By Daniel Hunter

More than half of UK businesses are concerned about the safety of their data as cloud computing takes off but their fear is not preventing adoption, with 23 per cent of CIOs already using the cloud and a further 53 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months.

“The fog surrounding Cloud is clearly lifting, with businesses across the UK recognising the benefits that it can bring," Steve Salmon, principal advisor within KPMG’s CIO Advisory practice, said.

"It’s no surprise though that some concerns exist but, with a measured approach, innovative organisations will be in a strong position to benefit from cloud services without exposing themselves to un-necessary risks.”

Steve’s comments come ahead of Safer Internet Day (7 February) which has been launched to educate individuals and businesses about how to make best use of the ‘online environment’.

He suggests that “organisations taking the time to analyse how the cloud can improve business efficiency and support innovation, rather than backing away through concerns or misunderstanding are the ones most likely to succeed. A do nothing approach is not an option moving forwards”

“Whilst it is said that every cloud has a silver lining, businesses must ask questions about what type of data they store online, who has access to it and what levels of security and privacy are applied. In short, organisations should consider functionality over form so they can realise the benefits that cloud has to offer,” Steve adds.

With businesses intrigued by the cloud, but unsure how to make use of it KPMG is offering three tips for executives to consider:

- Deal with your data: don’t assume everything should ‘go online’. Decide what information should be held internally and what can safely be placed in the cloud.

- Allowing access: adoption of the cloud doesn’t have to include everyone. Organisations should identify which departments, individuals and associated information are best suited to Cloud platforms and decide accordingly. Without a considered approach, data can fall into the wrong hands

- Rules and regulations: ownership of data is a critical issue and businesses need to keep on top of where it is located for their own confidentiality requirements and external data protection issues and the need for compliance.

“Cloud is certainly here to stay but the challenge for CEOs and their IT teams is to harness the technology in a way that fosters growth, yet retains security. What matters now is that businesses are in a position to innovate without comprising their employee or customer data,” Steve concludes.

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