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Hackers won’t stop us from cloud adoption – UK businesses

A global ransomware attack on Tuesday hit computers at Russia’s biggest oil company, Ukraine’s international airport, global shipping firm A.P. Moller-Maersk, and the world’s biggest advertising agency WPP.

Petya is the second major global ransomware attack in the last two months. The WannaCry cyber attack in May affected more than 230,000 computers in over 150 countries, with the UK’s National Health Service, Spanish phone company Telefónica and German state railways among those hardest hit.

However, a recent survey shows that businesses in the UK are pressing ahead with their digital transformation plans, despite fears of being hit by a cyber attack or data protection regulations.

A new independent research report from software solutions company Advanced questioned over 500 senior executives in UK organisations about their attitudes to using the cloud as part of their digital transformation plans.

Digital transformation to continue as planned

Most organisations surveyed are concerned about security (82 per cent) and data protection (68 per cent) in the cloud but, perhaps surprisingly, 80 per cent of them are not put off from adopting the cloud following recent high-profile cyber attacks such as WannaCry and Petya.

A third (33 per cent) of organisations admit to being experienced in the cloud and continue to consider it for all new projects, while 37 per cent have recently launched cloud computing projects for the first time.

Although positive, these findings should not negate the common concerns and challenges. The survey also found that businesses want better support if they are to execute their digital transformation plans effectively. Security is the biggest barrier, with 76 per cent saying that governments should do more to protect businesses and their customers from a cyber attack.

Meanwhile, 82 per cent of organisations want to see cloud providers do more to build confidence among those looking to adopt a digital transformation strategy, of which the cloud is fundamental. When asked what they look for in a provider, most say financial stability (69 per cent), data held in a UK location (65 per cent) and local support (58 per cent) – above typical benefits touted by providers including scalability (46 per cent) and the breadth of application offerings (38 per cent).

Jon Wrennall, CTO at Advanced, says: “It’s encouraging to see businesses are undeterred from using the cloud, which is fast becoming the right choice for many to drive efficiencies, innovate and grow. Sadly we are seeing the same concerns around security and data protection reported over and over again. It’s right to be concerned about security; it’s time that all of us as cloud services providers take a reality check.

“As an industry and profession, we all need to proactively give clear guidance on security responsibilities and support organisations in being better protected, ensuring devices and applications are properly patched and secured – those writing the software are clearly best placed to provide this. With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force next year we also have a duty of care to provide clarity on how data is being stored and secured in the cloud.

“There’s still a job to be done in creating trust in the cloud and helping customers use the cloud in the right way for the digital transformation that’s right for them. Our survey shows most organisations want financially stable providers and prefer those that store data locally and offer local support; this will become even more pertinent as Britain leaves the European Union. They will trust the providers that offer certainty in an uncertain market and those with a vested interest in the UK and the cloud.”

The independent research was carried out following the results of the general election, during week commencing 12th June. Over 500 participants took part in the survey, which was carried out by Techmarketview.