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European cloud adopters still lack basic security

Despite outpacing the rest of the world, the majority of organisations adopting cloud in Europe, the Middle East and Africa lack basic security, a report reveals

Cloud adoption in Europe, the Middle East and Africa has increased to 84%, up 27% compared with 2016, with five in six companies analysed deploying at least one cloud application, a report shows.

However, despite outpacing the rest of the world in terms of cloud adoption, the majority of organisations in the region do not have critical security systems, with some even lacking even basic cloud security tools, according to the latest report from cloud access security broker, Bitglass.  

Only 47% of organisations in the study sample had some single sign-on (SSO) tool in use, compared with more than the 25% globally, which is still a minority of enterprises, the EMEA cloud adoption report said.

SSO is most widely adopted in education (64%), biotech (54%) healthcare (53.7%) and finance (53.5%), according to the report based on 20,000 organisations in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

While it may appear that growth is starting to plateau, the report said many enterprises have begun deploying additional cloud applications beyond basic productivity and email platforms.

Microsoft’s Office 365 suite is the most widely adopted cloud application across the region, with 65% of organisations using this application, up 51% in the past two years and well above the adoption of Google’s G Suite, which has just 19% adoption.

However, despite falling usage numbers overall, the Bitglass data shows G Suite remains popular in France, where adoption is at 30%, and Spain (40%).

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Usage of Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the region far exceeds the rate of AWS deployments globally, with 21.8% of organisations using AWS compared with the global average of just 8%.

The adoption of AWS in the region is indicative of the growing use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platforms as a means of pushing compute and storage to the cloud from premises servers, the report said, noting that many firms in EMEA are also early adopters, willing to try new methods of custom app deployment like AWS that seem promising and are growing rapidly.

“Organisations in EMEA are embracing cloud productivity apps, but still lack the security tools necessary to protect data,” said Rich Campagna, CMO at Bitglass. “In cloud-first environments, security must evolve to protect data on many more endpoints and in many more applications,”

Government organisations lead the way from a vertical industry perspective in EMEA, with a 41.6% adoption rate, while the utility sector is has the lowest adoption rate at just 5.3%.

Regulated industries, including finance and healthcare, saw significant gains in cloud adoption rates, the report said, with the use of Office 365 nearly doubling in these two sectors since 2016.

Across all verticals, firms in EMEA have recognised the groundswell of support for cloud applications among employees, security suppliers and app providers.

“As costs continue to fall and cloud compliance becomes readily achievable, more will migrate from their on-premises productivity and collaboration apps to cloud equivalents like Office 365, AWS, and Slack,” the report concludes. 

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