infoTECH Feature

October 29, 2015

Consumers: The Cloud Looks Darker Than We Expected

While there's plenty of word about the positive aspects of the cloud, there's also a growing body of concern about this radical new tech. A new study from Radware shows that, for many consumers, the cloud is looking more ominous than friendly, and some real concerns are afoot.

The Radware report, titled “Mobile Application Security (News - Alert): Consumer Perspectives and Organizational Implications”, underscores many users' big problems with the cloud. Eighty-seven percent of respondents believed that cloud applications could be hacked, and 58 percent specifically worried about the personal data contained within cloud apps of choice.

An increasing number of users are turning to cloud-based services, but 55 percent of those who do don't believe that these apps are keeping the data involved secure. Worse, 69 percent believe that the more popular a cloud-based app is, the more likely it is to suffer a data breach due to its sheer popularity. Nearly one in 10 users—nine percent—reported that personal data had already been compromised due to a security breach.

That pessimistic view of the cloud's vulnerability should be taken seriously, however, as those impacted by data breaches plan to vote with collective feet. Over half of users (54 percent) would stop using a cloud-based service that had been hacked, and 85 percent expected some kind of compensation—at least identity protection—for those who had been hit with loss or damage following an attack. With data breaches in general on the rise, it's easy to be concerned about how the cloud handles personal data. Worse, for users, there's only so much that can be done in response; the user has little control over how the app treats data.

But it's also an opportunity for apps to gain competitive advantage; knowing what we know about how consumers perceive the cloud, we can also figure that if a company offered a particular breed of security, it would be well-received by those with concerns. Encrypting data, for example, might calm a lot of concerns instead of focusing just on perimeter defenses, because even if a data breach goes off successfully, nothing of value will be lost as the data is useless without the encryption key.

Those apps that can visibly show, and prove, how well data is protected within the confines of the app stand a better chance overall of coming out ahead. With concerns about the cloud and the data therein clearly on the rise, the idea that a competitive edge could be had just by displaying data security methods for users to see is an odd one, but one that might work out just the same.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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