Mark Shank managing director of KPMG39s digital and mobile practice

Mark Shank, managing director of KPMG's digital and mobile practice.

KPMG: Data Security Still Top Cloud Concern

Security is still top-of-mind and the biggest concern regarding cloud computing, but executives are feeling more at ease with the cloud. Here are the details.

Cloud security is still a top concern, but according to KPMG's "Elevating Business in the Cloud" report, based on findings from its 2014 Cloud Survey, those concerns are lessened. The perceived risk of using cloud services has gone down.

The report showed that 50 percent of the 539 C-level executives and IT leaders that responded to the survey, intellectual property theft is the most significant challenge they are facing in doing business in the cloud. Forty-five cited data loss and privacy risks as the one of the most significant challenges in doing business in the cloud.

Compared to KPMG's 2012 survey, security has become an even greater concern than cost efficiency, which was the most-often cited challenge to doing business in the cloud in that survey's results. Even as security has become the greater challenge, KPMG indicated that there has been a "substantial decline" from the 78 percent of executives who noted intellectual property theft and the 83 percent naming data loss and privacy risks as business challenges in the cloud in the previous survey.

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"While the challenge posed by cloud related data loss and privacy threats are less pronounced in the minds of global industry leaders, they are still taking the issue seriously," said Rick Wright, principal and global cloud enable leader at KPMG, in a prepared statement. "The clear trend in the data that we have collected shows that, even in the face of significant media attention paid to recent data breaches, global leaders are still willing to embrace the transformative potential of the cloud."

Security may be a concern, but there are other factors that are driving adoption of cloud computing technologies. One of the big ones is in enabling a flexible and mobile workforce. The number of executives indicating it as a driver nearly tripled over the 2012 data, with 42 percent of respondents this year calling it a "transformative mechanism."

Additionally, executives noted the top two benefits of using cloud in improve workforce mobility -- increased productivity (cited by 54 percent of respondents) and high employee satisfaction and flexibility (48 percent).

"People's expectations as employees are a lot different than they were 10 years ago," said Mark Shank, managing director of the digital and mobile practice at KPMG, in a prepared statement. "Employees today demand the same access, experience and richness on their work computers and mobile devices as they have on their personal devices. Cloud is making that possible, and organizations are turning to it to enable a more flexible and mobile workforce.

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