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Cloud security fears persist, but data migration is a bigger issue

Matthew Finnegan | April 6, 2017
Data migration and network connectivity challenges are bigger issues that cloud security, Teradata says

cloud security

Businesses that consider moving their analytics to the cloud should be more concerned with data migration and network connectivity challenges than worries around security, according to Marc Clark, head of cloud strategy at data warehouse vendor Teradata.

Speaking at Teradata Universe in Nice this week, Clark discussed the findings of a customer survey which polled 900 senior business leaders from nine countries. This found that, unsurprisingly, growing amounts of business-critical data will reside in the cloud by 2019. There are clear reasons for this - for the most part the cloud is well suited to cost effectively running analytics on large volumes of data.

However, the survey also found that security remains a concern for those already using the cloud and a stumbling block for those who aren't. Forty percent of respondents see security as a risk, while 25 percent believe hosting data in the cloud will lead to more security breaches.

"It has been consistent for the last decade," Clark said of ongoing security threats. "Of the folks who are concerned with moving to the cloud, their main reason for not moving is security."

This is despite cloud security being "more robust and more reliable than on-premise security".

Clark highlighted a number of high profile breaches in the US, though there are numerous examples in any country. "Target, Home Depot et cetera, they all happened on premise," he said. "None of those happened in the cloud. So why are all these IT departments and all these people concerned about moving to the cloud?"

He said that there is a misconception about the safety of cloud computing: "When you look at Amazon and look at their security certifications, they have a 600-person security department. I don't think the biggest company in the world has that many security people for cyber security."

The second-biggest reason cited by survey respondents was cultural - specifically, buy-in from executives.

However, Clark suggested that there are other hurdles to cloud usage that are not discussed as often.

"The biggest stumbling block between a successful and unsuccessful cloud migration over time is network connectivity and the reliability of cloud," he said. "And that wasn't even mentioned [in the findings]."

Latency, for example, might not seem to be an issue until data is moved from an on-premise data centre into a more remote cloud facility. Clark cited one US Teradata customer which moved its "entire production" to its cloud facility in Nevada, with applications kept on-site in another state.

"They didn't realise they had latency problems until they did," he explained. "This is a big area that people aren't thinking about."


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