Government Snooping Drives Firms Away From Cloud

By Bob Violino Print this article Print
government surveillance and the cloud

Considering the attention the NSA surveillance scandal has received, it's not surprising that many companies are reluctant to store sensitive data in the cloud.

One-third of IT security professionals recently surveyed say their organization does not keep corporate data in the cloud because of fear of government snooping, according to a report from identity management vendor Lieberman Software. Instead, the study found that 80 percent of respondents prefer to store sensitive corporate data in their own networks.

Other findings from the survey showed that cloud applications are also creating problems for IT security professionals. Three-quarters of the respondents reported that the cloud causes security problems for their IT organization.

The company conducted the survey at the recent RSA Conference 2014, where it asked 278 IT security professionals about cloud security. More than half of these professionals work in organizations with more than 1,000 employees.

"IT managers are aware that there is very limited data privacy in cloud environments, and they therefore prefer to keep their most sensitive assets on-premise," according to Philip Lieberman, president and CEO of Lieberman Software. "Another issue is legislation in the cloud and the fact that IT executives do not want governments probing into their corporate data. If a government or official body wants to see what data a company is holding, the cloud host involved is legally obliged to provide them access."

Considering the global attention the NSA (National Security Agency) surveillance scandal has received, it is not surprising that many organizations are reluctant to store sensitive data in cloud environments. What is surprising is that when Lieberman Software conducted the same survey in November 2012, 48 percent of the respondents said they were discouraged from using the cloud because of fears of government snooping. A majority (86 percent) of the respondents to that survey preferred to keep more sensitive data in their own network rather than in the cloud.

So it appears that trust in the security of the cloud has actually increased over the last year, in spite of the enormous impact of the NSA scandal, Lieberman Software points out.

The fact that the government is snooping within IT environments and on phone calls is not a big revelation, says Calum MacLeod, vice president of EMEA for Lieberman Software. He adds that when the NSA scandal broke, it should not have come as a surprise to individuals who work in the security industry.

"Government surveillance has been around for a long time, and unless individuals or companies are doing something against the law, it shouldn't be a concern," MacLeod says. "Security professionals realize that the major cloud service providers offer very comprehensive security. Ultimately, their willingness to invest in technology to protect their clients probably offers a more secure environment than offshoring companies."

This article was originally published on 2014-04-16

Bob Violino is a Baseline contributor and the editorial director at Victory Business Communications.

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