Thales News Release

85% Of Enterprises Keeping Sensitive Data In The Cloud – 70% Very Or Extremely Concerned About It 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report – Cloud, Big Data And IoT Edition

February 24, 2016

Sensitive Information in big data environments rises to 50%, IoT 33%

SAN JOSE, Calif. – February 24, 2016 – Thales, a leader in enterprise data security for physical, big data, public, private and hybrid cloud environments, today announced the results of its cloud, big data and IoT focused edition of the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report (DTR) issued in conjunction with analyst firm 451 Research. Polling for the report features the responses of 1,100 senior IT security executives at large enterprises worldwide. This edition of the 4th annual report extends earlier findings in the global edition with a focus on the risks to data in emerging cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) usage by enterprises. Find both reports here.


ClickToTweet: 85% of Enterprises store sensitive data in the cloud. 70% are very concerned

“Security is still an afterthought when it comes to adopting new technologies, often taking a back seat amidst the rush to stake a claim in a promising new market,” said Garrett Bekker, senior analyst, information security, at 451 Research and the author of the report. “We found that enterprises are storing sensitive data in just these types of environments – 85% in cloud, 50% in big data, and 33% in IoT. Many have strong concerns about the security of their data as a result.”

Storage of critical information within cloud and big data environments also continues to increase, adding to these concerns:

  • Cloud: 85 percent of respondents using sensitive data in the cloud, up from 54 percent last year
  • Big Data: 50 percent using sensitive data within big data implementations, up from 31 percent previously

Focus on the Cloud

Even as they move forward with adopting cloud services, and in some cases believe that cloud environments are more secure than their local IT infrastructure, Enterprises remain concerned about the security of their information. When respondents were asked about the top data security concerns for cloud services:

  • 70 percent (75 percent U.S.) note security breaches / attacks at the service provider
  • 66 percent (73 percent U.S.) cite increased vulnerabilities from shared infrastructure
  • 66 percent (70 percent U.S.) call out lack of control over the location of data
  • 65 percent (71 percent U.S.) selected lack of a data privacy policy or privacy service level agreement

In addition, for cloud service providers who want to grow their enterprise business, respondents cited four top changes that would increase their willingness to use cloud services:

  • 48 percent (49 percent U.S.) asked for encryption of data with enterprise key control on their premises
  • 36 percent (35 percent U.S.) desired detailed physical and IT security implementation information
  • 35 percent (34 percent U.S.) selected encryption of their organization’s data within the service provider’s infrastructure
  • 27 percent (global and U.S.) also wanted exposure of security monitoring data for their information.

The most notable change from last year’s results concerned where encryption keys should be managed or stored. In the 2015 report, management of keys by service providers, or locally by the enterprise were very close to equally rated. This year enterprises seem to have realized that control and management of encryption keys is the critical link in securing their data in the cloud. With only 35 percent citing management of encryption keys by the cloud provider as a way to increase their usage of cloud, down from 53 percent last year.

ClickToTweet: The top way to protect your cloud data? 48% say encrypt it and keep the keys

"At QTS, our data center, cloud, hosting and managed services offerings are designed to meet and exceed enterprise needs for compliance, safety and security,” said Peter Weber, Chief Product Officer, QTS. “The results of the report highlight the needs of organizations to work with partners like QTS to secure environments and help protect them from data breaches and meet compliance requirements while providing the flexibility needed to grow business.”

Focus on Big Data

With 50% of all respondents planning to store sensitive information within big data environments (up from 31% last year), big data environments now become a much greater concern for enterprises as a possible point of compromise, and as a focus for compliance efforts. As these environments hold a growing share of an enterprise’s sensitive information, the challenges for organizations that need to secure their data grows. Essentially, the entire environment requires protection, as data migrates to wherever needed for analysis within big data implementations.

Results we found bear this out, with organizations seeing many potential points of concern. Top 5 concerns included:

  • Security of the reports produced – as they may include sensitive data (42%)
  • Sensitive information may reside anywhere within the environment (41%)
  • Privacy violations from data originating in multiple countries (40%)
  • Privileged user access to protected data in the implementation (37%)
  • Lack of security frameworks and controls within the environment (33%)

In addition, big data projects frequently rely on cloud-based service delivery, causing double jeopardy issues. For many organizations the threats found in cloud environments are then added to their concerns with big data.

Focus on IoT

“IoT promises to present a security hurdle of epic proportions,” emphasized Bekker. “Given the vast amounts of data that could theoretically be generated by IoT devices and platforms, much of it sensitive in nature, enterprises would be well served to develop corporate policies that clearly delineate what will be collected, who will have access, how the data is used, and how long it will be retained.”

Though only 33% of organizations expect to have sensitive data within IoT implementations, they have strong concerns about the safety of that information:

  • Protecting sensitive data generated by IoT (35%)
  • Privacy violations (30%)
  • Identifying which data is sensitive (29%)
  • Privileged user access to IoT data and devices (28%)
  • Attacks on IoT devices may impact critical operations (27%)

Fueling these concerns may also be the intersection of IoT with big data, which has the potential to create a new class of risks. This class of risks centers on the potential for privacy violations when large, seemingly innocuous IoT data sets are combined, or are analyzed in conjunction with other information.

“As cloud, big data and IoT adoption accelerates, these technologies continue to bring new sets of unique risks to organizations,” said Tina Stewart, VP of marketing for Thales. “These risks are driven by the nature of these emerging technology solutions, and the breakneck speed at which new offerings are being developed. With the recent emergence of offerings that have increased data security options built in, or available through partners, service providers and offerings are gradually making available the security controls that enterprises need to meet regulatory and compliance obligations as well as other data security requirements. But there is still much work to be done.”

The survey results and research reports are available from Thales and can be found here.


The data in this study is based on Web and phone interviews of 1,114 senior executives in Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the U.S. Most have a major influence on or are the sole decision maker for IT at their respective companies.

Respondents represented the following industries: automotive; education; energy; engineering; federal government; healthcare; IT; retail; and telecommunications.

About 451 Research

451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company. With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, we provide essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to over 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group.

About Thales

Thales comprehensive high-performance data security platform helps companies move confidently and quickly. Our seamless and scalable platform is the most effective way to protect data wherever it resides—any file, database and application in any server environment. Advanced transparent encryption, powerful access controls and centralized key management let organizations encrypt everything efficiently, with minimal disruption. Regardless of content, database or application—whether physical, virtual or in the cloud—Thales Data Security enables confidence, speed and trust by encrypting the data that builds business.

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