A third of finance managers happy to store confidential accounting records in the cloud

Iron Mountain research reveals finance departments more likely than IT to trust cloud providers with sensitive business information

London, UK – 26 March 2013 – Europe’s financial decision-makers could be embracing cloud data storage without fully grasping the associated risks and implications, according to new research [1] from storage and information management services company Iron Mountain. The study found that over 35 per cent of finance managers believe it is appropriate to store confidential accounts, invoices, insurance claims and tax records in the cloud, compared with 32 per cent of IT managers.

An overwhelming 88 per cent of UK finance leaders believe that responsibility for the protection of their business data rests with the service provider. This, however, is wrong: EU law places accountability for lost or compromised data firmly in the hands of the data owner [2].

When it comes to making the decision to store sensitive information in the cloud, finance leaders are slightly more relaxed about the cloud than their counterparts in IT. Finance managers were less likely than IT to worry about data protection (49 per cent compared to 55 per cent), security and compliance issues (45 per cent compared to 49 per cent), and whether or how data might be copied and moved around (23 per cent compared to 25).

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Commenting on the findings, Christian Toon, head of information risk at Iron Mountain Europe said: “Take your head out of the cloud before you put your information there. Lose or leak your information in the cloud and your business is ultimately responsible. It is important to note that cloud storage does not replace the need for a comprehensive archive and backup strategy. Companies are advised to take an approach that combines the benefits of cloud storage with the offline protection of magnetic tape technology. With financial departments under immense pressure to cut costs and improve efficiencies, the cloud can seem an attractive opportunity. We would encourage businesses to consider the cloud, but not to do so indiscriminately. A lack of understanding of the risks associated with cloud storage can lead to ill-considered strategies that could expose businesses to data breaches and the associated financial and long-term reputational impacts.”

The Iron Mountain study questioned IT, finance and legal decision-makers in mid- to large- businesses across the UK, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary. It found that cloud based data storage is an immensely popular option for firms, with 85 per cent of UK business managers surveyed saying they had moved or planned to move data to the cloud in the next 12 months.

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