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Security Leads SaaS Checklist But What About Vendor Viability?

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One of the biggest concerns for organisations considering moving IT to the cloud has traditionally been security. From the earliest days of the cloud computing boom, fears about security invariable top the list of reason for not moving to the cloud.

A recent study by BT reveals that 76 percent of IT decision makers say security is their main concern about using cloud-based services.

But by giving so much importance to security in the SaaS selection process, there is a risk that decision makers overlook another very important issue, namely vendor viability.

The consequences of a data breach can be serious but usually not enough to inflict lasting damage on the affected business.

But if a SaaS provider is forced to pull the plug on a business-critical service, the consequences can be fatal for those business customers that do not have a SaaS escrow agreement in place.

That’s not to minimise the importance of data security, particularly in the light of the high-profile data breaches that hit a growing range of businesses — US retailer Home Depot being the most recent firm to report possible theft of customer data.

But the reality is that the data breaches that regularly hit the headlines almost invariably involve hackers penetrating corporate firewalls or using other techniques to steal data from inside an organisation.

Very few data breaches involve cloud-based services, even though they make an obvious target for hackers, particularly now that more organisations are using the cloud to store proprietary and custodial data.

So is this perception that the cloud is insecure overblown?

Databarracks, a UK-based hosting provider, attributes this problem to the fear of the unknown. It commissioned research that shows that the perceived security threats associated with cloud services become less of an issue as businesses adopt more cloud services.

Its research found that 81 per cent of organisations that had adopted no cloud services rated security as a top factor to consider when selecting a potential provider.

But once an organisation has adopted two or more cloud services, the importance of security falls to just 44 per cent with factors such as provider reputation becoming much more important overall.

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