Businesses Heedless Of ‘Risky’ Clouds

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A quarter of businesses are willing to use cloud computing, despite security concerns – but tight budgets are often holding them back

A quarter of enterprises using cloud computing believe that the risks outweigh the benefits, but still carry on regardless, according to non-profit research association ISACA.

Of the 1,500 professionals sampled across more than 50 countries in EMEA, 33 percent claimed that they already use cloud computing, but only 9.4 percent of respondents said they would use cloud computing for mission-critical IT services.

According to ISACA, the relative immaturity of cloud computing usage – and the uncertainty of the balance between risk and reward – is partly to blame for enterprises’ lack of confidence in the technology.

Lack of budget forces businesses to play it safe

However, this is not to say that organisations are unwilling to take IT-related business risks. The survey found that nearly two thirds organisations were willing to take risks in anticipation of a return for the business, and 12.1 percent would take large risks to maximise business return. Over a third of those surveyed said that budget limits are an organisation’s greatest hurdle when addressing IT-related business risk, with 34.2 percent not willing to fully engage in risk management.

“Every day we take calculated risks. Organisations need an integrated risk management approach to identify, assess and prioritise risks, so that they only take appropriate gambles with acceptable consequences or level of reward,” said Paul Williams, ISACA Strategy Chair. “Enterprises must never crash and burn because the risk was ignored or misjudged.”

The survey backs up research from IT services provider Computacenter earlier this year, which found that 50 percent of IT decision makers don’t know how important cloud computing is, or believe it to be of little or no importance to help improve the operation and cost effectiveness of their IT environment over the next two years.

Meanwhile, research from structured data specialist RainStor last year found that, British companies remain apprehensive about fully adopting the cloud model for their business applications, and are lagging behind other countries in the adoption of SaaS (Software as a Service). It found that 82 percent of UK companies already using SaaS would like to take a copy of their data at least once a week, compared to only 46 percent of US companies.

Andy Ben-Dyke, CTO at RainStor, described the findings as “quite surprising” given the pressure on IT budgets, but said “it is incumbent on the IT industry to address these security and liability concerns”.

Dell today rolled out a host of new and enhanced hardware, software and services aimed at enterprises that are moving to a cloud computing model. At an event in San Francisco, Dell officials said they have been working closely with Microsoft on the software giant’s Windows Azure cloud platform, and that Microsoft will work with Dell to develop joint cloud-based solutions.

However, at a security conference in Budapest, Ray Butler – a former information systems auditor at HM Customs for more than 25 years – told an audience of audit and IT specialists that some government departments are blocked from accessing online tools for security reasons. “You need to know where [the data] is going. Certainly, in government circles all those things are fire-walled out because of the data leakage risk and we are told not to send government information outside the controlled government intranet,” he said.

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