For years, businesses have hesitated to join the cloud for security reasons. A growing number of reports, however, are indicating that attitudes are shifting. This spring, Google revealed that 52 percent of surveyed executives noted an increase in overall cloud trust over the past three years. And while many professionals are still skeptical, 60 percent also admit that that current levels of trust are below what cloud technology merits. The Cloud Security Alliance found even higher levels of trust among experts. Sixty-five percent of IT leaders it surveyed said the cloud is either more secure than on-premises software or equally secure. Advocates have extolled the cloud’s efficiency, cost-saving potential and flexibility, but they are increasingly empowered to advocate for its security benefits too. What was once considered a weakness is now being viewed as a strength.
This rising trust accompanies increasing rates of adoption across industries. One study suggests that three in five enterprise workloads will run in the cloud by mid-2018, up from two in five (41 percent) today. The long-term projections are even more impressive: Chinese telco giant Huawei predicts that by 2025, all enterprise IT will be ‘cloudified,’ while 85 percent of enterprise applications will be based in the cloud.
Is the cloud really safer?
The cloud’s remoteness – its separation from a business’s physical location and control – was once cause for concern. Today, many users are recognizing the benefits. Physical security is an important one: The best data centers have walls, fences and guards and are subject to routine security inspections. They resemble fortresses when compared to the locked janitor’s closets that once hosted many companies’ servers. In addition, experts say that nearly 75 percent of security breaches are “inside jobs.” A remote data center provides some protection against disgruntled employees and is less accessible to vendors and third-party technicians. What’s more, the employees at those data centers are experts – not overworked IT generalists servicing a single organization. They operate with paranoia as a default because their jobs depend on it. A security breach at a company could be disastrous; a security breach at a data center likely sounds the company’s death knell.
Caution in cloud-based infrastructures
Users should still be attentive, though, when using cloud-based infrastructures. Widely publicized examples of security breaches continue to occur, ranging from the iCloud leaks of celebrity photos in 2014 to more recent reports of hospital ransomware. As with any technology, the cloud comes with its own set of risks, but each failure continues to inform the field’s growth and change, and security is constantly improving.
Different businesses have different needs. Some may benefit from enterprise-based systems, others from public or private clouds or a hybrid model. But these new findings suggest that confidence in the cloud is finally catching up with adoption rates, and that will only lead to further improvements in cloud technology solutions.