Most people are familiar with the cloud on some level, especially within the workspace. Yet, a lot of uncertainty about the cloud remains, particularly when discussing security.
According to a survey conducted by Halon and Harris Interactive, 76 percent of Americans say they don’t trust data stored in the cloud and 79 percent say they would never feel completely comfortable saving any type of file in the cloud now.
The study is fascinating, as it is one of the first I’ve seen to break down our general knowledge about the cloud and cloud security in terms of gender and generation. For example, men were statistically more likely than women to worry that someone will access their sensitive or embarrassing files like emails and photographs (31 percent vs. 25 percent), while more adults 55+ than millennials aged 18-34 (35 percent vs. 29 percent) feel a loss of control when data is moved into the cloud. Yet, ironically, the under-35 age group was more concerned about security and an outsider gaining access to embarrassing or sensitive files (although I’m curious now to find out why so many are posting potentially embarrassing data files to the cloud).
Jonas Falck, vice president, Halon, stated in a release:
Although millions of Americans use email and the cloud for professional and personal reasons, our research shows that most Americans still have concerns about security and still don’t fully trust the cloud.
This survey from Halon piggybacks another cloud survey, this one from Microsoft, which interviewed SMBs. Like the Halon survey, Microsoft’s finds that there is a big disconnect between users and their feelings about cloud security. Yet, when the survey probed a little deeper into those who use the cloud, the answers were a bit different:
For 60 percent of respondents in the study, a key concern has been data security, and 45 percent were concerned that they could lose control of their data. Forty-two percent doubted the cloud's reliability. But, for SMBs that are actually using cloud services, the study found a different picture. Ninety-four percent reported they now have security benefits they didn't previously with on-premises technology, including up-to-date systems, up-to-date antivirus and spam e-mail management.
I think the perception of cloud security is a matter of known versus unknown. Even though the Halon survey found that only 25 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with cloud technology, the three-quarters who are familiar with the cloud still don’t quite understand it. The perceptions from the cloud’s early adoption days – the cloud is insecure and not safe – linger, despite the improvements to cloud security.