Security, management and compliance challenges are impacting the benefits that organizations are receiving from using the cloud, as their infrastructures become more complex, according to a report by WinMagic, a data security provider.

Some 39 percent of respondents surveyed for the research reported that their infrastructure was more complex since they began using the cloud. More than half—53 percent—spend more time on management tasks than they have done previously.

Also See: How the cloud can bolster a provider’s security strategy

WinMagic surveyed 1,029 IT decision makers in the U.S., U.K., and Germany in November, and found that the vast majority of the organizations (98 percent) reported using the cloud, with an average 50 percent of their infrastructure now in the cloud. One third reported that data is only partially encrypted in the cloud, and 39 percent admitted to not having unbroken security audit trails across virtual machines in the cloud, leaving them exposed.

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Asked about their top three concerns on future workloads in the cloud, 58 percent of respondents reported security as their top concern, followed by protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access (55 percent) and the increased complexity of infrastructure (44 percent). On average, companies had to use three encryption products to protect data across the cloud and on-premises infrastructure, illustrating one of the main ways this complexity emerges.

Responsibility for the regulatory compliance of data is a significant area of confusion, the report said, with only 39 percent of organizations considering themselves ultimately responsible for the compliance of data stored on cloud services.

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