Over half of the UK chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed by SunGard Availability Services have cited fears around the security of sensitive customer or commercial data in outsourcing IT infrastructure to a third party in the cloud.
The research, conducted among 100 CFOs in mid-sized UK head-quartered organisations, showed that high-profile media stories around IT outages or data losses are heightening these fears, with nearly half (45%) of the respondents admitting that such cases make them more inclined to keep their data in-house, despite the cost implications.
The research revealed that many businesses are unwilling to place their IT infrastructure in the cloud because of fears over data security, downtime and loss of control in addition to a lack of awareness of the benefits offered by cloud computing.
According to the research, only 34% say they fully understand the benefits of moving to the cloud and less than a third (28%) say they know the difference between private and public clouds – two very different approaches to cloud computing, with very different data security and integrity attributes.
The lack of understanding of the cloud, despite cloud computing being frequently cited as a key technology to reduce IT spend, is particularly concerning, given that the survey also revealed that almost two thirds (62%) of CFOs expect no increase in IT budgets over the next three years.
Loss of control concerns nearly 60% of CFOs when handing data over to a third party, and only 15% of CFOs surveyed said they would be happy to have all of their data in the hands of a third party, the report added.
SunGard Availability Services managing director UK and executive vice president Europe Keith Tilley said it’s clear there remains a great deal of uncertainty around the cloud among the CFO community.
"With over half of CFOs expecting IT budgets to remain the same or shrink over the coming three years, IT vendors and senior in-house IT employees need to do much more to educate financial decision makers about the benefits of moving to an appropriate outsourced IT environment and the related use of outsourcing partners."
"The findings suggest that organisations are looking for a solution which offers the key benefits of the cloud – such as cost savings and increased agility – but where data is stored in a fully-resilient, secure data centre, where they can have control over it," Tilley said.
"This is exactly what the private cloud offers, but it seems nearly three-quarters of UK CFOs are missing out on this as they wrestle with the distinction between private and public cloud computing."