SINGAPORE – February 4, 2013 – Organizations are widely migrating to the cloud to gain competitive advantages around speed, agility and flexibility according to Symantec Corp's. (Nasdaq: SYMC) recent Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey. In fact, 95 percent of organizations in Singapore are at least discussing cloud, up from 73 percent a year ago. Other key survey findings showed enterprises and SMBs are experiencing escalating costs tied to rogue cloud use, complex backup and recovery, and inefficient cloud storage. Rogue clouds are defined as business groups implementing public cloud applications that are not managed by or integrated into the company's IT infrastructure.
Industry experts predict several key issues will arise in 2013 focused on the financial pressures and security challenges of cloud computing. Business continuity is seen as an important issue with the increase in cloud outages posing greater risks than security breaches. Over the holidays, a leading cloud service provider experienced an outage, which they quickly remediated. This outage impacted businesses and posed important concerns around data loss prevention, backup, time spent on data recovery and the associated costs. However, with advance preparation, organizations can build safe, agile and efficient clouds that will enable them to meet their business goals.
"Almost all organizations in Singapore are now involved in cloud computing to some degree. While it is easy to see the potential benefits that cloud can bring, more businesses are expressing concerns in terms of security and compliance. To fully leverage the value of the cloud, organizations must look at controlling these risks by implementing people and information-centric policies and adopting platform agnostic tools," said Tan Yuh Woei, country director, Singapore, Symantec.
"At Symantec, we envision a future where clouds are safe. In addition to investing in cloud security innovations, we recognize the key role our partner community will play in this transition. Working closely together, we aim to help customers implement a safe and secure cloud strategy, improving their productivity and, ultimately, help them reach the true potential of cloud computing with confidence."
Rogue Cloud Implementations
According to the survey, rogue cloud deployments are one of the cost pitfalls. It is a surprisingly common problem, found in more than three quarters (85 percent) of businesses within the last year. Globally, it also seems to be an issue experienced more by enterprises (83 percent), due to their larger company size, than SMBs (70 percent).
Among organizations who reported rogue cloud issues, 31 percent experienced the exposure of confidential information, and more than a third (36 percent) faced account takeover issues. The most commonly cited reasons for undertaking rogue cloud projects were to save time and money.
Cloud Backup and Recovery Issues
Cloud is complicating backup and recovery. First, half of organizations in Singapore use three or more solutions to back-up their physical, virtual and cloud data—leading to increased IT inefficiencies, risk and training costs. Furthermore, 35 percent of organizations have lost cloud data (globally, this affects 47 percent of enterprises and 36 percent of SMBs), and most (67 percent) have experienced recovery failures.
Finally, most see cloud recovery as a slow, tedious process. Only 33 percent rate this is as fast and 16 percent estimate it would take three or more days to recover from a catastrophic loss of data in the cloud.
Inefficient Cloud Storage
One of the key advantages to cloud storage is how simple it is to provision. Sometimes this simplicity leads to inefficient cloud storage. Generally, organizations around the world strive to maintain a storage utilization rate above 50 percent. According to the survey, global cloud storage utilization is surprisingly low at 17 percent. There is a tremendous difference in this area between enterprises (which are utilizing 26 percent of their storage) and SMBs (which is a shockingly low seven percent). In Singapore, roughly half of organizations admit very little, if any, of their cloud data is deduplicated and 38 percent report moving files in a cloud environment being cumbersome, further compounding the problem.
Compliance and eDiscovery Concerns
According to the survey, 39 percent of organizations are concerned about meeting compliance requirements in the cloud, and a slightly larger number (63 percent) are concerned about being able to prove they have met cloud compliance requirements. This concern about information in the cloud is well founded, as 29 percent of organizations have been fined for cloud privacy violations.
eDiscovery is creating additional pressure on businesses to quickly find the right information. One-third of businesses reported receiving eDiscovery requests for cloud data. Of those, more than half (57 percent) have missed their cloud discovery deadlines, leading to fines and legal risks.
Data in Transit Issues
Organizations have all sorts of assets in the cloud – such as web properties, online businesses or web applications – that require SSL certificates to protect the data in transit whether it is personal or financial information, business transactions and other online interactions. The survey showed companies found managing many SSL certificates to be highly complex: Just 22 percent rate cloud SSL certificate management as easy and just under half (49 percent) are certain their cloud-partner's certificates are in compliance with corporate standards.
Hidden Costs Are Easily Avoided
The survey shows ignoring these hidden costs will have a serious impact on business. However, these issues are easily mitigated with careful planning, implementation and management:
- Focus policies on information and people, not technologies or platforms
- Educate, monitor and enforce policies
- Embrace tools that are platform agnostic
- Deduplicate data in the cloud
Symantec's Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey
Symantec's 2013 Cloud Survey is a result of research conducted by ReRez in September-October 2012. The full study represents 3,236 organizations from 29 countries. Responses came from companies with a range of five to more than 5,000 employees. Of those responses, 1,358 came from SMBs and 1,878 came from enterprises. In Singapore, 150 organizations were surveyed.
- Report: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey Results
- SlideShare: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud Survey 2013 Results
- SlideShare: Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud Survey SMB 2013 Results
- Information Unleashed Blog Post: Avoiding Hidden Costs in the Cloud
- The Confident SMB Blog Post: Avoiding Hidden Costs in the Cloud
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