Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Security Concerns Slowing Cloud Rollouts 

Security remains the greatest barrier to cloud adoption as more mobile applications are hosted by outside software and infrastructure service providers, according to a new survey. The vendor poll released this week also found that only 10 percent of cloud migrations have been completed as enterprises struggle with a host of security issues.

The digital transformation survey released Wednesday (Oct. 12) by "identity defined security" specialist Ping Identity Corp. found that security—particularly the mobile security and locking down mobile applications—are among the highest priorities for IT managers in the coming year. More than 90 percent of respondents cited those factors, while 86 percent cited cloud adoption as their highest priority.

Among the emerging cloud security issues is integrating suppliers and other partners into cloud deployments since partner networks were the source of recent security breaches at retailers such as Target and Home Depot. Those breaches were traced to the theft of vendor login credentials, highlighting the need, the identity management specialist argued, for tighter controls on "partner onboarding."

"IT decision makers rank security and identity management as the most critical to successfully achieving digital transformation," the Ping survey concluded.

Those concerns have slowed cloud deployments despite the fact that 86 percent of respondents said they must make the transition to compete. While less than 10 percent of those companies surveyed have completed their cloud deployment, about half have at least begun the process of migrating to public or private clouds. The Ping survey found that 38 percent have taken a hybrid approach that includes a mix of on-premises infrastructure along with private or public cloud components.

Only 7 percent of those surveyed said they do not use cloud infrastructure.

Despite security concerns raised by the use of mobile applications, the survey also found that three quarters of IT managers considered it easier to manage mobile app infrastructure in the cloud. Moreover, 82 percent said using the cloud allows them to more easily manage secure partner ecosystems.

Cloud transitions have made IT managers more aware of the complexities of security as more application workloads move off premises. The Ping survey found that 82 percent of those polled said they have dedicated more staff and resources to cloud security over the last two years while 36 percent said their IT security budget has doubled since 2014. A series of high-profile security breaches among large retailers has no doubt raised awareness of ongoing cloud vulnerabilities.

Not surprisingly, the security vendor concludes that identity and access management are among the keys to securing the cloud. As companies seek more customer interaction, they are providing employees with access to more mobile applications hosted in the cloud. "While it’s clear that companies are making significant progress in rolling out [software-as-a-service] and mobile apps to engage with customers and employees," the survey authors conclude, "security and identity management present the greatest challenges and opportunities for succeeding…."

Ping said its survey of 200 IT managers in the U.S. and Europe was conducted between Aug. 26 and Sept. 8.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).