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A quarter of businesses have experienced a data breach where cloud provider was to blame, BT survey finds

More than a quarter of businesses that use cloud-based services or applications have suffered a data breach caused by their cloud provider, according to a new survey.

BT said 26% of the 640 IT decision makers it had surveyed in July had said their businesses "experienced a data breach incident where their cloud service provider was the party at fault".

The finding was contained in a new study conducted by the UK-based telecoms giant into business attitudes towards and use of cloud computing. BT said the study showed that there is increasing concern about the security of data in a cloud environment.

According to the study, more than three quarters (76%) of the 640 IT decision makers surveyed identified data security as their biggest concern when using cloud-based services. The IT decision makers surveyed were based within medium or large organisations across 11 countries, including the UK, US, France, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore.

BT said that 49% of respondents said they are "very or extremely anxious" about cloud security. This level of concern is greater than what was registered by BT in a previous study conducted in 2012. The company said the survey showed business confidence about cloud security "is at an all-time low".

The survey also revealed that 54% of IT decision makers have faltering trust in third party providers, whilst 41% of those surveyed believe cloud services are "inherently insecure".

However, according to BT's study, most businesses around the world (70%) are either storing internal business data in or running business applications from the cloud.

Mark Hughes, president of BT Security, said: "The adoption of cloud services has increased rapidly across the globe. Organisations are looking to reap the numerous benefits - such as scalability, fast deployment and ubiquitous network access – these services can offer. It is an interesting paradox that the survey has exposed – on the one hand decision makers are concerned about the security implications of using public cloud services but on the other, their buying decisions seem to be driven by short term cost perceptions."

According to the survey, half of businesses worldwide that use cloud services use mass-market commoditised solutions sold by cloud providers. Tailoring cloud services for business needs is viewed as "too expensive" by 48% of IT decision makers. In addition, 44% of the respondents said they believe 'off the shelf' public cloud applications and services are "as effective as using those designed specifically for enterprise users".

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