Companies are moving to the cloud for computing power, database storage, content delivery and business applications as part of their information technology (IT) outsourcing strategies. The public cloud services market is expected to grow 18% in 2017 to reach $246.8 billion worldwide.[1]

Everyday business functions such as email, collaboration and ecommerce, as well as software development and other applications, have moved to cloud platforms. Many businesses cite agility, scalability, cost savings, innovation and flexibility as reasons for making the change.[2]

Industry experts note that moving to a remote cloud service from an on-premises data center improves enterprise IT security. In the near future, they see the cloud enabling an environment where IT security will be assumed as a fundamental utility.[3] Cloud providers have the ability to spend more than individual companies could for security measures, and they invest heavily in security protocols for data protection, data management and software application services.[4]

However, IT security is a shared responsibility between public cloud providers and users. Many companies still find cloud security to be a major challenge, as only one-third of sensitive data stored in cloud applications is protected by encryption.[5] Cloud users also retain responsibility for security in front-end areas such as threat and risk assessments, end-user training, data classification and identity management.[6]

Several providers such as Amazon and Microsoft have made massive investments to protect cloud servers. Microsoft researchers recently announced a technological breakthrough in Secure Data Exchange protocol that could lead to an industry-wide standard for cloud security. Its design negates the need for decryption of data stored in the cloud, making it harder for cybercriminals to obtain usable data for malicious intent.

[1] “Gartner Says Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market to Grow 18 Percent in 2017,” press release from Gartner, Inc., Feb. 22, 2017. Available at: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3616417

[2] “Gartner Says Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market to Grow 18 Percent in 2017,” press release from Gartner, Inc., Feb. 22, 2017. Available at: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3616417

[3] “Will the cloud be a safe haven for data in 2017?” by Ryan Francis, CSO Online blog, Jan. 4, 2017. Available at: http://www.csoonline.com/article/3153950/cloud-security/will-the-cloud-be-a-safe-haven-for-data-in-2017.html

[4] “Moving Up to the Public Cloud,” by Keith Button, CFO, May 2, 2017. Available at: http://ww2.cfo.com/the-cloud/2017/05/moving-public-cloud/

[5] Microsoft hails cloud security breakthrough with encrypted data,” by Caroline Donnelly, Computer Weekly blog, Aug. 10, 2016. Available at: http://www.computerweekly.com/news/450302292/Microsoft-researchers-hail-cloud-security-breakthrough-with-encrypted-data

[6] “Tackling Security in the World of the Cloud,” a white paper issued by New Signatures in conjunction with Microsoft, Jan. 26, 2017. Available for download at: https://newsignature.com/articles/new-signature-issues-white-paper-tackling-security-in-the-world-of-the-cloud/

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