How Vulnerable is the 'Cloud'?

Modern 'Cloud Computing' operating methodology is rapidly adapted by the commercial sector but for many in the government, defense and intelligence sectors these concepts are becoming a nightmare, for the serious security risk they present to companies, and to national security, unless adequate security measures are taken. While the 'Cloud' provides for efficient utilization of human resources, knowledge and infrastructure through collaboration and seamless access to information, it could also be vulnerable to attack, particularly by Active Persistent Threats (APT). According to a survey published by Lockheed Martin and its Cyber Security Alliance, 70% of government technology decision makers in federal, defense/military and intelligence agencies were most concerned about data security, privacy and integrity in the cloud.
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“Seamless security is critical to protecting our customers’ information in the cloud. Collaboration with industry partners and government will accelerate innovation and adoption while enabling successful cloud implementations in the public sector,” said Rick Johnson, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services.

According to the survey, cloud computing has low levels of awareness, trust and adoption among IT decision makers in the U.S. defense, military and federal government. Despite all the attention cloud computing receives as one of the leading IT trends, a third of government IT decision makers surveyed were not familiar with cloud computing, and a similar percentage do not trust it. Awareness and trust are lacking even among professionals who are familiar with it and may be responsible for securing enterprise systems and information. While cloud adoption is expected to grow, respondents’ inexperience with cloud computing, security concerns (and in some cases, lack of concern) and uncertainty about governance could make it difficult for organizations to effectively implement cloud computing or realize full value from it.  

The outlook for cloud computing adoption in government depends on how well cloud computing service providers and potential users raise the levels of awareness and trust in the model. The data reflects barriers to adoption, but adoption rates and user experiences show the barriers can be overcome. Respondents who know cloud computing best trust it most. For example, those who are familiar with cloud computing tend to implement it, those who implement expand their use by accessing multiple applications through the cloud, and professionals who are most involved in cyber security have more trust in cloud computing than IT decision makers at large.

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