Migration to the Cloud Ensures Data Security
The cloud is an extremely valuable tool in the middle market—including for businesses in the retail sector—and almost all companies now utilize it to enhance some business functions.
The initial shift to the cloud typically involved moving files and systems to increase access and visibility while reducing reliance on on-premises resources and servers. However, companies have also found that the cloud is an effective security tool. Due to economies of scale, cloud providers can deliver greater protection than many middle market organizations have the resources to provide.
According to the 2023 RSM US Middle Market Business Index Cybersecurity Special Report, 50% of more than 400 middle market executives surveyed said their firm moved or migrated data to the cloud as a result of security concerns during the past year, up from 36% a year ago. Larger firms in this sector are showing a significant commitment to the cloud, with 65% reporting a cloud migration in the last year compared to 39% in 2022. The number of smaller middle market organizations taking advantage of the cloud remained steady from last year, up slightly to 34% from 33%.
Consistent with past years, the overwhelming majority of companies leveraging the cloud for security reasons are seeing results. Among middle market executives who reported moving data to the cloud for improved security, 91% believe the data residing in the cloud is more secure, a small increase from last year’s survey (90%).
While the cloud’s more effective security environment often comes at a higher cost, this year’s survey respondents indicated that the relative cost may be easing. The percentage of middle market executives who said that storing data in the cloud for security reasons was more expensive than on-premises storage declined slightly from last year, from 75% to 70%. Similarly, 27% of respondents disclosed that moving to the cloud for enhanced security was less expensive, an increase from 19% last year.
“The cloud is attractive because you don’t have to maintain internal head count, and it’s readily accessible,” says Tauseef Ghazi, principal and national leader of security and privacy services at RSM US LLP. “You also don’t have to worry about upgrades and patches—that’s somebody else’s responsibility. However, moving to the cloud has its risks as well. The environment has to be configured properly to reap the inherent security and operational benefits. Not all subscriptions are equal, and some of the enhanced features can be costly.”
The cloud provides many benefits for companies, including retailers, and enhanced security is a key advantage. While providing a more efficient, accessible environment, the cloud can take pressure off internal security resources with a level of protection that may not be available with in-house technology deployments. It may come at a higher cost, but the enhanced protection for sensitive data and applications is a significant draw for a growing segment of the middle market.