Most European businesses don't trust cloud services

Recent research suggests European business are very concerned about the security and transparency of cloud services, which they blame for increased data breaches.

Some 72 percent of European businesses accuse cloud providers of failing to meet data protection and privacy standards, and 77 percent doubt that their cloud service providers would notify them straightaway if information was breached. The findings in the Netskope study, “Data Breach: The Cloud Multiplier Effect in European Countries” also revealed that 53 percent of respondents believe using a cloud increases the likelihood of data breaches.

With the cost per compromised record averaging £107, the loss of 100,000 records could cost an organisation more than £10 million. According to the report, growth in cloud storage usage sees the estimated probability of a data breach going up by 126 percent. A study by the Ponemon Institute found that when using the cloud, data breaches increase the expected economic impact by up to three times.

Almost two thirds (64 percent) of IT professionals believed that their organisation's use of cloud services reduces its ability to protect confidential information, and 59 percent believed it made it difficult to secure applications used for business.

Sanjay Beri, chief executive officer and co-founder of Netskope told reporters: “This study proves that some companies are struggling with shadow IT and need much more visibility into what data and apps are being accessed in the cloud and guidance on how they should analyse vendors. We all know that cloud can offer productivity gains, but these shouldn't come at the expense of security. Our respondents agreed that cloud has the potential to be more secure than on-premises IT, but this is only true if they have policy enforcement capabilities coupled with deep contextual visibility into cloud transactions — especially those involving sensitive data.”

Comparing this study with a previous Netskope and Ponemon Institute reports, European organisations were more confident the security of the cloud than US organisations. The number of US respondents that claimed their organisations didn't secure data well stood at 51 percent, which was double the percentage of European respondents who felt the same.

Dr Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of Ponemon Institute issued a statement saying : “I suspect that the low vote of confidence in cloud vendors we're seeing (in Europe) is due to this heightened scrutiny (referring to the data protection act) and a ‘fear of the unknown.' Overcoming this takes a better understanding of a vendor's security precautions and how people are using the cloud in the first place. Businesses that demand more vendor transparency and seek efficient methods for evaluating apps and directing usage will find it easier to embrace the cloud and move past this period of uncertainty.”