As the use of cloud computing becomes more prevalent, a major topic of discussion within enterprises has been the safety of the technology. While many organizations have implemented the cloud, some are still skeptical of its ability to sufficiently protect sensitive information and reduce the chance of a data breach. In fact, a survey of CIOs earlier this year revealed that 70 percent consider security concerns to be the biggest barrier to cloud deployment, NetworkComputing reported.

Another survey recently released by InformationWeek Reports found that IT decision-makers are most worried about security and data resiliency when considering the cloud. Four of the top 10 concerns about cloud computing were related to those two topics. However, there seemed to be a discrepancy in the level of concern about security and the level of trust in the cloud’s ability to protect an enterprise network. While 17 percent of those surveyed said the cloud significantly increases the chances of a data breach, 14 percent said the technology decreases the likelihood and 35 percent reported that the cloud has no impact on the occurrence of a security intrusion at all.

According to a separate study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the cloud is safer depending on what segment of the enterprise you ask. Almost two-thirds of business leaders surveyed said that IT security is not compromised by use of cloud computing, and 35 percent reported an increase in security due to the cloud.

Increased enterprise oversight greatly improves cloud security
One reason there is a perceived lack of security in the cloud is due to an overall insufficient use of encryption. According to information from SafeNet, only 38 percent of U.S. companies encrypt important data. Such statistics reveal that cloud computing isn’t unsafe so much as enterprises don’t take the steps to secure their information residing in the cloud. Another easily avoidable security issue is the lack of involvement of IT security staff in cloud decision-making. In a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, nearly 40 percent of IT security professionals reported that they were rarely involved in decisions related to procuring cloud services, and 9 percent reported never being included at all.

Many of the security risks enterprise decision-makers believe are caused by the cloud are actually the result of insufficient data security policies and a lack of involvement from in-house IT staff. While it is nearly impossible to completely prevent a data breach from ever occurring on an accessible network, there are ways to greatly reduce the likelihood of a breach and dramatically improve the security of enterprise information storage.

Organizations commonly have concerns about the privacy of information stored with a third-party provider in a multi-tenant environment. These fears can easily be quelled through the use of a private cloud platform or a hybrid solution. Only one company’s information is stored within a private environment, which eliminates the chance of outside eyes prying on sensitive data. With a hybrid option, the most privileged information is stored in a private environment and less critical data and applications are kept in a more accessible public area.