Gartner survey reveals cloud computing tops list of emerging risks

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Cloud computing, even with the endless list of its advantages, tops the list of emerging risks in the industry, according to the survey conducted by IT (information and technology) research and consultancy firm Gartner.

The quarterly survey among risk executives at leading organization identifies the top risks to companies “that are new and unforeseen and whose potential for harm or loss is not yet fully known or has yet to rise to an area of significant concern. If a risk appears in four consecutive quarters, it is no longer considered ‘emerging’ so is removed from the risk list.”

In the latest Emerging Risks Report and Monitor, Gartner says that most of the risk executives admitted to being “most concerned about the probability and impact of potential data risks associated with cloud computing.”

Organizations, big and small, are encouraged to apply digital transformation to be able to compete in the global arena. One of the components of digital transformation is utilizing cloud computing. However, information and data stored in the cloud are prone to hacking and breaches.

While whether migrating to cloud or not is no longer an option but a necessity, risk managers are not afraid to voice out their reservations on this move as it puts corporate data at risk of getting into the hands of cybercriminals.

“Specifically, risk executives are eyeing the emerging risks around the chances of unauthorized access to sensitive or restricted information — or the possibility that the cloud provider won’t be able to provide access to information as a result of disruption in their own operations,” according to Gartner. “Risk executives reported being most concerned about the probability and impact of potential data risks associated with cloud computing.”


“Despite the advantages, cloud computing comes with an added vulnerability if data is stored incorrectly or if the provider’s own security is compromised,” says Gartner practice leader Matthew Shinkman.

“To mitigate these risks, executives will need to guarantee that their cloud security strategy keeps up with the pace of this growth. Recent regulatory changes, such as GDPR, and growing scrutiny at the board level about cybersecurity mean the risks associated with what has become a standard business practice are on the rise.”

Gartner offers the following checklist of risk indicators to quell the concerns of risk executives and put proper mitigation measures in place.

  • Rising proportion of data stored in the cloud
  • Changes in product offerings or contract terms from cloud provider(s)
  • Growing percentage of non-cloud provider third parties with access to data in the cloud
  • Unauthorized employee usage of cloud services

The following completes the list of emerging risks events that 110 global executives identified on the survey.

  • Cybersecurity disclosure. The guidelines for disclosing cyber breaches will soon become more clearly enforced. With organizations compelled to release breach information much more quickly than in the past, it could lead to a greater negative impact on the enterprise.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The possibility of a specific compliance breach has become more of a risk since the regulation’s enforcement May 2018 deadline as significant fines can now be imposed.
  • AI/robotics skill gaps. Due to the highly technical and specific skill set required for artificial intelligence and robotics, companies may lack the right capabilities to effectively capitalize on the opportunities associated with these technological advances and could become less competitive as a result.
  • Global economic slowdown. The risk that a slowdown in the global economy tied to negative or near-zero percent interest rates will negatively impact firm growth.

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