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February 13, 2014

Data centre consolidation and cloud migration stalls due to security concerns

For businesses to move forward with data centre consolidation, stronger security measures need to be implemented.

By Kate Heslop

Security concerns are preventing businesses from benefitting from data centre consolidation and cloud services, according to new research from data protection company SafeNet.

Prakash Panjwani, senior VP and general manager at SafeNet, believes companies will continue to not move forward as long as they lack resources and have security concerns: "The adoption of new technologies — such as big data, mobility, and cloud-based services — has pushed data centre consolidation to the top of the priority list for many businesses. Yet it is clear that security concerns combined with a lack of resources are hampering the progress of such transformations".

The research, which is based on a global survey of approximately 600 security and IT professionals, found that while nearly three-quarters of IT professionals view data centre consolidation as important, more than half have no consolidation plans in place. The study found that only a quarter have completed consolidation projects.

The survey results illustrate that security challenges may be contributing factors to the slower progress in data centre consolidation efforts, including moving workloads from physical machines to virtualised systems. Specifically, of those who view data centre consolidation as important, 62% said their biggest worry was losing control of cryptographic keys.

Jason Hart, VP of Cloud Solutions at SafeNet, said: "In order to stay competitive, organisations have to ensure they’re getting the most value from their IT investments, so many are looking towards data centre consolidation initiatives. However, as organisations move to the cloud and virtualised environments, critical security and compliance requirements are growing more pressing."

Only 21% of respondents said that they are currently doing any encryption in their virtual environments. As well as encryption and managing cryptographic keys being technically challenging for IT professionals, these survey results also suggest that companies do not have the required staffing levels in place to support a consolidation project. Nearly 60% of respondents said they had less than five people involved in encryption management globally. In addition, nearly one-third of respondents said they had more than 10 business applications that required encryption.

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Hart continued: "Security should always be top of mind for businesses and host and cloud providers will only be successful if they can relieve their customers’ concerns. These service providers will need to partner with security companies to make encryption and key management solutions integrated into their consolidations solutions. Customers want security but also need it to be seamless and user friendly. If the cloud and host providers can offer easy options, then they will be guaranteed huge market opportunities."

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