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New Cloud Security Alliance Survey Finds 67% of Organizations Already Store Sensitive Data in Public Cloud Environments

Confidential Computing in use by 27% of respondents, and 55% have plans to deploy it to lock down data and workloads
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The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment, today released Sensitive Data in the Cloud, the findings of which provide deeper insight into the industry’s knowledge, attitudes, and opinions regarding sensitive data in the cloud.

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“Increasingly, organizations are overcoming their initial apprehension around the cloud and its perceived security insufficiencies and are storing their sensitive data in public cloud environments with a growing use of Confidential Computing to protect workloads and ensure trust. In general, organizations have reservations about their own ability to protect their sensitive data in the cloud. By shedding light on these issues, we can find ways to address and eventually close the gap between the perceived effectiveness of cloud service providers’ (CSP) security controls and organizations’ lacking confidence in their abilities to protect sensitive data in the cloud,” said Hillary Baron, Senior Technical Director for Research, Cloud Security Alliance, and a lead author of the report.

The survey, which was sponsored by Anjuna Security, sought to better understand organizations’ needs pertaining to cloud use and data security, as well as their familiarity with the technologies surrounding these environments. Additionally, respondents were asked to share their approach to hosting sensitive data in the cloud and what they saw as security challenges and priorities for the coming year.

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Among the study’s key findings:

  • Most organizations already have sensitive data in the cloud. The majority of organizations surveyed (67%) host sensitive data or workloads in the public cloud.
  • 89% of respondents found that CSP security controls are effective, but organizations still aren’t confident in their own ability to protect sensitive data in the cloud. Most organizations report that their CSP security controls are highly effective (38%) or somewhat effective (51%). However, just under a third of organizations (31%) were not confident or only slightly confident about their ability to protect sensitive data in a cloud environment and another 44 percent reported they were only moderately confident.
  • Over a fourth of organizations (27%) surveyed are already using Confidential Computing to protect workloads.
  • Additionally, over half of organizations (55%) have plans to implement Confidential Computing within the next two years.

The survey was conducted online by CSA in April 2022 and received 452 responses from IT and security professionals from various organization sizes and locations. CSA research prides itself on vendor neutrality, agility, and integrity of results. Sponsors are CSA Corporate Members who support the findings of the research project but have no added influence on the content development or editing rights to CSA research.

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