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Survey: Cost reduction outweighs cloud security concerns

As cloud computing services and solutions continue to evolve and mature, business decision-makers around the world are gaining confidence in the hosted environment's ability to store and protect mission-critical assets. This was confirmed in a new study by the Ponemon Institute and commissioned by IT security company Thales.

The survey polled more than 4,000 business and IT managers throughout the world and found that roughly half of respondents are currently in the process of migrating sensitive information to the cloud. Another one-third said they will likely follow suit within the next two years.

Security concerns are still lingering but don't necessarily stop businesses

While many decision-makers believe the cloud will reduce IT expenses in the long run, approximately 39 percent of respondents said they think their use of the cloud will reduce their organization's ability to safeguard confidential resources, the study said. This suggests the financial benefits of using the cloud often outweigh the potential security vulnerabilities.

"However, it is particularly interesting to note that it is those organizations that have a strong overall security posture that appear to be more likely to transfer this class of information to the cloud environment - possibly because they [understand] how and where to use tools such as encryption to protect their data and retain control," Ponemon Institute chairman and founder Larry Ponemon said.

The survey found that roughly 64 percent of respondents believe it is the service provider's responsibility to protect cloud-based solutions. On the other hand, approximately the same number of decision-makers said they are unaware of the security precautions their vendor is taking to safeguard resources stored in the cloud.

"Staying in control of sensitive or confidential data is paramount for most companies today," Thales e-Security strategy vice president Richard Moulds said.

A separate report by CRN noted that IT departments must conduct a risk assessment before fully migrating to the cloud. In doing so, organizations can determine any previously undetected vulnerabilities that could create security problems for them in the future.

Companies also need to classify sensitive data to ensure certain resources are more heavily protected than others, CRN noted.

The cloud is relatively new and problems will inevitably arise with its increased adoption. By taking the proper precautions, however, businesses can mitigate some of the risk associated with leveraging the cloud, letting them gain a competitive advantage over rival firms, leverage big data more effectively and reduce long-term costs.

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