Public cloud more secure than private: Gartner

Cloud an 'immature market', data centre managers not looking at impact of security

Despite many organisations heading toward the private cloud in an effort to keep data secure, Gartner has warned that organisations may actually be safer in the public cloud.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium in Sydney, analyst Andrew Walls said when it came to the public cloud, the majority of organisations had concerns about security and regulatory compliance, however, when dealing with the private cloud, organisations had no concerns about security at all.

“This is a problem because people are clearly seeing that this method of obtained services has a security impact, but when you say it’s private, they say the method is irrelevant,” Walls said.

“When you go to the private cloud they start thinking, ‘this is just my standard old data centre, I just have the standard operational issues, there’s been no real change in what we do’, and this is a big problem because what this tells us is the data centre managers are not looking at the actual impact on the security program that the virtualisation induces.”

“They see public cloud as being a little bit more risky therefore they won’t go with it. Now the reality is, from my own experience in talking to security organisations and data centre managers around the world is that in many of these cases, you’re far safer in the public cloud than you are on your own equipment.”

According to Walls, public is safer as companies are dealing with a large international provider with rigorous practices and are probably doing “a better job”, however he says many companies have a mentality that assumes it’s more secure because they own it.

“That’s not always the case, in fact it’s most often not the case, he said. “This is telling us that people think private is more secure when it actually isn’t - in many cases it’s less secure than the public equivalent.”

“People are disappointed when I tell them there aren’t a lot of great options for security in the cloud, this is because they hear all the hype around it and assume it’s mature,” he said. “Cloud is a very immature market, it’s a very immature delivery mechanism, it is coming and it is inevitable because of the potential it offers us, but right now it’s new, it’s very new and shiny.

Despite this, companies are clearly moving in the direction of private cloud architectures, and it maintains a number of motivating factors, including, cost efficiency, scalability issues and flexibility of server delivery to the business.

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