Cloud computing is rapidly changing the way enterprises approach their software and infrastructure needs, but these developments are also having widespread implications for the security pros protecting the data, according to an industry survey.
As more businesses entrust their infrastructure to the cloud, the less say and control security professionals have over the data that is moving off-premises, according to the report created by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Gemalto , which makes security products including encryption tools.
The report, "The 2018 Global Cloud Data Security Study," is based on interviews with more than 3,600 IT security practitioners in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, France, Japan, India and Brazil. Of those surveyed, 33% responded that their companies were heavily involved in cloud, while 44% reported that their business was moderately invested in cloud.
However, the report shows that the switch to cloud is giving other parts of the enterprise the keys to the technology.
The amount of IT spending controlled by the IT department decreased from 53% in 2016 to 40% in 2017, showing that other parts of the enterprise are using cloud and cloud services for their technology needs. At the same time, Ponemon finds the amount of data stored in the cloud and not controlled by IT has increased from 44% to 53%.
While IT has lost some control of the data, the good news is that confidence in cloud services is increasing, with 25% of respondents claiming they are "very confident" about cloud and 31% reporting they are "confident."
These findings dovetail with other studies that find cloud and security are shared responsibilities between provider and client. (See Cloud Security Is an Enterprise Responsibility – Report.)
However, one area of data security that is becoming increasingly difficult to control is compliance, with 62% of respondents reporting that cloud resources increase risk. Part of the reason is that it's difficult to control end-user access to data stored in the cloud.
This can present a problem as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules are scheduled to come into effect in May.
GDPR will not only address issues of personal privacy, but also control what personal data can travel outside the European Union. European businesses now must rethink what data they can share in the cloud, and whether data needs to be kept on-premises or can transfer to a public cloud, even though most of the major providers have data centers located in the US.
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The GDPR rules also apply to businesses outside the EU that may have customers living or working in Europe.
The report found that 60% of respondents reported that they are not ready for GDPR and nearly 90% believe that the new rules will require changes in cloud governance.
However, Ponemon finds that companies are increasingly turning to encryption to secure data cloud data and to get ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR.
"Seventy-seven percent of respondents say the ability to encrypt or tokenize sensitive or confidential data is important and 91 percent say it will become more important over the next two years, an increase from 86 percent of respondents," the report found. "Currently, an average of 40 percent of data in the cloud is secured with encryption and key management."
— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.