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Survey: Cloud security concerns not holding back cloud adoption

Global study shows that some organizations are moving sensitive data to the cloud at the expense of security.

Security concerns don't appear to be holding organizations back from moving sensitive data to the cloud, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study, conducted by Ponemon Research for encryption supplier Thales e-Security Inc., surveyed 4,000 business and IT executives in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, Australia, Japan and Brazil. The study examined organizations' cloud security concerns and cloud data protection practices.

About half of the respondents said their organizations transfer sensitive or confidential data to a cloud environment. Forty-four percent said cloud adoption hadn't changed their security posture either way, but 39% said they believe cloud adoption has decreased their companies' security posture.

"This clearly demonstrates that for many organizations, the economic benefits of using the cloud outweigh the security concerns," Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said in a prepared statement.

He said another surprising finding was that 64% of the organizations that transfer sensitive data to the cloud believe the cloud provider is primarily responsible for data protection while about the same percentage said they didn't know what the cloud provider was doing to protect data.

In terms of encryption, 38% of those surveyed said they rely on encryption of data as it's transferred over the network, usually the Internet, to the cloud provider. Another 35% apply persistent encryption to data before it's transferred to the cloud provider while 27% rely on encryption applied in the cloud environment. According to the study, even when encryption is performed inside the enterprise, more than half of organizations allow the cloud provider to manage the keys.


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