More than half of IT departments don't bother with cloud vendor vetting



The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF)’s survey of IT directors in private and public sector organizations in the UK found that adoption of the delivery model continuing despite handwringing over security measures. A full 61% of companies are using a cloud-based service, compared with just 48% in 2011.

 "Looking towards 2013, CIOs are charged with juggling multiple priorities, with regulation, integration and migration projects putting additional pressure on busy IT departments,” said Phil Sheridan, managing director at Robert Half Technology, a partner in the research. “But the risks of not migrating to the cloud, notably the achievement of significant cost reductions, may outweigh the potential security risks that concern IT executives. Budgets continue to be stretched and any potential cost savings that IT can deliver will be welcomed throughout the business.”

A little over one in 10 (11%) of CIOs said that they are not taking any proactive action to address cybersecurity, while 12% said that they were 'not concerned' about cybersecurity at all. But the movement to the cloud will nonetheless eventually require additional IT personnel and expertise, analysts noted.

"Since an increasingly higher percentage of IT security breaches involve third parties, gaining assurance from cloud providers is critical to managing information security risk,” said Ryan Rubin, UK director of risk consultancy Protiviti. “Whilst companies may migrate IT towards cloud providers in an attempt to reduce costs, they cannot outsource their information security risks. Unless adequately managed, the cost of security breaches – either regulatory and or legal – may outweigh the perceived benefits of moving into the cloud."

Protiviti anticipates significant demand for both permanent and contract technology professionals with IT security, infrastructure project management and data migration skills in 2013. “While cloud migration may provide cost savings in data storage and warehousing, companies still need the requisite talent to implement and manage cloud initiatives, ensuring that IT security remains a priority," said Rubin.

Overall, CIOs will need to be more engaged in the security process, he added. "These statistics indicate that either there is an inherent trust in cloud service providers; that they have good security governance in place or there is a lack of visibility of potential risks associated with using them,” said Rubin. “However, there is also a potential risk that CIOs are not always involved in the overall business making decision to procure cloud services – limiting their ability to carry out effective due diligence before these services are adopted.”

For some, this is all a moot point. The study found that almost a quarter (23%) of CIOs and IT directors across the UK say they have no plans to migrate IT systems to the cloud, despite clear benefits such as cost savings and flexibility of service. As well as security concerns, CIOs say that continuity of service is a barrier to adopting cloud (36%), followed by data integrity (32%), speed of service (31%) and costs (30%).

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