Survey: Cloud computing is important, risky

IT execs in most companies are turning more of their attention to the cloud – and trying to figure out how to take advantage of its opportunities while avoiding the serious risks.

When asked their top priority for the next 12 months, 60% of IT leaders said cloud computing, in a recent survey conducted by service provider Avanade. That was the top answer, ahead of security (58%) and IT consolidation (31%).

The importance of the cloud is also reflected in the big increase in companies using the cloud — 74% of the 573 respondents said they’re using some kind of cloud service, an increase of 25% compared to 2009. Additional, 74% of respondents say they’ve allocated 30% of their IT budgets for cloud services.

However, companies also recognize the risks associated with the cloud. Despite the attention from the majority of businesses, a quarter still say cloud services don’t factor into their future plans. Also:

  1. 51% say they’re concerned about cloud security
  2. Nearly one quarter say they’ve experienced a security breach involving a cloud service, and
  3. 20% have moved a service back in-house, with security being the most commonly cited reason.

How are businesses trying to reap the benefits of the cloud while minimizing the risks? One way is to make IT staff and other employees more knowledgeable about how to use cloud services — 64% of respondents said they’re investing in cloud-oriented training for current and new employees.

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