Demand for cloud solutions is rising – and so are concerns about the security of data and connected devices. Hackers are not the only threats here – users are equally mistrustful of government misdoing.
There is no absolute security, whether in the cloud or on your own servers. But with online storage especially, we keep seeing new headlines about companies whose data has been accessed by attackers and misused, sold or made public. Even big names like Sony and Yahoo are not safe – which continues to raise doubts about the cloud among users.
This is confirmed in a study conducted by Techconsult on behalf of Nfon. German companies belonging to a wide range of sectors, sizes and organizational structures were surveyed. Over half of surveyed companies with more than 1,000 employees admitted to having real concerns about the cloud, particularly fears of losing control over their own data.
Still, the decision for or against the cloud has long been made for companies: According to technology market researcher IDC , revenue from public cloud services in Germany alone will rise to €6.7 billion by 2019. The public cloud market is thus growing ten times faster than the overall market for hardware, software and IT services. For the worldwide public cloud services market, IDC forecasts 19.4 percent growth by 2019.
The market researchers even assume that by the end of the coming year, a third of the top 20 companies in each sector will come under pressure from competitors to build their business models around new technologies such as the cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social.
Moreover, the security issue is not a simple one. Targeted attacks from outside rarely present the biggest risk. The problem more likely is sitting in front of the monitor: Even the best hardware and software is useless when users and employees do not understand the possible threats and risks to data security and are not trained in proper security approaches.
This starts with the use of strong passwords. According to a survey by the German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) , almost half of respondents use the same password for different online services. It continues with the proper use of cloud storage, with many employees failing to comply with bans on the use of services such as Dropbox for reasons of convenience. And there’s the loss of physical devices.
The location of cloud storage is also important for many companies. At the latest since the US Patriot Act and the associated possibility for the government to search others' data, European companies at least have preferred to keep their sensitive information on their own continent. In the era of global networks that is no easy task. But ever more providers, including Microsoft, are now guaranteeing storage exclusively on domestic servers.
Sophisticated encryption, as whistleblower Edward Snowden has recommended , has now become standard for many providers. Manufacturers such as Stormshield and eperi (Hall 6, Stand G16) also offer software that encrypts data even before it is uploaded. With eperi it is even guaranteed “no back door”: The software code is open source and leaves no room for hidden doorways .
Still, comprehensive data security, while sought after by business, is not always the goal of lawmakers. Particularly when it comes to encrypted information exchange via messaging apps – which is useful to companies in terms of collaboration possibilities – Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and his French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve recently demanded that the courts be given access to information. Opposition to this demand was quick to appear: The German “Young Digital Economy” Advisory Board and the French national digital advisory council immediately called for a "right to encryption" .
The race between users and hackers is thus joined by an additional participant: the judiciary. Because even if messaging services have to give in to the requirement of a “judicial key,” potential terrorists are unlikely to be scared away.
Cybercrime, darknet, hackers – or simply ignorant users: The threats of cybercrime are manifold – but the digital sector has solutions. That is why CeBIT is devoting a special area in Hall 6 to the topic of IT security, together with prestigious speakers at the CeBIT Global Conferences. One highlight: The world's most famous whistleblower, Edward Snowden , is streaming in via video on 21 March at 5:30 PM from his Russian exile to speak to visitors at the CeBIT Global Conferences .