Security: The single biggest barrier to cloud computing adoption

Research conducted amongst European CIOs has found that 68 per cent of respondents say security fears prevent them from adopting cloud computing services. This concern was especially high in the UK with 74 per cent of UK CIO’s highlighting security as the factor they consider to be the main barrier to cloud services adoption.

The COLT report, based on research conducted among CIOs and senior IT decision-makers across 13 European countries by leading research firm Portio, also found that performance and the reliability of cloud computing services was seen as a concern (58 per cent), while 47per cent noted that a lack of transparency over pricing models may be halting the adoption of cloud services. Indeed, the fear of being ‘locked in’ to a cloud computing service would also indicate a preference for subscription-based pricing models.

The main driver accelerating the adoption of cloud services is the need to access data and systems from any location, while factors such as risk mitigation (62 per cent) and innovation (57 per cent) were also seen to be important business issues. Half of respondents (50 per cent) claim that e-mail hosting and the ability to back up critical data is the most used / evaluated service facilitated by cloud computing while a further 40 per cent indicated the ability to access payroll and finance applications along with desktop applications as the key benefit of using cloud computing services.

Even though cloud computing is still in its infancy, the main benefits appear widely understood. 48 per cent of CIOs surveyed said that they believe the main benefit of cloud comuting services is to reduce costs. 21 per cent believe the main objective is that companies do not need to own their datacentres, while 19 per cent understand it to be a service which helps companies scale up to meet their business goals.

In the UK, nearly 50 per cent of CIOs and their peers confirmed that they are currently using or evaluating email hosting and desktop applications. Notably, 80per cent of respondents said that quality assurance from cloud providers will drive the adoption of cloud computing services and 65 per cent of respondents expect 21-60 per cent of their IT portfolio to move to cloud services within the next 12 months.

Steve Hughes, CMS product manager at COLT said: “It is clear that CIOs in the UK believe there will be an acceleration in the uptake of cloud computing services. Bringing flexibility into the business is key to increasing efficiency, reducing costs and improving productivity – and this research indicates that cloud services will be a prominent driver in this business evolution.”

Maggy McClelland, Managing Director of COLT Managed Services said: “This research has indentified security as the main concern for CIOs considering cloud computing services. Many customers are looking for a closer and transparent relationship with cloud vendors in risk mitigation. Customers are rightly concerned that when using cloud services they still own their data and are responsible for it. It falls to cloud service providers to ensure their customers are confident and knowledgeable about cloud computing services, security and data ownership. More transparency and a joint dialogue with customers will play a significant role in addressing the real concerns over the security, performance and reliability of cloud computing and this is essential if the industry is to evolve with credibility.”

As part of this dialogue, COLT welcomes the recent publication from the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) titled: Cloud Computing: Benefits, risks and recommendations for information security. It provides detailed, practical guidance and recommendations on how to approach the information security benefits and risks of cloud computing.

COLT’s managed services solutions are built on its infrastructure combining 25,000km of network and 19 data centres across Europe. This footprint enables COLT to take full end-to-end responsibility for the security, availability and continuity of IT processes and computing capability. COLT’s service level agreements are aligned to the customer’s business and tailored towards service delivery, not the technology. The company’s enterprise cloud platform enables COLT to deliver services that give its customers the freedom to choose when and how to take advantage of managed infrastructure and application services as well as increased flexibility to drive greater levels of business efficiency, security and performance.

Notes to editors

COLT data centres

• COLT data centres are staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and COLT technical staff manage and monitor customer servers and applications from a Network Operation Centre (NOC)

The Security Operations Centre

• Staffed by a dedicated team of security specialists 24×7, able to cover a wide range of security issues from Firewalling, Intrusion Detection investigations, Security Event Management and virus infections.

• ISO 27001 – COLT operates an Information Security Management System which is certified as compliant with the requirements of ISO/IEC 27001.

About COLT

COLT is a leading European provider of business communications. COLT specialises in providing data, voice and managed services to major businesses, SMEs and wholesale customers. COLT operates a 13-country, 25,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 34 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 16,000 buildings and 19 COLT data centres.

COLT Telecom Group S.A. is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT). Information about COLT and its services can be found at

About the research

Portio Research surveyed companies that had evaluated and adopted cloud computing, and also from the units that had evaluated, but rejected it. The research design suggested surveying CIOs and their counterparts to gather opinions on various aspects of cloud computing.

The survey was conducted among CIOs and their counterparts in August and September 2009 across 13 countries in Europe.

The result is based on online and telephone surveys conducted with 352 respondents who indicated involvement in technology purchasing decisions at their organizations. The respondents included 65.3per cent level one professionals, such as CIO, CTO, S/VP–IT and Head–IT, of IT function reporting directly to the CEO or owner of the company. The remaining 34.7 percent were a mix of level two and three respondents, i.e., professionals reporting to the Head of IT or were a part of the team.

Apart from the two main industries—professional services (51 percent) and the finance sector (27 percent)—interviews were also conducted in media (10 percent) and the public sector, including the education sector (12 percent). Company size distribution included the following: <250 employees: 48 percent, 250–999 employees: 26 percent, >999 employees: 26 percent. A representative split was also maintained across five regions in Europe: Western Europe (32 percent), Southern Europe (32 percent), the UK/Ireland (20 percent), Northern Europe (8 percent) and Central Europe (8 percent). The following countries were covered under the five geographic regions:

• Western Europe – France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands
• Southern Europe – Spain, Portugal and Italy
• Northern Europe – Sweden and Denmark
• Central Europe – Austria and Switzerland
• The UK and Ireland

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