Security fears still the biggest barrier to cloud adoption - but the tide is changing

Security is still the biggest barrier to migrating data to the cloud, according to new research from Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider Databarracks.

However, the company also found what it believes to be a change in attitude of many organisations towards cloud-based technology, and an increased level of understanding.

Databarracks' annual Data Health Check report, surveys over 400 IT professionals from UK-based organisations.

The survey found that the majority (58 per cent) of IT professionals still see security as the biggest concern when moving data to cloud services. In fact, over 60 per cent identify security procedures and policies as the most important aspect they look for when selecting a CSP.

However, this seems not to be the stumbling block it used to be on the company level. In fact, many businesses are proactively implementing policies to overcome security anxieties.

64 per cent of those surveyed are considering, or have already put in place, an official policy restricting employee use of widespread consumer cloud services such as iCloud and Dropbox.

Interestingly, 43 per cent of organisations are also reviewing their security policies in light of the recent PRISM revelations.

"Security is always going to be the major priority for those considering a move to cloud services, as you are often trusting a third party with your company's most sensitive data," said Peter Groucutt, managing director for Databarracks.

"However, the difference highlighted in the research is that organisations are no longer seeing this as a roadblock, but rather an opportunity to review their current security practices and implement effective new policies that protect their data and enable a more confident move to cloud services."

Other findings unveiled by the survey show that over two thirds of respondents didn't know the legal limits on the amount of personal data an organisation can hold, while 80 per cent were unaware of the restrictions on moving data outside of the EU.

Groucutt added that "security is not black and white. Organisations will benefit from realising you don't have to encrypt everything – which according to our research 33 per cent of organisations currently do."

"Cloud service providers need to do more to help focus organisations on the real issues, like the specifics of when and where encryption is needed, and help them to stop worrying about general cloud security, which often causes unnecessary barriers to adoption."