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Tuesday, 08 July 2014 13:58

Economic Benefits Of Cloud Outweigh Security Risks, Say UK CIOs

- Half (52%) of UK CIOs view increased security risks as biggest challenge associated with moving IT systems to the cloud
- Eight in 10 (82%) say the economic benefits of cloud technology outweigh the potential risks
- One-in-five (21%) hire interim professionals to fill the cloud skills gap

LONDON - Cost and convenience are driving UK organisations to adopt the cloud for IT systems, but CIOs report that security risks and data privacy concerns are the biggest challenges associated with cloud technology, according to new research[1] from specialist recruiter Robert Half Technology. Despite those concerns, the majority (82%) of CIOs say that the economic benefits derived from moving to cloud outweigh the potential risks involved.

More than a third (36%) of CIOs report that the primary benefit of cloud is the ability to manage automatic software and security updates, while 35% say that reduced or eliminated capital expenditure is the primary benefit.  Flexibility is also a driver for adopting cloud: 33% of CIOs say that the ability to increase bandwidth and scale based on business demand is the main benefit, while a further 30% believe that enhanced remote working capabilities is key.

The biggest challenges associated with cloud are increased security risks (cited by 52% of CIOs), increased legal and data privacy concerns (37%), implications for cross-border data transfers (33%) and potential increased costs due to user ineffectiveness and/or excessive time wastage (28%). 

The risks associated with cloud have been one factor helping to drive the cloud security software market to a predicted $5 billion USD (2.9B GBP) by 2019*, creating a growing requirement for IT professionals with relevant skills and experience. According to The Robert Half 2014 Salary Guide for Technology Professionals[2] salaries for information security roles such as Information Security Manager and Information Security Officer grew by one of the highest rates in the sector (4.0%) in 2013, suggesting that demand and competition for IT security skills are on the rise.

Robert Half's research found that while 50% of CIOs have responded to the need for adequate resourcing for the IT departments which have embraced cloud by up-skilling existing staff, one in five (21%) have hired skilled interim professionals to take on the load.

Ryan Rubin, Managing Director (UK Security  & Privacy Practice), Protiviti, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Robert Half said: "Despite the security risks associated with cloud, the majority of CIOs still believe that the cost and convenience of cloud computing outweigh the risks of migrating systems onto a cloud platform for many business cases.  Some of the risks associated with cloud services, such as ensuring that data is not moved across borders, dealing with outsourced cloud providers, maintaining confidentiality and availability of data stored in the cloud, should be actively be managed in organisations' risk posture and security policies and practices." 

Charlie Grubb, Associate Director, Robert Half Technology said: "From a resource point of view, all of the signs are that IT security professionals are in high demand.  CIOs need to consider how to ensure they have the right resources in place to manage the new cloud environment, whether that involves re-skilling existing teams or bringing in skilled contract IT professionals.  A common approach that we are seeing more of is to appoint an appropriately skilled and experienced contractor to lead a project and to encourage knowledge transfer to the permanent team, so that gaps are filled."