That old Pink Floyd chestnut "Wish You Were Here" is sadly applicable to some of today's IT pros, who, according to a recent survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Hitach, still see the cloud as a major concern when it comes to privacy.
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears
Wish you were here.
~Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
In fact, the biggest concerns about a "failed cloud implementation" was loss of customer data at 46 percent, followed by loss of revenue at 40 percent and breach of customer privacy with 36 percent. Since the totals add up well over 100 percent, respondents clearly could choose more than one selection, but of the top 3, two involved data privacy.
The survey of 232 IT executives from around the world shows that some of the same old fears dominate, and it's a little disappointing, especially when you consider that the most egregious breaches and customer data losses didn't involve the cloud. They were at in-house data centers at Anthem, JP Morgan, and Sony, among others.
There is this prevailing belief that the cloud is somehow less safe than the privately run data. Overall, the cloud has proven surprisingly secure, and it's the in-house data centers that have been more vulnerable.
More Relevant Data Loss Fears
One person told me after speaking recently to a group of CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) that the biggest concern wasn't actually about the cloud. It was about the loss of control of data to third-party vendors. The fact is that the types of data loss fears found in The Economist survey results are less likely to happen in the cloud—and much more likely to leak out through a third-party vendor with access to your customer data.
What today's IT pros need to do is figure out where the real vulnerabilities lie. Some obviously have been able to do that, while others (like the survey respondents) seem to be having a harder time.
There is this idea that you are protected behind your firewall. It's not really the case anymore as widespread data loss and highly publicized breaches have proven companies cannot stop determined hackers using yesterday's tools.
A whole new security industry is developing around the idea of finding more creative ways to protect the enterprise, and the firewall doesn't really help when people create terrible passwords and hackers find creative ways to phish information or exploit various vulnerabilities in any security system.
The cloud isn't necessarily a panacea, but you need to find the the real issues. Concentrating on the wrong ones means your operating on the same old fears, not the current or future ones.
The hackers are happy you're living in the past, but if you are, you need to join us in the present to solve the current set of problems. Wish you were here.
Photo Credit: The Economist Intelligence Unit, "Preparing for next-generation cloud: Lessons learned and insights gained," page 19.
Photo Credit: János Pálinkás on Flickr. Used under CC by 2.0 license.