Bitkom says the cloud can also protect companies (Photo: T-Systems)

Corporate use of the cloud is growing at a slower pace than before in Germany, as companies worry about the extent of US surveillance of private data. According to a study by Germany's high-tech association Bitkom, cloud use grew 3 percent in 2013, compared with a 9 percent increase in 2012.

"The trend toward cloud computing is unbroken," said Bitkom President Dieter Kempf, "but the NSA affair has put a damper on growth." Secret documents unveiled last year showed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) has been engaging in widespread international monitoring of a broad range of data communications.

According to the latest Bitkom survey, which is called "Cloud Monitor 2014, 40 pc of German companies used cloud-based services in 2013, while 29 pc are evaluating their options and 31 pc said they are not considering the cloud at all.

Among companies interviewed, 49 pc said their attitude toward public cloud computing has become more negative as a result of the US spying allegations. With regard to private cloud computing, the percentage stood at 44.

Kempf acknowledged that the NSA affair has been a factor in slowing down the adoption of cloud-based services, but he also stressed in a press briefing that "cloud services are part of the solution when it comes to providing better protection for companies against secret services and cyber criminals."

Bitkom conducted the survey on behalf of consultants KPMG. The researchers polled 403 German IT bosses in November and December, 2013.