Category Archives: data protection

Ovum: Security skills shortage remains most prevalent barrier in cloud

Security skills shortages are hampering IT's ability to adopt cloud services

A security skills shortage is hampering cloud adoption

Security and an IT security skills shortage remain the most prevalent barriers to cloud uptake, according to Ovum principle analyst Andrew Kellett.

Although Ovum’s research suggests the volume of sensitive corporate data stored in the cloud continues to grow, with enterprise cloud adoption rates exceeding 80 per cent, in many cases this data is not adequately protected.

“Security, or lack thereof, is a significant issue. If there is one problem area inhibiting further adoption of cloud-based services, it is enterprise concerns about shortfalls in the protection regimes of many cloud service providers,” Kellet said, adding that since more sensitive data appears to be stored in the cloud the most basic security practices and controls aren’t necessarily enough.

“On too many occasions, security policies only come into place once a new technology has already gone mainstream, and this is certainly true of the cloud industry. Many cloud providers have been guilty of ‘bolting on’ security as an afterthought, something which has left previous generations of technology vulnerable to malware attacks, advanced persistent threats and other breach tactics.”

“Whether they like it or not, organisations are putting their trust in the hands of the service provider, often without being completely satisfied that such trust is justified or that service levels and protection can be maintained,” he concluded.

Other recently published research from Ovum suggests enterprises are quite concerned with how their cloud service providers implement security controls. The company recently surveyed 818 ITDMs for their views on cloud security and found that in the US specifically, respondents seemed most concerned about lack of control over the location of data (82 per cent), increased vulnerability of shared infrastructure (79 per cent), and “privileged user” abuse of the cloud service provider (78 per cent).

Microsoft, civil liberties renew calls for Patriot Act reform

Microsoft and close to 50 tech companies and civil liberties assocaitions have renewed calls to reform the US Patriot Act ahead of the expiry of the law's provisions governing bulk data collection

Microsoft and close to 50 tech companies and civil liberties associations have renewed calls to reform the US Patriot Act ahead of the expiry of the law’s provisions governing bulk data collection

Microsoft, along with nearly fifty other technology civil rights associations and technology firms have signed an open letter to senior members of the US government calling for reform of the Patriot Act, a cause célèbre for Microsoft among other cloud firms in recent years.

Microsoft has previously criticised the US government’s bulk data collection practices, and the ability of its authorities to act on warrants beyond US soil (particularly when such acts contradict local laws where those businesses operate).

In an open letter to very senior members of the US government including Michael Rogers, director of the NSA, senate minority leader Harry Reid, and US president Barack Obama, the organisations reaffirm the need to end the US government’s bulk data collection practices, and make government and corporate reporting on any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions more transparent.

The US Patriot Act Section 215, which currently serves as the legal basis for the NSA’s bulk collection of metadata, is due to expire in June this year.

“We the undersigned represent a wide range of privacy and human rights advocates, technology companies, and trade associations that hold an equally wide range of positions on the issue of surveillance reform. Many of us have differing views on exactly what reforms must be included in any bill reauthorizing USA Patriot Act Section 215,” the letter reads.

“That said, our broad, diverse, and bipartisan coalition believes that the status quo is untenable and that it is urgent that Congress move forward with reform.”

“It has been nearly two years since the first news stories revealed the scope of the United States’ surveillance and bulk collection activities. Now is the time to take on meaningful legislative reforms to the nation’s surveillance programs that maintain national security while preserving privacy, transparency, and accountability.”

Microsoft is among a range of technology companies in support of reforming how American legal entities treat data, both within the context of surveillance activities or general legal proceedings. But US lawmakers have signaled they are prepared to act on longstanding promises to reform the legal landscape. Last month American lawmakers introduced two bipartisan bills that seek to limit the reach of US courts over data stored in cloud services located outside the US, a move welcomed by a broad coalition of technology and telecoms firm – including Microsoft.