The demand for commercial cloud computing is rapidly growing worldwide, with experts predicting the market will grow to $246.8 billion this year, according to a report released by Gartner.
In Australia, the ABS reported that 31% of Australian businesses have now implemented cloud services into their business model. While 65% of businesses reported that nothing limited or prevented their use of cloud computing, 18% have neglected the service due to insufficient knowledge.
Another barrier to cloud implementation is the risk of a security breach. The ABS found 22% of businesses in the financial sector have not taken up the cloud due to this reason. This is not surprising considering the same percentage in this industry have experienced an internet security breach.
The culprit? Human error
While security breaches do occur, the majority of incidences arise not because of cloud insecurity, but because of human error and/or basic security negligence.
Last month, the personal data of 6 million Verizon customers were leaked online, due to a misconfigured security setting on a cloud server. A similar mistake was made by World Wrestling Entertainment, where an unencrypted database (with no access control or password protection) caused the personal data of 3 million wrestling fans to be exposed online.
These breaches could have easily been prevented with basic security care.
Is the cloud more secure?
Despite these recent breaches, Gartner predicts that by 2020, IaaS workloads will suffer 60% fewer security incidents that those in traditional data centres. To reduce the risk of human error, Gartner advises that processes should be predominantly automated.
Many IT professionals also favour cloud services, arguing it is more secure than legacy systems.
Some cloud-specific features that are absent from traditional systems include:
- Multi-layered security defences at data-centres
- Tightly controlled access
- Regular auditing
- Expertise of highly skilled IT professionals focusing on security
As more businesses make the transition from traditional systems to cloud computing, there will be a greater need to inform remaining businesses of the advantages of the cloud. Apart from security, other advantages of the cloud include business efficacy, and flexibility when it comes to data access.
Businesses that are aware of these advantages will be ahead of the game, and will be better equipped for today’s digital landscape.