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LAS VEGAS Interop Spring 2014 Concerns about security and governance are still the chief hurdles in deploying cloud technology, particularly when it comes to mission-critical applications, according to a study published this week.

The survey of more than 350 senior IT, which was conducted earlier this year by Unisys and IDG Research, reports that more than 70 percent of respondents feel that security is the chief obstacle in cloud deployment. Concerns about information governance (45 percent) and the ability to meet enterprise standards (42 percent) also ranked as top challenges.

"A lot of what slows cloud deployment is fear of the unknown," says John Kunzier, global director of portfolio marketing at Unisys and one of the authors of the study. "IT executives are not sure how they can trust what the cloud providers are telling them, and how they can collect the data they need about the security of the data thats in the cloud."

The potential for cost savings and improved efficiency are pushing most companies to try out cloud technology, according to the study. More than half of enterprises with more than 1,000 employees have at least one application or a portion of their organizations infrastructure in the cloud. About 26 percent of respondents enterprise information currently resides in a private cloud environment, and that percentage will grow to about 32 percent in the next 18 months, the study says.

But in many cases, those early deployments are non-critical applications where security is less of a concern, notes Dave Frymier, CISO at Unisys. "At Unisys, were certainly experimenting with cloud technology, but mostly for non-mission-critical applications," he says. "I think a lot of [CISOs] feel that way - they want to test it out."

Fifty-three percent of senior-level IT leaders at 1,000-plus employee organizations said they expect to increase spending on software-as-a-service and cloud-based applications over the next 12 months, the survey says. Forty-four percent of the respondents said they were actively researching or piloting new cloud or SaaS applications.

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