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With Proper Attention, Challenges to Cloud Adoption Can Be Overcome with Great Rewards

12 Nov 2014 by Christine Kern

Study Shows Security Remains Top Hurdle in Cloud Adoption

In a recent Cloud Adoption Report, Bitglass found that strategic, company-wide adoption is taking hold as new technologies to secure Cloud applications gain a greater foothold. At the same time, however, a majority of companies are delaying deployment of Cloud applications due to security and compliance concerns.

“We wanted to separate hype from reality with regard to Cloud adoption in the enterprise. We found that while more strategic, company-wide adoption of the Cloud is starting to take hold, there are still basic security mechanisms that have not been put into place,” said Nat Kausik, CEO of Bitglass. “As new technologies to secure Cloud apps gain footing, we expect accelerated adoption to occur, especially among larger companies and those in regulated industries.”

Bitglass’ Cloud Adoption Report sampled 81,253 companies across a range of industries and varying company sizes.

Among the most used Cloud applications today are CRM and collaboration tools, Web applications, data warehousing systems and email, according to ChangeWave Alliance, a technology research network. The Bitglass study found that Cloud-based email is the bellwether of Cloud adoption.

Private companies are more likely to have adopted Cloud-based email than public companies. Kausik explained, “We believe that the lower rate of Cloud adoption among public companies is due to additional regulatory and reporting burdens that private companies do not face. Given the compliance and audit capabilities lacking in most Cloud apps, we expect third-party security technology will be required to help close this gap.”

The leading reason companies are not moving to the Cloud is security concerns, according to ChangeWave Research. More than half of large-sized companies (52%) and approximately one-third of small- to medium-sized companies (33%) cite security as their primary concern. In addition, the percentage of companies concerned about security is increasing — not decreasing. Yet of the Cloud customers sampled, only a small percentage had taken even the most basic security step: implementing Single Sign-On (SSO) to create a manageable authentication mechanism for all users and applications.

Fortunately, there are basic solutions to the greatest Cloud threats. Bitglass recommends companies take a strategic approach to Cloud and suggests five security areas that must be addressed before moving to the Cloud:

  1. Identity & Single Sign-On – Adopt a SSO service, which authenticates employees via existing identity management infrastructure.
  2. Visibility – Be comprehensive, providing insight into all user activity across all Cloud apps in an organization.
  3. Cloud Data Security – Data leakage prevention technology enables dynamic redaction of sensitive data, ensuring compliance and data confidentiality. Data tracking technologies allow sensitive data to be downloaded, but maintain visibility of the data anywhere it goes.
  4. Encryption – Regulated industries require that data be encrypted prior to upload to the Cloud, and decrypted upon download prior to viewing.
  5. Access Control – Invest in solutions that provide the ability to restrict suspicious behaviors and activities via rich, contextual access.

In the final analysis, the report found that for the Cloud to reach its potential, business Cloud customers must address security gaps that represent significant threats, especially to large organizations and those in heavily regulated ones. But, the report also said these threats are manageable with the appropriate attention.

The Bitglass Cloud Adoption Report can be found here.