Study: Cloud an important part of data security, disaster recovery

May 30, 2012

Business continuity plans in the event of a disaster are increasingly reliant on cloud computing, according to a study by a telecommunications company. Cloud security, performance capabilities and opportunities to save long-term money were the primary motivating factors for the 38 percent of respondents who invested in cloud computing technology.

Data loss prevention as a whole proved to be an important issue for businesses as they looked to prepare for potential disaster, with 83 percent of those surveyed indicating that planning and implementing a business continuity plan was a top priority, a 12 percent jump from the 2011 study.

The fear of physical and natural disaster was prominent for many companies in the initial planning, although 67 percent indicated that a "virtual event" - such as a hacker or other data security breach - is accommodated for in their plan. A state or federal disaster warning would initiate protective measures for 71 percent of companies.

Small companies and the cloud
While the one study focused just on companies that bring in at least $25 million annually, a separate study from a software security firm focused on smaller companies. In that study, the benefits of data security in the cloud was partly to thank for switching disaster preparations into the cloud.

That study found that 37 percent of companies that switched to a private cloud cited disaster preparedness as a major contributing factor. Those who switched to the public cloud were hardly less confident, with 34 percent switching for the same reason. In both instances, those who had already switched when they were surveyed saw improvement in their security.

Worried over mobile
Cloud computing and mobility go hand in hand, especially when part of a disaster preparedness plan. IT executives who responded in the telecommunications company's survey were looking at a mobile shift much of the time, with 60 percent looking to invest in mobile technologies.

However, this forward-looking jump to mobile comes at a price. Increased spending on mobile security is anticipated by 52 percent of executives, as 87 percent are concerned about the threats that increased use of mobile networks brings. Sixty-nine percent thought that mobile's potential security breaches were the most pressing concern.

No such concerns were echoed about cloud computing in itself, as worries about how to secure cloud computing seemed to take a back seat to the benefits that the technology has to offer.

-McAfee Cloud Security