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Control of data must be addressed by vendors before cloud adoption can take off

Press Release

From the National Computing Centre. For Issue : 16th March 2011

According to new research from the UK’s National Computing Centre, information security issues are holding back the adoption of cloud computing technologies by business. In the research “Security in the Cloud”, IT decision-makers expressed a clear desire to use more cloud computing services, but they also identified significant security concerns and expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of service provided by external service providers.

IT decision-makers from a range private and public sector organisations ranked their topmost security concern as “Loss of control of data and loss of control over where data is held”, this criteria received a score of 4.5 on scale of 1-5 where 5 is a very important issue. “A lack of common security standards” and “The ease of retrieving data if a change of supplier was required” came as joint second concerns each with a score of 4.3. Information security is either a “high” or a “very high priority” for 87% of the respondents, with only 2% indicating that that information security is low priority.

Cloud computing (defined as “infrastructure as a service”) is an attractive concept and currently 20% of respondents declared at least one or more irons in the fire, but a further 33% of respondents were planning to move services in the cloud. 36% of respondents are currently using Software as a Service (where an application is licensed for use as a service) and a further 20% of respondents are planning to adopt SaaS.

The top five applications or business processes that are delivered by external providers or over the internet are for: Corporate websites (cited by 32% of respondents), Payroll processing (28%), Payments processing (23%), HR services (21%) and Collaboration Tools (19%).

Steve Fox Managing Director of the National Computing Centre said, “There are a lot of organisations planning to move services to the cloud but security remains a legitimate concern and a real barrier for end-user organisations looking to utilise the benefits of cloud computing. Vendors need to be more transparent and do more to address the concerns of data governance for end-users.”

The survey went on to identify the top five security incidents experienced by end users using an external service provider. The results paint a poor picture of the quality of external services. 50% of the respondents had suffered a systems failure, whilst worryingly, almost a quarter (23%) had experienced security incidents involving the suppliers own staff. Corruption of data affected one fifth of respondents, 17% suffered data loss and 7% had data stolen.

“This is a disquieting picture, no wonder the end-users are concerned about data governance when they are still being held accountable under today’s legislation. As legislation is lengthy to modernise and standards are voluntary, if the cloud vendors are to tap the latent demand for cloud computing services, not only must they properly address the security concerns, they must also improve existing service levels.” said Mr Fox.

Other significant security concerns identified by respondents included data governance (which achieved a significance a rating of 4.2 out of 5, where 5 is very important), data protection issues in different countries (4.1), and the long term viability of the vendor(3.9).

The National Computing Centre is running a free-to-air webinar on the 5th April, on the issues identified in the research and how end-user organisations should approach them. To register for the webinar, please go to at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/362315014

Survey statistics:

For this research, in February 2011 we asked the opinions of 57 companies from a spread of sectors and sizes for their opinions on a number of issues relating to the issues around security in the cloud.

NOTE TO EDITORS

About The National Computing Centre (NCC)
The National Computing Centre (NCC) is an independent membership organisation that helps IT decision makers deliver effective solutions to business problems by bringing together users, experts and vendors to share experiences and develop best practices.

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National Computing Centre
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