Taking on Security and Privacy in the Cloud

Pravin Kothari
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Pravin Kothari
With the typical enterprise consuming 1,100 cloud applications, cloud is the killer app for security. By enabling the convenience of the 'anywhere, anytime' revolution, cloud is projected to become a $106 billion market by 2016. Organizations are embracing cloud applications to help innovate and transform their business. Applications that automate sales processes, HR management, collaboration, email and file sharing continue to grow in popularity, enabling organizations to meet their needs in a shorter timeframe than ever before.

As these applications proliferate, so do concerns about the security and privacy of sensitive information going into those clouds. A wide range of regulations and privacy laws make enterprises directly responsible for protecting regulated information. However, a catch-22 emerges because companies have less direct control over data theft, leaks and surveillance in the cloud.

The EU Data Protection Act and the perfect storm
In the EU, regulators assign responsibility for securing information in the cloud to the company that owns the data-not the cloud provider on whose systems it resides. Due to the fundamental belief in the right to privacy, regulators can levy strict financial penalties for companies that breach the Data Protection Directive.

At the same time, leaks and thefts are occurring with increased frequency. As of June 30, the Identity Theft Resource Center reports 400 data incidents to-date in 2015 with 117,576,693 records confirmed to be at risk. In addition, recent research indicates that companies are still vulnerable for breaches. 59 percent of US IT decision makers and 34 percent of those in the UK admit to sharing access credentials with other employees "at least somewhat often." Another 52 percent in the US and 32 percent in the UK share access "at least somewhat often" with contractors.

A three-step approach to navigating compliance complexities. Though the risks-from malicious hacks to insider threats-can seem high, a holistic approach to cloud information protection can help companies reduce the risks of adopting the cloud.

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