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Cloud infrastructure security: A mixed message

Here’s a mixed message for channel partners: IT managers view security as a cloud advantage, but they still have some reservations when it comes to moving data off premises to a cloud infrastructure.

That’s a key takeaway of a recent study from Clutch, a business-to-business market researcher based in Washington, D.C. Part one of the study, published in February, cited security as the primary benefit of cloud infrastructure, based on a survey of 300 IT professionals. The results overturn earlier thinking on cloud computing; security concerns ranked among the top cloud adoption obstacles a decade ago.

Part two of that study, released in March, sheds more light on the cloud security angle. According to Clutch, 64% of enterprises “consider cloud infrastructure a more secure alternative to legacy systems.”

Other market researchers have also noted a general shift in cloud perception.

“The very things that were an obstacle to cloud several years ago are almost a selling factor for cloud today,” said Darren Bibby, program vice president, channels and alliances research at IDC, during a recent Ingram Micro webinar on cloud megatrends.

But customer confidence in cloud is not complete. When Clutch asked what problems IT professionals encountered in cloud infrastructure in the past year, nearly a third of the respondents pointed to security as the top challenge. Security (31%), training (28%) and increased cost (28%) were the three most-reported concerns.

Cloud security misgivings compelled most of the organizations surveyed to invest in supplemental security. Three-quarters of the respondents said they implement “additional security measures beyond what a cloud computing service provider offers,” according to Clutch.

The most frequently implemented security measures include data encryption (60%), identity access policies (52%) and regular audits (48%). And to deploy that extra security, more than half of the respondents said they spend between $10,000 and $500,000.

Those numbers cut two ways for channel partner firms that provide their own cloud infrastructure services or resell third-party offerings. On the one hand, the additional spending suggests partners can likely find security sales opportunities among businesses that have recently deployed cloud services. But for partners selling their own cloud offerings — hosted private cloud services, for instance — the price tag for additional security measures — if deemed necessary — could end up discouraging customers.

So, while partners can take heart that customers view cloud security more favorably, they should also take the time to address their lingering data protection worries.

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What will happen to stand-alone IPS sales in 2015?
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Certainly stand-alone IDPS will have its place, but based upon our current assessment of IBM IDPS to Palo Alto firewalls we are seeing a very aggressive price comparison and comparable functionality in IDPS along with mawlare, AV, app ID, etc. IBM desperately is playing catch-up with their multi-function devices and they still hold to the thought that companies will not be ripping out firewalls to replace them with next gen fw/idps solutions. I think their strategy is now wrong and Palo Alto is proving as much. Personally I still like the autonomy that standalone IDPS provides. We don't have to coordinate policy pushes with the firewall folks and we can put IDPS in bypass mode for maintenance without affecting other components like you would have on a firewall/IDPS solution. Having said this, our company is aggressively moving towards Palo Alto. Executives question why we are paying for both a firewall and IDPS solution. Grid management folks want one less access point into their isolated network and a combined IDPS and firewall makes more sense.
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Next generation-IPS will be its competition... Industry is requiring more connecting of products/software/applications on the network. Everything runs seamlessly with the customer in mind. It is not about doing it alone anymore but doing things together the customers/clients and the corporation together...
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