By Claire West

Star, a provider of on-demand computing and communication services for UK businesses, has released results from a survey revealing Business Managers’ growing confidence in the security of third party data centres. The survey shows that the largest group of respondents, (44%) considers their data is safer and more secure in a professionally managed data centre with round the clock support, rather than on their own hardware based at their office premises. This compares with 34% who believed that data was more secure in-house.

The survey, conducted with more than 100 UK business managers and directors, highlights a shift in attitudes towards security of services delivered via the cloud. Star’s new findings contrast with results from an IDC survey published in October 2008 which cited security as the number one concern with the cloud / on-demand computing model. The results of IDC’s survey, with 244 IT Executives revealed that for 74.6% of respondents, security was the key challenge with cloud services, rated above performance and availability.

Star’s survey also examined Managers’ key business challenges for 2009, revealing the ongoing importance of cost-control in these difficult economic times. The biggest challenge for 38% of managers was the need to reduce costs. This was followed by the ever present desire to grow their business (36%), improve operational performance (20%) and access new technologies (6%).

Commenting on the findings, Martino Corbelli, Marketing Director at Star said: “These results indicate that business leaders are potentially ahead of some of their IT counterparts when it comes to their vision of utilising data centre services. They appear more comfortable with entrusting data to a third party. Security has traditionally been cited as one of the key obstacles to adopting Internet driven services, but most senior executives and CIOs already know that their data is much safer in an environment that most businesses would find prohibitively expensive to even try to emulate in-house.”

He continues “Unsurprisingly cost is still the big issue for UK businesses. We’re seeing increased demand for cloud services based on the very fact that they can provide, at a low and predictable monthly price, access to enterprise grade solutions that are simple to deliver to any staff, anywhere and at anytime. This means that business leaders can make quick and easy business decisions about deploying the right technologies to support them without having to recruit extra IT people. They can get more out of their assets with the people and the budgets they already have.”

To provide businesses with more information on how cloud computing can help them Star has published a free guide: “Cloud Computing — what does it really mean?” and this can be downloaded at: www.star.co.uk/cloud.