Security concerns continue to be a key issue for organizations using or considering cloud-based services. A survey of 573 IT and business executives in 18 countries conducted in March and April 2011 by Kelton Research shows that 51 percent of companies cite worries about security as the top reason not to move to the cloud.Nearly one-fourth of the companies surveyed report that they've had a security breach with a cloud service, and 20 percent of the respondents say they have turned off a cloud service in their organization and moved back to traditional applications. Security concerns were the biggest drivers for moving back to on-premises applications, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Avanade."Cloud security is indeed a pressing issue as an increasing number of companies migrate towards cloud-based software," saysGareth Schweitzer, president of Kelton Research. "In many cases, this migration is done quickly, for large, diverse organizations, and without a clear roadmap to ensure that the transition is both secure and confidently received by internal stakeholders."Overall, security in the cloud is actually much stronger than many internal IT security systems, adds Larry Beck, senior director, Cloud Strategy at Avanade. "The cloud is one option, and like any approach it introduces both benefits and risks. But companies can minimize these security challenges and risks by taking a few key actions."These include ensuring that you move only the right types of applications and data to the cloud; and selecting vendors that have mature communication and resolution procedures.A majority of the executives (60 percent) say they are concerned about unmanaged cloud sprawl. Part of the problem, the report says, is that more than one in four companies don't have a centralized system to identify and track their IT cloud service providers.