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What’s behind the growing confidence in cloud security

Security concerns have traditionally ranked among the top inhibitors of cloud adoption. But in a striking reversal, security has now become a key reason businesses choose cloud solutions, according to a global survey of more than 500 IT decision-makers conducted on behalf of Google Cloud in association with MIT SMR Custom Studio. Three out of four respondents said their confidence in the security of cloud applications and infrastructure has grown over the last two years, while only 1 percent reported decreased confidence.

What’s behind companies’ newfound belief that the cloud is just as secure as — or more secure than — on-premises systems? The survey suggests that the proof is in the pudding: Two-thirds of respondents attributed their rising confidence in cloud security to positive firsthand experiences with it. The more business and IT leaders use the cloud, in other words, the more they trust it with their most important data. Half of participants said their confidence grew after a detailed audit or examination comparing cloud and on-premises security. These assessments highlighted cloud providers’ advanced security tools and support for security and compliance standards, in addition to other benefits, respondents said.

Respondents also connected this

trend to two more traditional

drivers of cloud adoption:

increased need for agility and

speed and cost savings.

Due in part to this uptick in confidence, use of cloud expanded from 24 percent of workloads in 2015 to 44 percent in 2017, and it’s expected to reach 65 percent in 2019, the survey found. Respondents also connected this trend to two more traditional drivers of cloud adoption: increased need for agility and speed and cost savings. Top current and future use cases for the cloud include data storage, collaboration and productivity, application development, and IoT, while machine learning and artificial intelligence are the fastest-growing applications.

With many businesses ramping up their reliance on cloud computing, pockets of doubt remain, the research reveals. Among cloud skeptics who participated in the survey, forty-one percent cited security concerns as a barrier to cloud deployment.

Notably, business decision-makers were more likely to lack confidence in cloud security than IT respondents, and senior executives at large companies had the most apprehension. Lack of visibility into cloud security controls may be a reason for these lingering fears, especially among those accustomed to running their own in-house infrastructure, according to an expert quoted in the report.

In spite of this skepticism, the study make a strong case that the tide is turning when it comes to perceptions of cloud security. Google Cloud Marketing Lead for Trust and Security Rob Sadowski acknowledges this fact in an introduction to the report, writing, “It’s gratifying to see IT leaders recognizing that, in many cases, moving to the cloud can actually enhance security.” But he also reminds technology decision-makers that security capabilities vary from one vendor or implementation model to another, making it essential to ensure that potential cloud partners can meet business-specific security requirements.

To find out more, access the complete report by MIT SMR Custom Studio, entitled “Behind the Growing Confidence in Cloud Security.”