A joint survey from Symantec and the Ponemon Institute paints a less than rosy picture of enterprise approaches to cloud computing. For many, security seems to be on the backburner.
A survey of IT professionals has painted a troubling picture of enterprise approaches
to cloud computing security.
According to the survey, which was done by Symantec and the Ponemon
Institute, many organizations are not doing their due diligence when it
comes to adopting cloud technology-a situation that may partly be due to ad
hoc delegation of responsibilities.
Among the findings: Few companies are taking proactive steps to protect
sensitive business and customer data when they use cloud services. Less than 10
percent of those surveyed said their organizations performed any kind of
product vetting or employee training to make sure cloud computing resources met
security requirements before cloud applications were deployed.
In addition, just 30 percent of the 637 respondents said
prior to deploying their products, and most (65 percent) rely
on word-of-mouth to do so. Fifty-three percent rely on assurances from the
vendor. However, only 23 percent require proof of security compliance such as with
regulation SAS 70.
The researchers speculated this may be due to a gap between the people
employees think should be responsible for evaluating cloud vendors and who
actually is. For example, 45 percent said responsibility lies with end users,
while 23 percent said business managers. Eleven percent said the
burden belonged to the corporate IT team, while 9 percent said information
However, a total of 69 percent said they would prefer to see the information
security (35 percent) or corporate IT teams (34 percent) lead the way in that
regard. Most often, security teams are not part of the decision-making process
at all when it comes to the cloud. Only 20 percent said their information
security teams played a part on a regular basis, and 25 percent said they never
"Cloud computing holds a great deal of promise as a tool for providing
many essential business services, but our study reveals a disturbing lack of
concern for the security
of sensitive corporate and personal information
as companies rush to join
in on the trend," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon
Institute, said in a statement. "In order to properly address information
security concerns we encourage organizations to immediately incorporate
policies and processes for determining vendor qualifications. In addition, cloud
must also be willing to adopt a more transparent
Figures from the Evans
Data Cloud Development Survey
released earlier in 2010 found that 61
percent of the more than 400 developers said at least part of their
organizations' IT resources
"will move to the public cloud within the next year."
According to the Symantec-Ponemon study, the most popular uses of the cloud
include business applications such as Salesforce.com (71 percent) and
peer-to-peer applications. With adoption
growing, enterprises are still "flying blind" in regard to security,
opined Justin Somaini, chief information security officer at Symantec.
"Today, organizations need stronger information governance for managing
corporate information and enabling confidence in the cloud," Somaini said
in a statement. "The success of cloud computing hinges on the trust and
confidence that can only occur when the information security teams have better
visibility into the security posture and operations of cloud initiatives."