Rise of cloud computing has complicated the security landscape

4 Nov 2011

Nearly half of 10,000 business leaders surveyed globally believe that the onset of cloud technologies have improved security. However, nearly a quarter believe it has increased vulnerability.

According to the 2012 Global State of Information Security Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the rise of cloud computing has improved but also complicated the security landscape.

More than four out of ten respondents report that their organisation uses cloud computing. Of these, 69pc for software-as-a-service, 47pc for infrastructure-as-a-service and 33pc for platform-as-a-service.

“Companies now have greater insights than ever before into the landscape of cyber crime and other security events – and they’re translating these insights into investments on risk prevention and detection technologies,” Ciarán Kelly, consulting partner, PwC Ireland explained.

“Just a few years ago, almost half of this survey’s respondents couldn’t answer the most basic questions about the nature of security-related breaches, now approximately 80pc of respondents can provide specific information about the frequency, type and source of security breaches their organisations faced this year.”

Impact of mobile devices and social media on the security landscape

Mobile devices and social media represent a significant new line of risk – and a demand for prevention. Organisations are beginning to amplify their efforts to prevent mobile and social media based attacks.

Forty-three percent of respondents have a security strategy for employee use of personal devices, 37pc have a security strategy for mobile devices and 32pc have a security strategy for social media.

Increased awareness of attacks may correlate with organisations mobilising in certain areas of IT spending. Investments in application firewalls increased from 72pc last year to 80pc this year and malicious code detection tools have increased 11 full percentage points—from 72pc last year to 83pc his year.

Managing security-related risks associated with partners, vendors and suppliers has always been an issue – according to this year’s survey it is getting worse.

Seventeen percent of respondents identify customers as the source of security breaches, up slightly from last year (12pc) and 15pc have identified partners or suppliers as the source.

 “Business leaders are seeing an increased risk associated with potential weaker partners and suppliers who have been adversely impacted by the economic conditions,” Kieran Mongan, consulting senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, explained.

“Companies need to be vigilant that vulnerabilities existing in partners’ or suppliers’ infrastructures do not unduly expose the security of their information assets. However, for years the most commonly suspected source of breaches has been employees, both current and former – and this remains the case today.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years