Public Clouds Bring Security, Management Challenges to Businesses

Public cloud security concerns run the gamut, from data breaches to unauthorized access to private data, according to a survey of AWS attendees.

public cloud and security

The top challenge with public cloud consumption is the ability to manage usage and costs proactively across the business, according to a Cloud Cruiser and Dimensional Research survey of nearly 200 professionals who attended the recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) Global Summit in Chicago.

Of those surveyed, 92 percent stated they currently are using a public cloud and 95 percent indicated that public cloud usage will grow over the next 12 months.

"The most surprising and concerning finding from the survey was that 31 percent of respondents don't proactively manage cloud usage and spend. That's a major problem and one which will be very difficult to get ahead of," Deirdre Mahon, chief marketing officer at Cloud Cruiser, told eWEEK. "Additionally, another 36 percent don't use any tags to track which cloud services are being used. That is a huge challenge as there is simply no way to track who in the organization consumed which services. So when the bill comes in 100 percent higher than the previous month, it will pose some difficult questions."

Mahon noted the fact that 95 percent say cloud usage is growing compounds that problem, but by tagging and proactively managing their spend, companies can better plan and forecast what's coming.

"With full visibility and control, you consume more services which is exactly what the business wants," she said. "Driving blind or looking at the rearview mirror is a dangerous strategy when it comes to cloud."

Mahon said public cloud security concerns stem from a number of areas, with the most obvious being breaches and access to private data, since IT's core role is to project the organization from any potential breach that could bring a company to its knees.

"Once you hand the keys to the kingdom to an external party, such as AWS or Azure, the risk for a breach goes up—at least in the hearts and minds of IT professionals," she said.

Additionally, the survey found that momentum is being driven by a number of factors including big data and business analytics, with development and testing services coming in a close second.

"Cloud First is a strategy being adopted by most enterprises, large and small, with cloud now clearly viewed as a competitive differentiator. It is no longer an asset that just IT manages but a business asset where IT, finance and business users all work collaboratively for a better end result, Mahon said. "Eighty-two percent claim reconciling the cloud bill with finance is difficult. It doesn't have to be. Teams that migrate workloads and proactively optimize cloud services and avoid waste is exactly what all stakeholders should focus on in the coming years."