By Joseph Blass, CEO, WorkPlaceLive

Half of IT decision-makers have adopted the least secure mass-market cloud services, despite their growing concerns over data security in the cloud, according to research published last month by BT.

Why is it that many companies are choosing consumer-focused cloud services that are generally free to use but far less secure than products designed specifically for enterprises with far more robust security measures?

The choice of more vulnerable options means that most businesses will not know exactly where their data is stored and how secure it is.

In my view, there are a number of possible explanations for this security paradox:

In the research, three-quarters of IT decision makers claimed that security was their main concern and half said they were “very or extremely anxious” about the security implications of these services. This is a 10% rise from previous research undertaken in 2012.

Nearly half of those questioned felt enterprise cloud applications and services were too expensive and 44% thought that mass market public cloud applications and services are as effective as using those designed specifically for enterprise users.

So which is it? Is cloud not safe and therefore shouldn’t be used at any price, or is the cloud safe, but simply too expensive? The answer I believe is a bit of both.
Firstly, many mass market services are cheap. Whilst people may have security concerns, they think that the low price justifies the risk.

Secondly, businesses might feel that there is safety in numbers and everyone uses mass-market services. Given the widespread use of consumer web based email packages, there is a feeling that if so many people use these systems then it must be fine. Unfortunately it is often the case that the true value of security is not realised until an incident occurs.

In my opinion, irrespective of the reasons, businesses should never compromise on security and therefore require a tailored solution rather than a mass market solution.

Businesses need to know exactly where their data is being stored, what security measures are being applied and be able to actually speak to someone in customer services.

Why patch together disparate cloud services each with potential security concerns and have no single point of ownership for support issues and technical questions, when one can house all of the businesses applications in one convenient, familiar and secure Hosted Desktop?

Sounds expensive? Not really, a Hosted Desktop is a secure cloud solution tailored for each customer’s needs and which maintains the familiar and convenient look and feel of the Microsoft Desktop. It can cost as little as £50 a month per person and can save thousands of pounds of investment in expensive computers, servers, electricity, IT support staff and deliver a host of other business benefits. A Hosted Desktop is exclusive and isn’t a mass-market solution, but that is really its key benefit.