Cloud computing confusion continues, claims Proofpoint study

The study found that 40% of 200 IT professionals are unconvinced about the security of sensitive data in the cloud and doubtful that any real cost savings can be made.

47% of the survey's respondents also said they believed that, if cloud based services were implemented in their organisation, members of staff would perceive that as the company "preparing to make them redundant".

The survey - which was carried out by Osterman Research - found that 24% of respondents believe their CEO could define cloud computing, whilst a hefty 59% concluded their CEO would fail at the task.

Interestingly, the research claims to show that finance directors would have a more difficult time defining cloud computing, as just 10% said their finance heads could accurately define cloud computing.

More seriously, however, opinions remain divided as far as the security of sensitive data in the cloud.

50% of respondents said they believed that, if they moved sensitive data to a cloud based provider, they would run a higher risk of having that data compromised or being in violation of government data protection statutes.

43%, meanwhile, said yes when asked if they felt that "cloud computing is less secure than managing things in house".

According to Gary Steele, Proofpoint's CEO, any great paradigm shift - cloud computing included - will always be accompanied by hype and a fair amount of confusion.

"So we're not surprised to see those percentages, even among the power users, the IT professionals. There's still a significant amount of `fear, uncertainly and doubt' surrounding data security and financial payback issues", he said.

According to Steele, the takeaway is that clearly all clouds are not created equal.

"Given the increasing number of software-as-a-service email security and compliance solutions available - and differences in data security, service level agreements, effectiveness and ease-of-use - enterprises must conduct their due diligence when moving these types of functions to the cloud", continued Steele.

Proofpoint's survey also found that cloud computing may be facing an unlikely detractor within the enterprise - the IT professional.

When asked the question, "if we implemented cloud-based services, many of our IT staff members would perceive that our company was preparing to lay them off", 47% answered `yes' and 30% answered `no.'

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