Surveillance is driving organizations away from the cloud

A third of IT security professionals do not keep corporate data in the cloud because of fear of government snooping, with the majority of them preferring to store sensitive corporate data within their own networks, a new survey from Lieberman Software reveals.

The survey was carried out at RSA Conference 2014 in San Francisco and looked at the attitudes of nearly 280 IT security professionals towards cloud security. It found that 80 percent of respondents prefer to keep more sensitive data stored within their company’s own network, rather than the cloud; while fear of government snooping discourages 33 percent of IT professionals from the cloud.

Other findings from the survey revealed that cloud applications are also creating problems for IT security professionals, with 75 percent of respondents indicating that they cause security headaches for IT departments.

Commenting on the survey Philip Lieberman, President and CEO of Lieberman Software, said: “IT managers are aware there is very limited data privacy in cloud environments and they therefore prefer to keep their most sensitive assets on premises. Another issue is legislation in the cloud and the fact that IT executives do not want governments probing into their corporate data. If a government or official body wants to see what data a company is holding, the cloud host involved is legally obliged to provide them access.”

Given the media attention the NSA surveillance scandal has received it is not surprising that organizations are deterred from storing sensitive data in cloud environments. However, when Lieberman Software undertook the same survey in November, 2012, 48 percent of respondents were discouraged from using the cloud because of fear of government snooping, while 86 percent of respondents preferred to keep more sensitive data within their own network, rather than the cloud. This essentially means that trust in the security of the cloud has increased over the last year, despite the enormous impact of the NSA scandal.

In response to these findings Calum MacLeod, VP of EMEA for Lieberman Software, said: “The fact that the government is snooping within our IT environments and on our phone calls isn’t a big revelation, and when the NSA scandal broke it should not have come as a big surprise to those who work in the security industry.”

“Government surveillance has been around for a very long time and unless you’re doing something against the law it shouldn’t be a concern. Security professionals realize that the major cloud service providers offer very comprehensive security and ultimately their willingness to invest in technology to protect their clients probably offers a more secure environment than off shoring companies, particularly in India who seem to think that everything can be solved with cheap labour,” MacLeod added.

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