Cloud computing: Security fears mean IT stays in-house

Why the public cloud is a data headache for CIOs and CFOs
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Why the public cloud is a data headache for CIOs and CFOs

Most businesses are shunning public cloud computing services because of fears over the security of corporate data.

Only 21 per cent of IT chiefs questioned by Forrester Research said their business had made, or planned to make, greater use of a public cloud service known as infrastructure-as-a-service (Iaas) in 2010.

Public cloud computing services offer businesses access to software, processing power and storage on-demand over the internet, doing away with the need for companies to buy in-house systems.

But IT bosses questioned by Forrester had misgivings about using public cloud services, with 64 per cent expressing concerns about whether corporate data would be secure inside cloud service providers' datacentres.

Finance chiefs share these concerns about the public cloud: a survey of 100 CFOs by SunGard Availability Services found that 56 per cent had not invested in public cloud services because of fears over the security of sensitive data.

Confusion over the benefits of cloud computing appeared to be a factor in the CFOs' reluctance, with only one-third (34 per cent) saying they fully understand the benefits of moving IT systems to a cloud platform.

Security fears are making businesses reluctant to invest in cloud computing

Security fears are making businesses reluctant to invest in cloud computing
(Photo credit: SoRaZG via Flickr under the following licence)

Worries about public cloud security are driving some companies to transform their own internal datacentres into private clouds, the practice by which a businesses' in-house IT estate can deliver the same on-demand computing model provided by the public cloud.

The Forrester survey found that almost one-quarter of the IT chiefs questioned said that building a private cloud was a priority in 2010, up from 19 per cent in 2009.

Larger companies appear to favour private clouds, the survey found, as companies with more than 1,000 employees accounted for 60 per cent of those businesses prioritising private clouds.

In a report Companies Building Private Clouds Focus On Infrastructure But Not Operations Forrester principal analyst James Staten said that most organisations still want to keep their IT systems in-house.

"Rather than use the myriad public and consumer cloud services out there, most enterprise organizations would rather provide a similar service from within their own datacentres," he said.

"The goal? To keep a watchful eye over how the service is used and ensure that the company and its intellectual property are protected."

But these doubts do not appear to be dampening the growth prospects of the cloud service model: a report by analyst house TechMarketView this week predicted that the UK cloud computing market, including application provisioning, would grow from being worth £5.8bn in 2010 to £10.4bn in 2014.

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