland, Darren Fields, said the issues with security could be down to compatibility of existing applications with the cloud.

“Large enterprises may be concerned about the security of public cloud services, and may be struggling with legacy systems and applications that are not immediately compatible with public cloud environments, or the complexity of their network may be preventing cloud migration,” he said.

“It may also be the case that some large UK businesses operate in sectors where security and compliance regulations mean public cloud is not quite right.”

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Fields suggested that a hybrid cloud model may be more suitable for some businesses as it can offer a balance of efficiency and security.

“In all likelihood, a hybrid, multi-cloud model, often including public cloud, will become the reality for many enterprises,” he said.

“This can address a whole slew of business requirements in multiple ways. For instance, a team might be comfortable using Microsoft Azure to deploy their application services, while another team might choose a private cloud for their datacentres, due to security or compliance requirements.”

Experts at the Alert Logic Cloud Security Summit in June said securing information in the cloud is one of the big challenges facing organisations, and managing multiple cloud providers could present more risk. 

The National Crime Agency’s head of operations at the National Cyber Crime Unit, Mike Hulett, said at the time: “Cyber criminals will go after data wherever it is, and although cloud services providers typically have a lot of expertise in cyber security, no system is ever completely secure.”

Citrix’s research also found 87% of respondents either somewhat or strongly agreed that they moved to cloud to improve productivity, while 81% moved to save costs.

Organisations have more to learn

Fields said organisations have more to learn if they plan to use the cloud in their digital transformation efforts.

“There is still more education required to effectively communicate the benefits of cloud services, and there’s still a gap to be bridged between boardrooms and IT decision makers in relation to this,” he said.

“Arguably a level of mistrust and misunderstanding still holds back UK businesses. And it is clear a cultural and educational shakeup is needed for cloud and digital transformation to deliver on its potential. Once this awareness stems from IT to the board and beyond, there should be fewer barriers to hold cloud adoption back.”

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