Gartner Says Organizations More Likely to Use SaaS for Sensitive Data Than Mission-Critical Data
August 23, 2012
Share this

Avoiding the use of software as a service (SaaS) for critical or sensitive data remains a significant form of risk control for many organizations, according to Gartner, Inc. But those that do use SaaS for such data are more likely to use it for sensitive data than for mission-critical data.

These findings are based on Gartner's latest annual survey of the state of risk management programs globally, which questioned 425 respondents from IT risk management disciplines in the U.S., U.K., Germany and Canada from December 2011 to January 2012.

The survey results show that organizations take different approaches to risk management when confronted with a need or opportunity to share data with different types of external party.

Assessment Practices for External Parties

Survey respondents were asked if they had processes in place to assess external party security, risk management, compliance, privacy and BCP/DR for four different situations. Respondents answered: “Do not allow use for sensitive data or processes" almost twice as often in the case of business partners (38 percent) as for platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) (20 percent).

Compared with PaaS/IaaS, organizations are about 30 percent more likely to have a policy against putting sensitive data into SaaS (26 percent), and about 45 percent more likely to have a policy against putting it into outsourced data centers (29 percent).

"These results make sense, given that sharing data with a partner almost certainly means that one or more of its employees will be accessing the data, while in a SaaS scenario, the data is typically only accessible to the primary customer," said Jay Heiser, Research VP at Gartner. "This year we asked about both data availability and data confidentiality policies. Survey respondents indicated 10 percent less willingness to place mission-critical data into a SaaS offering than to place sensitive data into it. They were even less willing to place mission-critical data into outsourced data centers, with over one-third of respondents saying that they do not allow it."

Platform-as-a-Service/Infrastructure-as-a-Service Risk Assessment Practices

Only 57 percent of IaaS/PaaS buyers are using a questionnaire to support their risk assessment, and unlike for SaaS, the questionnaire is more likely to be a proprietary one, unique to the buyer's organization, and less likely to be based on standards. As in the case of SaaS, 26 percent are also evaluating information from the provider. The most dramatic change over the past three years is the increased willingness to use IaaS and PaaS for sensitive processes.

Outsourced Data Center Risk Assessment Practices

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they had a policy against putting mission-critical data into an outsourced data center, making avoidance the most chosen mechanism for dealing with data center risk. The level of response for this choice is significantly higher than for either of the other two service models. Twenty-nine percent said this policy applied to SaaS, and only 22 percent said it applied to IaaS/PaaS.

"One of the biggest drivers is probably an expectation that the packaged service offerings, which typically claim to be based on cloud computing, are more reliable," said Mr Heiser. "While fault tolerance is a feature of many such offerings, we consider it premature to assume that mission-critical data is safer in a cloud than in a traditional data center in which buyers usually make very specific choices about how data will be backed up."

The most significant reduction in the use of risk assessment practices has been in the practice of sending company staff to evaluate a partner's controls on-site, which has dropped by over 40 percent over three years. Use of standards-based questionnaires has increased, while the use of proprietary surveys has dropped by the same degree, leaving the prevalence of questionnaires virtually the same.

Share this

The Latest

September 22, 2021

The world's appetite for cloud services has increased but now, more than 18 months since the beginning of the pandemic, organizations are assessing their cloud spend and trying to better understand the IT investments that were made under pressure. This is a huge challenge in and of itself, with the added complexity of embracing hybrid work ...

September 21, 2021

After a year of unprecedented challenges and change, tech pros responding to this year’s survey, IT Pro Day 2021 survey: Bring IT On from SolarWinds, report a positive perception of their roles and say they look forward to what lies ahead ...

September 20, 2021

One of the key performance indicators for IT Ops is MTTR (Mean-Time-To-Resolution). MTTR essentially measures the length of your incident management lifecycle: from detection; through assignment, triage and investigation; to remediation and resolution. IT Ops teams strive to shorten their incident management lifecycle and lower their MTTR, to meet their SLAs and maintain healthy infrastructures and services. But that's often easier said than done, with incident triage being a key factor in that challenge ...

September 16, 2021

Achieve more with less. How many of you feel that pressure — or, even worse, hear those words — trickle down from leadership? The reality is that overworked and under-resourced IT departments will only lead to chronic errors, missed deadlines and service assurance failures. After all, we're only human. So what are overburdened IT departments to do? Reduce the human factor. In a word: automate ...

September 15, 2021

On average, data innovators release twice as many products and increase employee productivity at double the rate of organizations with less mature data strategies, according to the State of Data Innovation report from Splunk ...

September 14, 2021

While 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business — and 94% believe it to be strategic to their role — just 26% noted mature observability practices within their business, according to the 2021 Observability Forecast ...

September 13, 2021

Let's explore a few of the most prominent app success indicators and how app engineers can shift their development strategy to better meet the needs of today's app users ...

September 09, 2021

Business enterprises aiming at digital transformation or IT companies developing new software applications face challenges in developing eye-catching, robust, fast-loading, mobile-friendly, content-rich, and user-friendly software. However, with increased pressure to reduce costs and save time, business enterprises often give a short shrift to performance testing services ...

September 08, 2021

DevOps, SRE and other operations teams use observability solutions with AIOps to ingest and normalize data to get visibility into tech stacks from a centralized system, reduce noise and understand the data's context for quicker mean time to recovery (MTTR). With AI using these processes to produce actionable insights, teams are free to spend more time innovating and providing superior service assurance. Let's explore AI's role in ingestion and normalization, and then dive into correlation and deduplication too ...

September 07, 2021

As we look into the future direction of observability, we are paying attention to the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, and more. I asked top industry experts — DevOps Institute Ambassadors — to offer their predictions for the future of observability. The following are 10 predictions ...