Assigning accountability for cloud security

When a company purchases cloud services from a third-party do those services include security, or is the organization still responsible for its own security? Regardless of which entity is ultimately responsible for security, it seems like it would be an important thing to clarify and define up front to avoid issues down the road.

I wrote a blog post about a recent study exploring who is responsible for cloud security:

The cloud has achieved mainstream status and most companies have at least some cloud footprint by this point. As with all things technology the question of security only seems to come up after the fact. So, now that companies are working with cloud service providers there is a potential conflict over who should be accountable for making sure the cloud is secure.

Armor—formerly FireHost—sponsored a Ponemon Institute study called Cloud Security: Getting It Right to explore this issue and learn more about the state of cloud security. The report is the result of surveying 990 IT professional managers and executive leaders from organizations that process business-critical data in the cloud or store sensitive business data in a cloud environment.

When an organization purchases cloud services or infrastructure from a third-party provider who is responsible for security? Should the cloud service provider ensure the environment and applications are secure, or is the business itself still responsible for its own security even in the cloud? Or is it somewhere in the middle—and if so, how do you draw the line to distinguish between which entity is responsible for which elements of security?

Cloud Security: Getting It Right uncovered some concerns when it comes to this quandary. More than 60 percent of respondents indicated that security is rarely or never a consideration when evaluating cloud services. Only 15 percent believe that the onus for securing SaaS (software-as-a-service) applications falls on the company’s own IT security team.

Some of the key findings from the study are:

· Fifty-six percent of respondents say the ability to save money is by far the primary reason to use cloud resources

· Only 33 percent of respondents say they have confidence they are meeting security objectives in the cloud

· Seventy-nine percent of respondents say security is important always or most of the time; 74 percent say compliance is considered important always or most of the time.

You can see the full post at CSOOnline: Who is responsible for cloud security? 


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