COVID-19 has spurred businesses to migrate security operations to the cloud

Companies have increased their reliance on cloud-based security platforms to protect sensitive data as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

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In a world of increasing cyberthreats, including malware, ransomware, phishing attacks and other nefarious activity, organizations that have operated with traditional security deployment are now turning to the cloud for help. By moving security tools to the cloud, enterprises have experienced benefits such as real-time threat monitoring, and lower maintenance—as well as new security threats that have emerged.

Still, according to a new survey from Exabeam, cloud-based security tools are on the rise. The survey, which measured the attitudes of 131 UK security practitioners toward these systems in mid-June, illustrates a jump in cloud-security adoption from an earlier survey in March 2020. (According to TechRepublic's previous coverage, that survey showed that "52% of the respondents started moving to cloud-based security products during or before 2018. Some 18% waited until 2019, 3% began in 2020, 13% haven't yet started, and the rest don't know when they'll migrate.") The new results, however, which were taken after COVID-19 took hold, show that 88% of those surveyed cite the pandemic as a reason to migrate security to the cloud.

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The new survey shows that nearly half (44%) are deploying cloud-based security to protect sensitive financial data—only 12% reported to do this in March.

Security is still a concern, when it comes to cloud-based security platforms. More than half (56%) of respondents were concerned about data privacy, and 41% about data sovereignty, and 31% reported fears over unauthorized access. Overall adoption is still considered risky by 86%, and "high risk" by 47% of respondents. 

The vast majority, however, (87%), sees themselves as "well-equipped" to transition to cloud-based security. In terms of ensuring better visibility, 84% say they have made improvements as a result of COVID-19, and currently, 79% of respondents cite either "good" or "very good" visibility into their cloud applications. 

Moving to the cloud offers organizations the chance to reduce overhead (according to 13% of respondents). It also can improve monitoring, according to 21% of respondents, and increase access to features (20%). 

Corporate financial information is not the only asset protected by cloud security tools. Customer information (50%), file sharing, (48%), and email, (38%), are included. On top of security concerns, integration with tools (31%) and service disruptions (29%) are cited as problems with cloud-based security adoption. 

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"The momentum towards the adoption of security tools in the cloud has been building for some time. The sudden and—for many—unexpected move to remote working in March opened up the throttle for cloud-based security solutions as organizations had to migrate critical business data to the cloud almost overnight," said Samantha Humphries, security strategist at Exabeam. "Largely as a result of COVID-19, organizations that had adopted a 'wait and see' approach have had no choice but to climb aboard the cloud bus, regardless of their concerns."

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