There appears to be a great divide between cloud computing providers and enterprise customers when it comes to data protection and security.

According to a study released by the Ponemon Institute, an independent research firm specializing in privacy and security policies, cloud providers are more focused on delivering cost and speed-of-deployment benefits associated with cloud computing than the underlying security. While enterprises are also keen to leverage those benefits, they would like to see providers accept more responsibility for data security.

“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,” Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Institute, said in a statement. “However, until this happens, users of cloud computing should be aware of their responsibility to assess the risks before migrating to the cloud.”

The study, titled “Security of Cloud Computing Providers” was co-sponsored by CA Technologies. It found that the majority of cloud providers (79%) allocate 10% or less of IT resources to security or control-related activities.

Additional findings included: 

  • Less than 20% of cloud providers in the U.S. and Europe view security as a competitive advantage and fewer than 30% of respondents consider it to be an important responsibility.
  • A majority of cloud providers (69%) believe security is primarily the responsibility of cloud users. This contrasts sharply with cloud users, with only 35% believing security is their responsibility.
  • There is a wide gap between cloud providers and cloud users on the degree to which they see intellectual property (IP) as being too sensitive for the cloud. About 68% of enterprises felt their IP was too risky for cloud use, compared to 42% for cloud providers.

Ponemon said cloud users and providers should consider the importance of accepting joint responsibility when structuring a cloud arrangement.


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