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Cloud Providers Downplay Security

According to a recent study by the Ponemon Institute, and sponsored by CA, cloud computing customers and venders may not be paying enough attention to cloud security issues.

The study, "Security of Cloud Computing Providers," found security to be a low priority for cloud service providers – and, apparently, their customers. A whopping 73 percent of U.S. service providers and 75 percent of European providers responding to the survey said their cloud services did not substantially protect and secure confidential or sensitive information. Two-thirds of U.S. providers and 61 percent of European providers were unsure whether their solutions are meeting customers’ security requirements.

According to polled vendors, the primary reason customers purchased their solution was cost reduction (91 percent), ease of deployment (79 percent) and improved customer service (37 percent). Vendors believed improving security and complying with agreements and policies to be low priorities for customers.

Another big reason for low security: the majority of cloud providers (69 percent) don’t believe it’s their responsibility. Even more worrisome: polled vendors said their systems and applications are not always evaluated for security threats prior to deployment to customers. In addition, a majority admitted they do not have dedicated security personnel to oversee the security of their cloud applications, infrastructure or platforms. On average, providers allocate 10 percent or less of their operational resources to security.

Last year, Ponemon released a similar study on cloud users. Comparing results from the two studies the firm concluded in the recent report that "neither the company that provides the services nor the company that uses cloud computing seem willing to assume responsibility for security in the cloud. In addition, cloud computing users admit they are not vigilant in conducting audits or assessments of cloud computing providers before deployment."

Many federal, state and local government entities have already moved or are in the process of moving to a cloud environment. GCN reported May 5 on a resource that could help government IT with cloud security: the Distributed Management Task Force is working on developing specifications to help organizations audit their cloud systems, regardless of the provider.

 

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