The PRISM revelations – that governments monitor their own citizens as well as those in other countries – have undermined business confidence in moving to the cloud.
This is according to the UK-based Cloud Industry Forum, which conducted an annual survey of 250 private and public sector organisations and noted a reverse in patterns seen in recent years.
More than half of those questioned (52 per cent) voiced security as a major concern when asked about moving data to the cloud, up from 37 per cent a year ago.
"In the previous two surveys, people [in the UK] were less sensitive about moving to the cloud," Andy Burton, founder of the Cloud Industry Forum, told The Channel.
Security worries were most prevalent among large enterprises, with 63 per cent of big biz voicing heightened worries since former NSA sys admin Edward Snowden blew the whistle on government snooping.
The generic security issue was broken down into three areas: 61 per cent were worried about malicious threats to data; 54 per cent about privacy (data being misused by a third party cloud provider); and 28 per cent mentioned data sovereignty.
Yet just two per cent of the 250 companies surveyed said they had experienced a security breach in the past year.
Burton, said the "FUD factor" increased, but given the actual number of breaches, "there is a massive gap between perception and reality".
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Some 59 per cent said security was higher up the agenda in light of Snowden, but only 32 per cent of those had actually changed the way they secure data in the cloud, the majority of which were operating in the public sector.
Burton said that behind security the next most specified concern was increasing confusion between the US Safe Harbour regulations and data protection regulations in Europe.
Some 87 per cent surveyed said they wanted data stored to remain in the UK, while almost half of those (43 per cent) want data stored on-premise.
"The findings were not massively surprising but its all about managing expectations," Burton told us. "There is still a lot of confusion in the market, not backed up by experiences, but being exaggerated by PRISM and the public sector debate between Europe and the US over data protection".
In other findings, 72 per cent could not see a day when they move wholesale to the cloud.
The survey didn't stretch to what bears do in woods or whether the Pope is indeed Catholic. ®