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Users, Service Providers At Odds Over Cloud Security, Study Says

If providers don't get serious about security soon, users will stop buying cloud services, Ponemon/CA survey states
Cloud services providers are not serious enough about security issues, and cloud services users are going to stop buying if those providers don't change their tune, according to a study published earlier this week.

The study, called "Security of Cloud Computing Providers" and conducted by Ponemon Institute with sponsorship by CA Technologies, indicates that cloud providers are more focused on cost and speed of deployment than on security. The majority of cloud providers (79 percent) allocate just 10 percent or less of IT resources to security or control-related activities. Fewer than half of the service provider respondents agree or strongly agree that security is a priority.

"The focus on reduced cost and faster deployment may be sufficient for cloud providers now, but as organizations reach the point where increasingly sensitive data and applications are all that remains to migrate to the cloud, they will quickly reach an impasse," said Mike Denning, general manager, Security, CA Technologies, in a statement. "If the risk of breach outweighs potential cost savings and agility, we may reach a point of 'cloud stall' -- where cloud adoption slows or stops -- until organizations believe cloud security is as good as or better than enterprise security."

According to the survey, fewer than 20 percent of cloud providers across the U.S. and Europe view security as a competitive advantage. Fewer than 30 percent of respondents consider security as an important responsibility. Fewer than 27 percent of respondents feel their cloud services substantially protect and secure customer information.

The majority of cloud providers (69 percent) believe security is primarily the responsibility of the cloud user; by contrast, only 35 percent of cloud users believe security is their responsibility. Just 16 percent of cloud providers feel security is a shared responsibility, compared to 33 percent of cloud users.

Cloud providers and cloud users disagree widely on the degree to which they consider intellectual property (IP) too sensitive for the cloud. Sixty-eight percent of cloud users felt their IP was too risky for cloud use, compared to just 42 percent of cloud providers.

"Given the well-publicized concerns about the potential risks to organizations' sensitive and confidential information in the cloud, we believe it is only a matter of time until users of cloud computing solutions will demand enhanced security systems," said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute.

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