Cloud Adoption Continues, Though Security Concerns Persist

Cloud adoption rose 71 percent from 2014 to 2015 across all industries despite lingering major gaps in security, including ways of mitigating risk such as the adoption of SSO technology. These were some of the findings from a Bitglass study based on analysis of real-world traffic data from more than 120,000 global organizations across 20 industry verticals, including finance, health care, education and government. One notable finding: While cloud adoption has doubled year-over-year in unregulated industries, it has nearly tripled in regulated industries—a massive change from 2014. “Two major factors have led to the increase in cloud adoption in regulated industries,” Rich Campagna, vice president of products and marketing at Bitglass, told eWEEK. “Cloud apps have proven to be cost effective and reliable, while helping business become more agile. At the same time, the industry has responded to compliance and security concerns with cloud data protection solutions through cloud access security brokers.” He noted the increase in cloud adoption within finance, from 9.5 percent in 2014 to 37.5 percent in 2015, coincides with rapid adoption of third-party cloud encryption tools that allow these organizations the flexibility of the public cloud, with the security of a private data center. “The rapid increase in adoption within financial services was the most surprising finding from the survey,” Campagna explained. “The sector, subject to a great deal of regulation, has long resisted the move to public cloud apps in an effort to retain control over the infrastructure where their data is stored.” Health care has grown to 37 percent cloud adoption, up from only 8 percent in 2014, but it still remains a laggard due in part to HIPAA compliance concerns. “As sensitive financial and health information moves to the cloud in 2016, the valuable trove of data stored in these cloud apps is bound to become a target for hackers,” Campagna said. “This threat will likely drive organizations to require single sign-on, multi-factor, and other more secure means of authenticating users before allowing access to this sensitive corporate data.” While education is moving to the cloud faster than any other vertical, with an overall adoption rate of 83 percent, the industry has not shown a strong preference for one cloud app over another, with 42 percent on Google apps and 41 percent on Office 365. Furthermore, the report found only 6.8 percent of the institutions with Google Apps and 13 percent of institutions with Office 365 use single sign-on, the most basic cloud security function.