That’s the unmistakable takeaway from a new snap poll conducted by cloud security company HyTrust. A staggering 72.5 per cent of nearly 2,000 respondents offered a resounding “No” to the question: “Do you REALLY believe organizations care about your private data and keeping it safe and secure?”While always in the news, the issue of information security has taken on greater urgency in recent months, due in part to a rash of high-profile data breaches. American retailer Target is still reeling from a series of revelations about the theft of confidential information late last year, with private data on some 100 million customers compromised. Other companies, including Neiman-Marcus, Adobe among others, have also faced data breach issues. “A survey like this is basically a snapshot in time, not a full measure of public opinion, but the high level of distrust is still breathtaking,” says Eric Chiu, co-founder and president of HyTrust. “Many organizations maintain that they’re doing everything they can to protect private customer information, but the public at large believes otherwise. And in industries where data security is vital—retail, financial services and healthcare, for example—this lack of confidence will inevitably have a negative impact on the bottom line.” Most large organisations claim to have iron-clad security measures in place, guided by strict industry guidelines and compliance mandates. Yet, as the poll results demonstrate, most consumers don’t have the confidence needed to ensure smooth business operations. Concerns about security are also being heightened by the ongoing mass-migration to cloud computing and virtualized infrastructures. The concentration of systems, networks and data naturally carries with it a concentration of risk. There have already been numerous cases of data theft and system crashes, in part because of the wide level of access granted to enable routine business operations. In fact, many of the major problems that have emerged recently stemmed from inside the organization, or by privilege hijacking or stolen credentials, and once the bad guys gain access this way, they look exactly the same as the good guys. “Cloud security is not a simple or single issue—these are complex infrastructures with multiple levels of entry and egress, and ensuring the sanctity of the data requires a comprehensive strategy rather than a jumble of technologies and policies,” Chiu adds.
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