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'Impending security standoff' between customers and cloud providers

Many cloud providers allocating less than 10% of resource to security, Ponemon study claims

The majority of cloud computing providers allocate just 10 per cent or less of IT resources to security, according to a survey from CA and security research firm the Ponemon Institute.

The research showed that less than half of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that "security is a priority". The study found that cloud providers are more focused on delivering benefits such as reduced costs and speed of deployment, rather than security.

Ponemon surveyed 103 cloud service providers in the US and 24 in six European countries for a total of 127 separate providers.

The results of the survey, said the companies, suggest there is a "pending security standoff between cloud providers and cloud users".

The study, "Security of Cloud Computing Providers", showed the majority of cloud providers (79 percent) allocate just 10 percent or less of IT resources to security or control-related activities.

"The focus on reduced cost and faster deployment may be sufficient for cloud providers now, but as organisations reach the point where increasingly sensitive data and applications are all that remains to migrate to the cloud, they will quickly reach an impasse," said Mike Denning, general manager for Security at CA Technologies.

He said, "If the risk of a breach outweighs potential cost savings and agility, we may reach a point of 'cloud stall' - where cloud adoption slows or stops, until organisations believe cloud security is as good as or better than enterprise security."

Other findings of the research found that less than 20 percent of cloud providers across the US and Europe viewed security as a competitive advantage.

And the majority of cloud providers (69 percent) believed security is primarily the responsibility of the cloud user. Just 16 percent of cloud providers felt security is a shared responsibility.

"Given the well-publicised concerns about the potential risks to organisations' sensitive and confidential information in the cloud, we believe it is only a matter of time until users of cloud computing solutions will demand enhanced security systems," said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute.

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