Asia's financial sector still wary of cloud

Decision-makers in Japan and Singapore holding off on cloud migration for IT processes citing cybersecurity concerns, while Hong Kong executives show less reticence, survey reveals.

Cybersecurity concerns are especially pertinent to Singapore's C-level executives in the finance and banking sector when it comes to migrating IT processes to cloud computing, which is why many are holding off plans to do so, finds a new survey.

Recruitment firm Robert Half released its survey findings on Wednesday, and it showed 70 percent of Singapore respondents indicated that security threats are topmost on their minds. Comparatively, 60 percent of those in Hong Kong and 42 percent in Japan responded likewise.

With regard to migrating IT functions to the cloud, security concerns headed the list for reasons why Singapore companies in the financial sector are holding back. Other top reasons include data integrity, at 24 percent, and lack of internal knowledge on cloud computing at 18 percent, the study stated.

A total of 150 CIOs and CTOs from the finance and banking industry in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong were polled for the Robert Half study.

The impact of online security concerns on these decision-makers was seen when 44 percent of the Singapore participants indicated that they have no further plans to migrate to cloud computing. The same percentage of Japanese executives shared the same sentiment, while only 14 percent of Hong Kong executives had similar reservations, it said.

It also pointed out the three most common steps these C-level executives are protecting their organizations against cloud-based threats are developing business continuity processes, improving physical security, and identifying management systems.

The recruitment firm clarified that it did not define what kind of cloud computing services when polling the participants.

Increasing internal talent pool
Justin Peck, division director of financial services (technology and business transformation) at Robert Half Singapore, noted that banking and financial institutions were also protecting against security threats by increasing their IT headcount and ensuring the team understands the security models, technology, and processes need to manage in a cloud environment.

"As the level of threat rises, so does the demand for experienced and skilled IT professionals.  Depending on the size of the organization, we would advise businesses to continue to take proactive steps and consider hiring a cloud security specialist whose main responsibility is to keep the company's operations in the cloud as secure as possible," he recommended. 

However, employers are finding it difficult to recruit professionals with the skills and experience they require. Peck noted that 52 percent of business leaders in Singapore are finding it challenging to hire tech staff today, and 56 percent and 36 percent of executives in Hong Kong and Japan, respectively, agreed.

"The war for top IT talent remains and employers are looking to recruit skilled individuals both in Singapore and in the region," the director stated.