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Cloud computing's big hurdle: Conquering enterprise IT's risk aversion

Enterprise technology executives are skeptical about cloud computing and 45 percent of them say that the risks outweigh the benefits, according to a survey.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor on

Enterprise technology executives are skeptical about cloud computing and 45 percent of them say that the risks outweigh the benefits, according to a survey.

The survey was conducted by the ISACA, an IT certification, education, governance and enterprise risk and compliance group. ISACA polled 1,809 U.S. members in the U.S. in March. The ISACA has 86,000 constituents in 160 countries.

Here are the two key questions regarding cloud computing:

Now the ISACA survey was heavily weighted toward the insurance and finance industry (28 percent of respondents), but there was nothing in the sample to indicate that the poll was skewed to the overly risk averse. Enterprise technology executives were generally weighing the risks ahead given economic uncertainty and their budgets.

In some respects, the results aren't all that surprising. There are a few converts to cloud computing---the 17 percent of respondents that say the benefits top the risks---but the silent majority are watching developments, but aren't going to be revolutionaries.

A few thoughts:

  • Security concerns remain a big hurdle for cloud computing.
  • There's a lot of server hugging going on out there. Yes, deploying, managing and selecting servers is a pain. But the IT profession has hugged servers for years and won't let go easily.
  • It's somewhat alarming that 30 percent of IT professionals didn't know their company's cloud computing plan. It makes you wonder whether the finance department will ultimately drive cloud computing plans.
  • A key question in the survey asked the most important driver for enterprise IT's risk management efforts. Of the respondents, 28 percent said complying with industry and government regulations was the biggest driver. Executives surveyed also wanted to avoid negative incidents (18 percent), align with business needs (21 percent) and manage costs (16 percent). Will regulation and compliance concerns limit cloud computing adoption? Possibly.

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