New Research: Privacy Policies Impacting Choice of Cloud Providers

Not long ago, the IT industry wondered if privacy concerns would prevent small and midsize businesses (SMBs) from moving to the cloud. Today, I’m pleased to share findings of a new Microsoft-sponsored study that indicates that is not the case. Rather, SMBs are using data protection as a way to evaluate potential cloud providers.

Overall, the survey, which focused on privacy in the cloud, shows that SMBs are attracted by the opportunity to improve efficiency, while cutting IT costs. As a result, they are rapidly adopting cloud computing. They continue, however, to express concerns. Among the survey’s noteworthy findings:

  • 65 percent of U.S. SMBs say cloud computing is “important” or “essential” for their organization today, and 81 percent say it will be two years from now
  • 59 percent note the privacy policies of cloud vendors impact their selection of service providers, and
  • The cloud policies and practices that SMBs care about most include transparency about location of data, segregation of data between customers, and commitments not to mine cloud data for advertising.

In May, my TwC colleague blogged about a related myth-busting study, that showed the real security benefits SMBs gain from the cloud. Taken together, the data indicate that organizations are doing their due diligence when it comes to evaluating cloud providers’ handling of security and privacy issues. The desire for transparency from our customers is one reason we created resources such as the Microsoft Office 365 Trust Center – to clearly explain our cloud privacy, security, and compliance commitment.

Conducted by the Ponemon Institute, the cloud privacy study polled 1,771 individuals in six countries (i.e., United States, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden) on questions related to cloud privacy. Respondents hold positions in IT, compliance, data security, risk management, and privacy.

For more information on this research or to download summaries of the findings, please visit the Microsoft Security, Privacy and Online Safety Newsroom and

About the Author
Brendon Lynch

Chief Privacy Officer, Microsoft

Brendon Lynch is the Chief Privacy Officer of Microsoft Corp., where he is responsible for creating and implementing privacy policy across the company, and influencing the creation of privacy and data protection technologies for customers. Brendon also serves on the Read more »