Cyber security company McAfee has revealed the latest findings from its third annual cloud adoption and security report.
The McAfee report outlines the cloud adoption, the primary concerns with private and public cloud services, security implications and the evolving impact of unmanaged cloud use for the more than 1,400 information technology (IT) professionals surveyed.
97 percent of IT professionals are using some type of cloud service and are concurrently working through issues related to visibility and control.
The combination of public and private cloud is also the most popular architecture, with 59 percent of respondents now reporting they are using a hybrid model,
Lack of adequate visibility and control is the greatest challenge to cloud adoption in an organization.
The business value of the cloud—Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS)—is so compelling that some organizations are plowing ahead.
While private-only usage is relatively similar across all organization sizes, hybrid usage grows steadily with organization size, from 54 percent in organizations up to 1,000 employees, to 65 percent in larger enterprises with more than 5,000 employees.
“Despite the clear prevalence of security incidents occurring in the cloud, enterprise cloud adoption is pressing on,” said Rajiv Gupta, senior vice president of the cloud security business unit, McAfee. “By implementing security measures that allow organizations to regain visibility and control of their data in the cloud, businesses can leverage the cloud to accelerate their business and improve the security of their data.”
Cloud-First is an IT strategy that states new projects should consider using cloud technology first as opposed to on-premises servers or software. The report said Cloud-First is the strategy for IT in many companies and remains a primary objective.
Caution seems to have taken over for others, as the number of organizations with a Cloud-First strategy dropped from 82 percent to 65 percent this year. Despite all that, respondents with a Cloud-First strategy still believe that public cloud is safer than private cloud. They understand the risks, and yet the more they know, the more confident IT professionals are that Cloud-First is the course they want to be on.
The majority of organizations store some or all of their sensitive data in the public cloud, with only 16 percent stating that they store no sensitive data in the cloud. The types of data stored run the full range of sensitive and confidential information.
Personal customer information is by far the most common, reported by 61 percent of organizations.
Around 40 percent of respondents also store one or more of internal documentation, payment card information, personal staff data or government identification data. Finally, about 30 percent keep intellectual property, healthcare records, competitive intelligence and network pass cards in the cloud.
Prominently, 1-in-4 organizations that uses IaaS, PaaS or SaaS has had data stolen, and 1-in-5 has experienced an advanced attack against its public cloud infrastructure. As organizations prepare for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), slated for May 2018, they will be ramping up compliance efforts.
Organizations that are more confident in the ability of their cloud providers are more likely to have plans to increase their overall cloud investments in the coming year, while those less confident plan to keep their investments at the current level. Fewer than 10 percent surveyed, on average, anticipate decreasing their cloud investment because of GDPR.
Malware is a concern for all types of organizations and 56 percent of professionals surveyed said they had tracked a malware infection back to a cloud application, up from 52 percent in 2016.
Over 25 percent of the respondents said their cloud malware infections were caused by phishing, followed closely by emails from a known sender, drive-by downloads and downloads by existing malware.
The shortage of cybersecurity skills and its impact on cloud adoption continues to decrease, as those reporting no skills shortage increased from 15 percent to 24 percent this year. Of those still reporting a skills shortage, only 40 percent have slowed their cloud adoption as a result, compared to 49 percent last year. Cloud adoption rates are highest in those reporting the highest skills shortages.