Health Care, Financial Firms Lead in Cloud Security

The health care industry is investing in new cloud services to provide patients with a more flexible approach when selecting medical coverage.

cloud security and it management

The rapid migration of data into the cloud is bringing about new data protection challenges and strategies in the enterprise market, according to a report from CipherCloud.

Of the 12 vertical industries profiled, health care (38 percent) topped finance (25 percent) as the leading sector adopting cloud data protection, and together they accounted for 63 percent of all organizations with a data security mitigation strategy.

Health care and finance protected 100 percent of all electronic protected health information (ePHI) and personally identifiable information (PII), perhaps unsurprisingly, as these industries face strict data privacy requirements from government and sector-specific guidelines.

"The health care and financial services industries are leading the investment in cloud data protection and are at the forefront of enabling cloud-based solutions," Dos Dosanjh, CipherCloud's global director for cloud solutions, told eWEEK. "Both industries are also subject to government and self-imposed regulations to ensure that personal information remains private. Compliance with current and new regulations is the driving force for ensuring the appropriate solutions are in place to protect and secure data in the cloud."

The report was based on survey responses from CipherCloud's install base, which includes millions of enterprise end users spanning several industries across the globe.

"The health care industry is aggressively investing in new cloud services to provide patients with a more flexible approach when selecting medical coverage, facilities and physicians tailored to their specific treatment, Dosanjh explained. "These new cloud services not only provide additional revenue streams for health care organizations, but also allow them to service patients who would otherwise be unaware of the available treatment options."

Sixty-four percent of organizations surveyed identified audit, compliance and privacy concerns as a top challenge; 32 percent named unprotected data in the cloud as a primary concern; 2 percent cited malware protection for documents; and 2 percent cited lack of enough secure cloud file sharing solutions.

Across geographies, data encryption (81 percent) led tokenization (19 percent) at enterprises with a cloud security deployment.

Latin America topped all regions with 100 percent of protection efforts centered on encryption, while North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific deployed encryption by 85 percent, 78 percent and 50 percent margins.

Of the top four sectors, only government (9 percent) favored the use of tokenization over encryption, while the reverse was the case for finance, health care and telecommunications, which cited the need for function preservation and the ability to search, sort and filter their data.

This was particularly the case for telecommunications companies, which all use encryption as part of their data protection strategy.

Manufacturing, media, chemicals, consulting, hospitality, legal, venture capital and tech accounted for the remaining 12 percent of industries with a data protection strategy.

The report noted these industries are guided by still emerging protection requirements, which so far have resulted in the implementation of highly customized data protection solutions.