rvlsoft - Fotolia
European workers trust EU countries the most with work data stored in cloud services such as Gmail, Dropbox and Box, a YouGov survey has revealed.
Only 18% of more than 3,000 workers polled in the UK, France and Germany would trust a non-EU country, according to the study commissioned by security firm Blue Coat Systems.
While 46% said they trusted EU countries, 36% said they trusted no particular country to safely store or host their data in the cloud.
With the vote on Brexit on 23 June 2016 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect on 25 May 2018, the question of where cloud data is being stored or hosted is a hot topic for organisations serving the half billion citizens currently in the EU.
The Blue Coat poll reveals that 40% of UK respondents would trust an EU state to store their data, compared with 38% who said they would trust their own country.
Across Europe, Germany was ranked the most trustworthy with 26% of respondents happy for their data to reside there, followed by France (21%) and the UK (20%). At the other end of the scale, the EU country that ranked lowest was Spain, with only 6% of respondents saying they would trust their data to be stored there.
However, the survey shows that the majority of EU workers polled do not trust the US to store or host their data, indicating that European Court of Justice’s decision to strike down the Safe Harbour agreement is supported by European citizens.
Only 9% of respondents said they would trust their work data to be stored or hosted in the US, with UK respondents trusting the US ‘special relationship’ more than French or Germans.
While 13% of UK respondents are happy for data to reside in the US, only 11% of French respondents said they trusted the US and just 3% of Germans would put their data in that country.
Apart from their own nation, more UK respondents trust Germany (18%) and Sweden (18%) than any other EU country.
Most workers in France like to keep their data in-country (45%), followed by Germany (16%) and Sweden (14%).
Read more about Brexit
- A third of security professionals are concerned that a Brexit vote will hamper cyber threat intelligence-sharing with EU states.
- What is the possible impact of a Brexit on the national broadband roll-out?
- Only 35% of European IT firms and telcos have developed a clear plan for a Brexit vote.
- Do IT businesses believe it is in their best interests to leave or stay? Billy McInnes explores the possible ramifications of a Brexit.
The survey revealed that Germans trust other EU countries the least, with most trusting Germany (43%), compared with 14% trusting Sweden and only 7% trusting the UK.
Outside of the EU, the smallest proportion would trust China (1%), with South Africa, Russia and Brazil trusted by only 2% of respondents.
According to the poll, 53% of respondents use cloud applications at work. France has the highest level of cloud usage (64%), compared with 49% in the UK and 47% in Germany.
Cloud usage at work is driven by millennials, the survey shows, with 63% of 18-24-year-olds polled using cloud applications at work, compared with 59% of 25-34-year-olds, 55% of 35-44-year-olds, 48% of 45-54-year-olds, and 47% of people aged 55 and over.
Younger workers more trusting
The survey shows younger workers have more trust in countries in the EU when it comes to storing information in the cloud, which supports the findings of other polls that suggest younger people are more likely to vote ‘stay’ in the UK referendum on EU membership.
The 18-24-year-old age group is the most trusting of EU countries (55%), while workers aged 55 and over trusted EU countries the least (36%).
Older workers are less trusting in general, with 47% of respondents aged 55 and over saying they do not trust their cloud data to be stored in any particular country, compared with 24% of 18-24-year-olds.
Robert Arandjelovic, director of product marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Blue Coat Systems, said the EU regulatory landscape is set to change radically when the GDPR is introduced.
“This research highlights the level of distrust in countries outside the EU,” he said. “Respondents prefer to keep their data within the EU, supporting new European data protection legislation.”
More concerning is the fact that almost half of respondents would trust any country to store their data, said Arandjelovic.
“This indicates that employees simply do not pay enough attention to where their work data is held, which presents a risk to enterprises,” he added.