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Cloud, Data Security Remain Top Concerns Heading Into 2016

3d rendering of computer server in the clouds symbolizing "cloud computing"

Data analytics and business intelligence remain the top concern of most IT leaders heading into 2016 according to some recent studies, and that is placing greater attention on cloud computing and data security at many organizations.

With the New Year upon us, Rajiv Gupta, CEO of Skyhigh Networks, shared his thoughts with Information Management on what we can expect for trends in the cloud and with cybersecurity in 2016. Gupta sees five trends as especially likely:

Companies will start to payoff cloud security debt

“More and more companies are full-speed ahead on cloud, but so far security has lagged behind,” Gupta says. “There’s a gap between where cloud security budgets currently are and where they should be based on overall security spending. According to Gartner, companies allocate just 3.8% of cloud spending to security, compared to 11% from overall IT budgets. In 2016, budgets for cloud security will outpace overall IT security spending as companies play catch-up.”

Cyber security insurance prices will double

“Insurance companies absorbed massive cyber attack costs in 2015,” Gupta noted. “In response, rates and premiums are on the rise. Companies will balk at prices and may need to agree to unfavorable terms in order to afford coverage.”

Gupta noted that Anthem had to commit $25 million towards any future costs to secure $100 million in coverage. “Many insurers max out coverage at $75 or $100 million – well below the cost of a catastrophic breach, which can reach a quarter of a billion dollars,” he says.

OneDrive will become the most popular cloud file sharing app

“Currently in fourth place for data volume uploaded, OneDrive will surge in the rankings as companies move to the cloud with Office 365,” Gupta predicts. “Companies have already shown confidence in Microsoft’s cloud platform as a system of record for sensitive information, uploading 1.37 TB per month with 17.4% of files containing sensitive data.”

“There is still a huge growth opportunity, however: 87.3% of organizations have at least 100 employees using Office 365, but 93.2% of employees still use Microsoft on-premises solutions,” Gupta explains. “Microsoft has invested over one billion dollars in security, and recently released a new Office 365 API for partners to monitor and secure sensitive content. [Microsoft CEO] Satya [Nadella] is taking cloud security seriously, and companies who were previously hesitant will migrate to Microsoft’s cloud offerings.”

European regulators will resurrect Safe Harbor

“Global companies paid attention when the European Court of Justice struck down the data transfer agreement known as ‘Safe Harbor’, which allowed companies to store Europeans’ data with US cloud providers,” Gupta explains.

“The ECJ’s decision certainly raised valid issues: Companies should be wary of sensitive data unencrypted in cloud services, especially those located in countries with dubious privacy records. Not all data is sensitive, however, and Safe Harbor’s absence will impose unnecessary and unrealistic limitations on operations in the cloud. Regulators will compromise to facilitate global access to data,” Gupta observes.

Most cloud security incidents will come from insiders

“Cloud service providers have improved security to the extent that breaches on the provider side will become few and far between,” Gupta notes. “This leaves enterprise employees as the weak link. Ninety percent of companies experience at least one cloud insider threat per month. Whether malicious or unintentional, your own employees will be your greatest cloud security threat.”

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