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UAE still not convinced of cloud security

Frost & Sullivan survey shows companies still think data is safer inhouse

Cloud providers need to prove their security to gain customers, says Frost & Sullivan.
Cloud providers need to prove their security to gain customers, says Frost & Sullivan.

IT decision makers in the UAE are still not convinced of the security of cloud services, according to a study by Frost & Sullivan.

The ‘State of Cloud Computing Security in the UAE' study found that 40% of IT managers believe that corporate data is more secure when hosted in internal data centres, rather than in the cloud, while only 17% felt that cloud was more secure. The study of SMBs and enterprises with 500-plus users found that the majority of companies (55%) have not adopted cloud solutions yet. Of the cloud adopters, 41.4% have private cloud deployments, 37.9% are using public clouds and 20.7% hybrids.

The risk of data being stolen from cloud providers through identity theft or password cracking was cited as the main concern for companies who have not adopted the cloud, although those companies that had adopted cloud were far more concerned about the threat from malicious insiders. Other concerns included weak network security, shared technology vulnerabilities and data hijacking or interception.

Marius Miginis, research analyst, ICT Practice, MENA Frost & Sullivan said that cloud providers in the UAE need to prove they are able to offer secure solutions: "The key restraint is security - there is a UAE-wide opinion among IT managers that cloud services are less secure than managing data in-house. Therefore cloud security providers need to demonstrate their security solutions, which should include physical access to the facility, as well as protection of customer data be it at rest or in transit, and protection from either corruption of data or cyber attacks."

The awareness of cloud risks, and best practice to manage it, was varied among respondents, Miginis added. While 40% of respondents said they would do security assessment of a provider before taking up cloud vendor, and half felt it was important to educate cloud end users on security, the majority would have cloud security managed by the internal IT team, despite being aware of lack of inhouse skills or expertise on the subject.

"Many IT decision makers still need more information and training to make informed decisions on cloud security strategies within their own companies," he said.

Frost & Sullivan predicts that the cloud security market is set for strong growth in the UAE, from $10.3 million in 2013 to $72.3 million in 2019, and it will also become a more significant part of the overall network security market, going from 3.7% of spending in 2012 to 12.7% in 2019.

Demand for cloud security services is driven by increased usage of cloud, the rise in cyber attacks on organizations in the region, increased employee mobility, and a lack of regulation, which is leading companies to turn to third parties to ensure security. The market is held back by a lack of awareness, inconsistent network connections that can pose a threat to service provision, and absence of industry standards.