The CXO view: We’re still unconvinced on cloud storage security

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.


Less than one in three delegates polled at the Infosec 2015 event in London believe the cloud is a safe storage solution for corporate data.

The survey from digital encryption and USB specialist iStorage, which questioned more than 270 respondents including heads of IT, CIOs and CTOs, saw almost half (48%) say they do use cloud technology to store confidential information. 54% of those polled say they still use USB devices to store information.

Over three quarters (78%) said they were currently aware of policies within their organisations covering data protection matters, while a similar number (75%) affirmed they knew who specifically was responsible for data protection within their firm. Yet the imminent EU data protection regulations – which this publication has recently covered – caused more of a pain point. Only 50% of respondents said they understood what the regulations would mean for them individually and their organisations.

John Michael, iStorage CEO, said: “Cloud technology may make life easier for mobile workers but it’s certainly not without its risks; it really should only be used to store encrypted, non-sensitive information.” He added: “Ultimately, the cloud concept refers to a physical data centre and as such users are very much reliant on trusting cloud providers to protect any information that they store in this way.”

This is not a view that everyone agrees with, however. Kelly Stirman, VP strategy at MongoDB, spoke at the recent Cloud World Forum event on five tips for making success a reality in the cloud. Subtitled “escaping cloud cuckoo land”, Stirman blasted a few myths out of the water; one of which being the security of the cloud.

“Cloud is not secure – [it’s] just not true,” he told CloudTech. “Most of these guys are vastly more secure than any of us can design in our own systems.” He added: “People tend to object to cloud, their operation [team’s] obligation…because it’s not secure. No, this thing is incredibly secure, but your ops teams need to know how to configure to be secure where you need to be secure.”

iStorage also argues that, for those who still like to use a USB to transport company information, robust encryption capabilities need to be fitted. By remarkable coincidence, the company is also hawking a new USB 3.0 drive, the datAshur SSD, with auto-lock features, self-destructing PIN and brute force protection.

Regardless, despite cloud storage providers beefing up their business credentials – Box’s customer wins with the US Department of Justice, Dropbox’s adoption of the ISO 27018 standard – there still remains a fair amount of scepticism over the validity of cloud among the C-suite.

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