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Cloud and security top two CIO concerns for 2015. Makes sense.

It’s no secret that cloud is a big part of a CIO’s IT strategy, and results from TechTarget’s 2014 IT Salary Survey bear that out: the 333 senior IT executives polled in this year’s survey ranked cloud computing as one of their top priorities for 2015, tied for the No. 1 spot with security.

Cloud may be a top priority, but the pace of adoption is different for everyone, as evident in the follow-up interviews I did with some of our CIO respondents to the survey. Some still don’t trust it, some are slow to adopt it, and for some the cloud is, plain and simple, an IT lifeline.

The latter is certainly the case for Troy Neal, Director of IS/MIS/IT at YES Prep Public Schools, which provides an educational program to low-income students.

“In education we’ve seen a steady decrease in budgets. Especially from a state funding and federal funding standpoint,” Neal said. “You’ve got to get creative with budgets.”

For Neal, the solution was moving to Office 365 not only for his staff members but also when implementing technology in classrooms to help teachers and students.

“We’re out helping the students with 365 in the classroom right next to the teacher,” Neal said. And though Neal is trying to battle budget cuts with the cloud, “knowing what the direct outcomes will look like down the road” by seeing first-hand the positive effects of the technology being implemented in the classroom is what keeps him and his team going.

For others, like Bob Daugherty, Director of IS/MIS/IT at Deming Malone Livesay & Ostroff (DMLO), an accounting firm, the move to the cloud is colored by regulations and security concerns. The move to the cloud for an accounting firm is necessarily a cautious trip, he said.

“We’re a little bit slower to move to the cloud than most industries I think simply because we’re hemmed in by what our accounting software vendors will do,” Daugherty said.

For DMLO, security trumps the computing benefits of cloud because the firm is in the possession of people’s social security numbers, phone numbers, addresses and more.

“We’ve got just about everything somebody could want to steal your identity here in the office,” Daugherty said. Given the persistence of attackers, the firm must prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, “the chances are getting better that [a breach is] going to happen to us. So that’s one of the reasons we’re focusing on security this year and probably the next couple of years at least,” Daugherty said.

Freddie Martinez, director of IS/MIS/IT at Fountain Tire, a Canadian tire dealership, also told me he wasn’t quite sold on the cloud yet.

“I’m not too comfortable yet that they have the security that I require,” Martinez said. “You know, everybody can put storage equipment and computer equipment out there and say they’re providing a cloud but when it comes to security, it’s the one risk that everyone’s thinking about.”

Check out more analysis from the 2014 TechTarget IT Salary and Careers Survey:

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