The ‘Snowden effect’ shakes industry confidence in Cloud-based solutions

Industry news

London – June 2014 – Industry confidence in Cloud-based communication solutions has been rocked following Edward Snowden’s revelations about the scale of international data surveillance and high-profile data breaches, a survey reveals.

Despite the acknowledged economic benefits of outsourcing business functions to third party service providers, including reduced operational costs and streamlined processes, there is growing concern amongst IT professionals about the security of Cloud-based SaaS services and solutions – so much so that when selecting a new product or service, data security and information assurance are now regarded as being of equal importance to financial and efficiency gains.

The ‘2014: The Year of Encryption’ market survey examined the views of this year’s delegates at Europe’s largest information security event, Infosecurity Europe 2014. The majority of those surveyed acknowledged that Snowden had undermined users’ confidence in the perceived security of Cloud-based solutions, making them more aware of issues such as encryption, data residency and access control, and driving them to consider new information security systems.

In addition, those surveyed felt that the UK Government’s Certified Product Assurance (CPA) programme (led by CESG) is helping to simplify the procurement decision-making process, and with 83% of people saying their current system was either too complex or hard to use, new system ease of use was also regarded as crucial. Worryingly, 100% of those saying they were not interested in data security admitted to regularly sharing sensitive / confidential information with external third parties.

The key findings from the survey include:

  • Nearly two-thirds say that Snowden’s revelations have made them more aware of data security issues, of which approximately 70% have been directly influenced to look at new data security systems including email encryption and file encryption software
  • One-in-two people now perceive the Cloud to be less secure as a result of Snowden, with 78% suggesting the story will influence future IT provisioning
  • Only 17% of those surveyed said their existing secure information sharing system was easy to use
  • Worryingly, 100% of those not interested in security systems admitted to regularly sharing sensitive / confidential information with external third parties
  • Over two-thirds of people felt that Government certification combined with ease of use would be deciding factors when selecting a data security solution
  • One-third of those surveyed were not aware that upcoming reforms to the European Data Protection Act would impact the way they or their organisation handles and protects data

Reflecting on the results of the survey, Egress CEO Tony Pepper comments: “The close relationship we maintain with Egress customers means that we have become increasingly aware of a change in attitude towards the security of Cloud-based communication solutions – a view that the ‘2014: The Year of Encryption’ survey has now confirmed for the wider market.

“However, as the UK’s leading provider of Cloud-based encryption services that enable you to share all forms of electronic information, we have been able to add additional layers of security (encryption), access control and information assurance, thus reassuring customers that their data remains secure, no matter where it resides or who is accessing it. We feel that this demonstrates that Cloud-based solutions still have a key role to play, and assuming industry adopts the necessary levels of security, then concern over the protection and integrity of highly sensitive data should not be a factor.

“In fact, we actually see the influence of Snowden as a major positive for the information security market. Not only has it forced users to question the underlying security of their data but it is encouraging them to apply greater due diligence when procuring new solutions.”  

To view an infographic of the '2014: The Year of Encryption' survey findings, please click here.

*Statistics taken from the ‘2014: The Year of Encryption’ market survey conducted at Europe’s largest information security event, Infosecurity Europe, by Egress Software Technologies. 

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Our mission is to eliminate the most complex cybersecurity challenge every organization faces: insider risk. We understand that people get hacked, make mistakes, and break the rules. To prevent these human-activated breaches, we have built the only Human Layer Security platform that defends against inbound and outbound threats. Using patented contextual machine learning we detect and prevent abnormal human behavior such as misdirected emails, data exfiltration, and targeted spear-phishing attacks.

Used by the world’s biggest brands, Egress is private equity backed and has offices in London, New York, and Boston.

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