Move to cloud still all about security for UK firms, survey shows

Security and data privacy are still the top concerns for UK businesses adopting cloud-based services, research shows

Security and data privacy are still the top concerns for UK businesses adopting cloud-based services, research shows.

Security (82%) and privacy (69%) top concerns when it comes to migrating to the cloud for the third year in a row, according to the latest survey by the UK-based Cloud Industry Forum (CIF).

Practicalities of access to, and bandwidth of, internet connections are the third-highest concern, cited by just over half the 250 senior IT and business decision makers in enterprises, small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and public sector organisations polled.

Andy Burton, chair of CIF and CEO of Fasthosts, said: “After these more generic issues, the focus really turns to establishing trust with cloud service providers in order to have confidence, control, reliability and to avoid commercial issues like lock-in. It is worth noting that these concerns are cited not as barriers to adoption, but as issues requiring clear answers in order to connect.

Key CIF survey findings:

  • Data security (82%) remains the biggest concern expressed during the decision-making process to migrate to the cloud; data privacy at 69% and dependency on internet access at 51%
  • When testing understanding and expectations, 44% believed that their organisation was subject to specific regulations around IT services and data
  • 76% believed they had to store data in a specific location due to concerns over security, 57% over regulation and 38% because of the size of the database
  • When asked if any application areas required data to be stored in a specific location, a wide range of solutions scored highly including personnel and payroll (64%) eShop services (65%) data storage (65%) and niche applications at 88%
  • When asked where are they required to store data 50% cited on-premise, 39% hosted in the UK and a further 7% hosted within the European Economic Area
  • 56% of organisations stated that they would not consider using cloud services for employee information, 50% for accounting and financial data, 40% for internal file sharing

“The pace of adoption of cloud is clearly evidenced as growing in both terms of first time adoption and subsequent phases of expansion. Satisfaction levels remain high and both new and existing workloads are being implemented in a cloud environment, regardless of vertical or even organisational size”

However, Burton said the findings indicate that the background debate that consumes the most time and attention are not related to technology, but to the more commercial and governance issues of data security, protection, sovereignty and portability.

The lack of clarity and transparency of what is permissible or acceptable versus what is possible, continues at pace and is compounded by recent high-profile debates over subjects like the evolution of the European Data Protection legislation, he said. 

“CIF is committed to driving transparency of regulatory and legal constraints and education of the market on best practice in order to ensure end-user perceptions are based on factual information and proportionate to the issues in hand so that rational decisions can be taken,” said Burton.

It is encouraging to note, he said, that in seeking credible cloud service providers end-users expressed – by a substantial majority (78%) – that they would prefer to work with suppliers that are publicly certified against an industry Code of Practice (CoP).

“Today, we are the only certified CoP and it exists as an independent benchmark of best practice and key credentials that credible cloud service providers should be able to measure up to and provide sufficient assurance of transparency, credibility and accountability to the market,” said Burton.

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