Pechardscheck: European business leaders are especially reluctant to move to the cloud (Photo: BearingPoint)

Trust and data security are more important than saving money when it comes to cloud computing, a study by BearingPoint concludes.

The consultants looked at why adoption of cloud-based services continues to be dogged by fears over data security, reliability and compliance.

What they found was that companies are tempted by the scalability and relatively low cost of the cloud, but are held back by worries over risk and control.

"In the robust, binary world of cloud computing, trust is a fragile and imprecise variable, yet one of overwhelming importance," said Stefan Pechardscheck, a BearingPoint partner and coauthor of the report.

"Despite strong uptake by consumers, business leaders in Europe especially are still reluctant to enter the cloud," he said.

BearingPoint identified several reasons for companies' hesitancy. These include:

  • Uncertainty whether all service requirements can be met by the cloud
  • Worries over data protection and fear of espionage
  • Cost of migration of existing systems and services
  • Inherent mistrust of the cloud and a fear of losing control over essential company data
  • Lack of urgency from IT departments
Because of these concerns, cloud service providers are struggling to build customer confidence and demonstrate the obvious value of the new IT model, BearingPoint said.

Companies moving to the cloud can address their concerns through various safeguards. BearingPoint said they should use encryption, adopt a high standard of end-to-end access security and make sure they can easily switch cloud services from one provider to another should the need arise.