Security Concerns Slow Move to the Cloud

Sue Marquette Poremba

For as much as everyone talks about moving more data into the cloud, the reality is that neither the enterprise nor the government is rushing to make that move. A Symantec study found that about half of the organizations surveyed admitted that their IT department isn't prepared for cloud computing, largely from a lack of experience in using the cloud. That, of course, can be remedied by using third-party vendors that specialize in cloud computing.


Security was the primary concern for those hesitant to make the move to the cloud. According to the Symantec survey:

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Perceptions and Realities of Cloud Security

A new survey suggests that access policies could use a little work.

Respondents rated improving security as a top goal in implementing cloud computing. Not only that, the overwhelming majority (87 percent) is confident that moving to the cloud will not impact or will actually improve their security. However, achieving security for cloud environments is also a top concern for these organizations. They are concerned about a myriad of potential risks,including malware, hacker-based theft, data leakage and so on. In fact, when asked to list their biggest concerns, the real finding was not which fears topped the list, but that so many fears made the list.

The government is also concerned about cloud security. The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee's cyber security subcommittee held hearings last week to discuss cloud adoption among government agencies. PCWorld quoted Representative Dan Lungren, a California Republican and subcommittee chairman:

Our concern is that the cloud offers a rich target for hackers, criminals, terrorists and rogue nations. With cyber-espionage affecting every sector of our economy, aggregating important information in one location is a legitimate security concern. You might say it's a target-rich environment.

The Obama administration is pushing for agencies to adopt the cloud. It could be a money-saver, especially at a time when Congress is looking for ways to slash the budget. But how does it fit into the president's executive order to improve overall cyber security? The administration's pushback to the Congressional subcommittee is that the cloud poses no more risks than other IT applications.


The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is one of the federal agencies on board with moving its computing into the cloud, seeing it as a cost-saving measure. The PCWorld article pointed out that DHS could save 8 to 10 percent on its IT costs by adopting it. And, perhaps more importantly, the DHS CIO said that no classified information will be put into the cloud.

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