Cloud security still top concern for international companies

June 22, 2012

Compliance issues surrounding data security in the cloud are holding back cloud adoption, as companies that work all around the world are wary of the potential ramifications of a violation, according to GigaOM.

At a conference held by the news provider, international governance data protection laws were revealed to be the primary obstacle to migration. Security concerns shook many European customers in particular, as they feared not just new legislation in the European Union, but the reach of U.S. laws as well.

Perception versus reality
Juergen Urbanski, vice president of Cloud Architectures and Technologies for Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems, said he believes that the concerns about cloud security were a matter of misconception, not an indication of actual limitations.

"If you peel back the onion a little bit, about 90 percent of those concerns are really perception versus reality," Urbanksi told GigaOM. "In other words, it's evident to everyone that your money is better off in the bank, but with data, people are like, 'is it really safer in the cloud?' "

U.S. issues
One of the major issues for international companies, according to GigaOM, is the Patriot Act in the United States. Concerns over the special access to cloud servers that the law gives to the U.S. government have been around since the technology began its rise to prominence.

International law firm Hogan Lovells claims that the law provides the United States with no special privileges, according to PC World. Many other countries - including EU members Germany, France and the United Kingdom - have laws in place to give them the same access as that of the U.S.

That doesn't keep people from worrying about the law's reach.

"The issue of the U.S. Patriot Act is way overblown in the minds of European customers," Urbanksi told Giga OM. "They will go to great length to keep their data outside the realm of discoverability, outside of U.S. data centers or U.S.-run data centers."

Data portability
Under the new EU Data Protection Initiative, data is not allowed to be transported outside of member states. With many cloud providers based in the United States and owning server space throughout the world, guaranteeing protection can become a major issue that came into being only recently.

"If you rewind 15 years, these things weren't a problem because data portability was near impossible, so in some ways it's a problem of our own creation that is not a concern to most people," Tony Lucas, the founder of a Scottish cloud orchestration company told GigaOM. Most workloads now and ever are going to be whizzing around between different cloud platforms as fast as they possibly can, every time they can save a cent per hour on running it."

-McAfee Cloud Security