IT professionals fear loss of control when it comes to cloud computing

21 Dec 2012

IT professionals are still being deterred by the perceived risks of cloud computing with loss of control one of their biggest worries, a global study of 4,500 IT professionals reveals.

The Risk Reward Barometer study by ISACA, a non-profit association of 100,000 IT professionals in 180 countries, found that organisations remain sceptical when it comes to cloud services—especially public cloud computing.

The overarching trend is that businesses see numerous benefits for adopting cloud services; however, the perceived risk cause them concern.

“What is apparent from this study is the perception of control,” Marc Vael, international vice president of ISACA explained.

“Private cloud scores better than both public and hybrid cloud, when asked if the benefit outweighs the risk, yet take up is still relatively low. My thought is that enterprises are facing a similar dilemma as they did when first contemplating outsourcing—it is the psychology of relinquishing control that needs to be addressed.

“I also believe that is why there is more faith in private cloud services, where the enterprise retains management over both hybrid and public alternatives; however, this solution offers less advantages,” Vael said.

Main drivers behind cloud computing

The drivers behind cloud computing were found to be primarily business related with lowering costs, increasing efficiency and accessibility and introducing scalability all regularly cited. However, serious doubts exist around cloud adoption with data security, legislation compliance implications, and even uncertainty over its future, regularly raised.

This is mirrored by the response from more than a third of respondents in Europe who claimed to be ”unsure” as to the percentage of the IT budget directed to cloud computing. That said, an average of nearly 25pc of respondents across all regions are using private cloud computing for mission-critical services.

In Europe, 68pc of respondents believe the risk posed by public cloud services outweigh the benefits a theme replicated across all the regions, although it is higher in Oceania and Latin America (72pc and 73pc respectively).

In contrast, 58pc in Europe believe the benefit outweighs the risk for private cloud services, with similar percentages across all regions; except Africa, where it scored slightly higher at 66pc.

Respondents appeared noncommittal to hybrid cloud, with many reportedly believing the risk and benefit of its use were appropriately balanced—ranging from 42pc in Oceania to 53pc in Asia-Pacific.

When questioned about the enterprise’s cloud computing plan, 63pc of the European audience stated they did not use public cloud for any IT services, versus 34pc for private cloud.

“Over the next 12 months, I am hopeful that we will witness an evolution in awareness of the various cloud options, and the benefits each will bring,” Vael concluded.

“This is paramount if we are to bridge the gap between realising the business drivers to its adoption, balanced by the risk introduced from a security perspective.

“There is still a lot of work to be done. Personally, I think it will be interesting to see the results to these questions, when we repeat this study next year.”

Cloud image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years