CIOs lacking faith in cloud computing

cloud computing

Confidence in the security of cloud computing is far from high, according to Sungard.

Research published this week from the company's latest survey of 250 UK chief information officers (CIOs) conducted by Vanson Bourne showed just 10 per cent were "completely confident" when it came to security and resilience of third party cloud offerings.

Two-thirds had already experienced downtime for the applications they had in the cloud, adding to a lack of trust.

The majority of CIOs 68 per cent were still happy to let their company's data out of their own four walls, but only if it was not critical or sensitive, again showing limited faith in cloud solutions.

The top three applications they cited as necessary to keep behind their own firewalls were HR, payroll and accounting.

"It is clear from this research that while cloud adoption continues apace, CIOs are holding back from committing their most sensitive and important data to third party cloud providers," said Keith Tilley, the UK managing director at SunGard.

"While the newer breed of cloud providers has focused on selling the benefits of cloud organisations are right to be asking the crucial questions about the security and availability of their data and infrastructure before they entrust it to a third party."

It wasn't just CIOs casting doubt on cloud computing though. The report said 42 per cent of their chief financial officer (CFO) colleagues showed "opposition or concerns" about moving data to cloud technology.

CFOs were shown to be more wary in general, with 23 per cent saying they weren't willing to outsource anything, compared to 14 per cent of CIOs with the same attitude.

Yet despite these doubts, 84 per cent admitted to having moved some applications into the cloud and 82 per cent had moved infrastructure, with 42 per cent also saying they planned on moving at least half of their infrastructure to an "as a service" model within 12 months.

"You need to be very clear about what benefits you are getting by running your infrastructure in the cloud," says Richard McGrail, partner and head of information systems at investment management firm Baillie Gifford & Co.

"If it is critical infrastructure you need to know the service provider and trust them like they are part of your team. Technology is complex and problems can happen to anyone operational and security related. So if you are going to put sensitive company information, or mission critical business processes under someone else's management you need to know them, their IT operation and their future strategy very well."

Sungard regularly survey CIOs for their opinions on the cloud and its last report, unveiled back in May, showed similarly negative attitudes.

A staggering 85 per cent said the cloud was "over-hyped." However, concerns weren't as loudly voiced two months ago, as three quarters of respondents thought the move to cloud computing was no different to any other IT project.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.