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December 15, 2017updated 18 Dec 2017 4:56pm

Cloud security fears leave IT decision makers asking, ‘Who has access to my data, and why?’

Just 42% of UK respondents said cloud would likely increase their company’s data security.

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM may have its head in the cloud with their latest European Iaas capabilities going live today, but a new survey from the tech giant digs deeper into data security concerns.

As ever, cyber security is a persistent concern for would-be cloud customers, with 57% of IT decision makers citing it as the main barrier for adoption. Indeed, 90% of UK IT decision makers expressed concern that their firm will be the target of a malicious attack.

This fear may well prove justified, given a recent CA Veracode survey which found just 50% of business leaders were knowledgeable about the risks posed by software flaws. In the same survey, just one in three respondents had heard of WannaCry ransomware which infected Microsoft PCs in 150 countries during May.

Encouragingly, IBM found that just 9% of IT leaders felt the security of their organisation would be reduced as a result of adopting cloud services. Nevertheless, pertinent questions remain on IT decision makers’ minds, given just 42% of UK respondents said cloud would likely increase their company’s data security. A vast majority (89%) of respondents said “who has access to my data, and why?” would be among their top three critical data management questions regarding storing data in the cloud.

Reasons for switching to cloud are diverse among business types. IBM found the top two business workloads professionals are considering uploading to the cloud are data archiving and backup (49%) and disaster recovery (45%). Data protection is clearly high on the agenda for any IT spend decision – particularly as hybrid cloud is an emerging infrastructure solution. A considerable 79% of IT leaders would want to know where the data is stored and backed up and 61% had questions about whether the data can be encrypted/who owns the keys.

“Motivations for adopting cloud usually start from a tactical vantage point and evolve to more strategic visions over time,” said Yasser Eissa, VP, Cloud & Cognitive, IBM Europe.

“Initially, the focus is on IT cost and efficiency, deploying infrastructure as a service through public cloud providers. But many companies are driving well beyond that, rapidly modernizing their applications to improve customer experiences and differentiate through innovation.”

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For its survey, IBM interviewed business decision makers in the UK, France and Germany who are currently using or planning to implement cloud solutions in their organisations. Of these, six in ten ranked increased flexibility and agility in their top three expected benefits, while 46% felt the same about cost reductions within their companies. Overall, 60% of UK respondents are already using cloud solutions in their organisation and 96% believed such Saas could benefit their company.

“It’s clear that enterprises want a cloud that offers more than just cost savings and provides a platform for innovation that is secure and transparent,” said Eissa.

Timely as ever, IBM has complemented its research with the roll-out of a new support model and capabilities for IBM Cloud in Frankfurt, Germany.

Offering clients control over and transparency with where their data lives, the new capabilities include new controls to ensure access to client content (including client personal data and special personal data) is restricted to and controlled by EU-based IBM employees only.

In a move which Big Blue claims is unique to only IBM Cloud’s dedicated environments in Frankfurt, clients will review and approve all non-EU access requests to their content if an instance requires support or access from a non-EU based employee. If granted, this access is temporary and the client will be notified when the temporary access is revoked. Logs that track access are made available to the client.

“IBM’s commitment to data responsibility and the added controls in the IBM Cloud in Europe allow us to trust IBM to protect our most valuable data,” says Patrick Palacin, cofounder and CTO of TeleClinic, which provides security-rich telemedicine services to patients throughout Germany.

“Our patient and caregiver information is highly sensitive and additional capabilities to ensure data residency, security and privacy mean the IBM Cloud is the innovation platform we trust.”

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