Over three-quarters of chief financial officers (CFO) are unsure about outsourcing all of their data to the cloud, while 87 per cent would be prepared to externally host their website.

A survey of 100 CFOs in medium-sized UK organisations found that concerns around data protection and resilience are the most common factors in holding CFOs back from using third party cloud providers. While almost three-quarters of CFOs said they would like to remove data centres from their organisation's balance sheet, only a quarter of the respondents think this is likely over the next five years.

Keith Tilley, managing director UK and executive vice president Europe for SunGard Availability Services, who conducted the research, said: “Reduction in spend is often cited as a driver for moving towards the cloud but when selecting a cloud provider, it seems that guaranteeing resilience and security of data is far more important than achieving significant return on investment.

“Whilst this prudence is entirely appropriate, moving your data or IT infrastructure into the cloud should not necessarily be seen as a risk. Quite the opposite, using a private cloud is an opportunity to increase the security and resilience of your data as you are entrusting it with a specialist for whom this is their only concern.”

Philip Howard, research director Bloor Research, said: “Many people are not clear about the distinctly different cloud offerings. The public cloud, which has seen some issues, is different to an on-premises private cloud, which a company might operate for itself, as opposed to a hosted private cloud service such as the one that SunGard offers. This is causing confusion within businesses.”