"I think I'm becoming overclouded! Is that a word?" asked a CIO friend of mine a few weeks ago. (It may not be yet, I was thinking, but it will be soon.)

We were chatting about cloud stuff-the hype, the reality, the love affair that marketing wordsmiths have with the term.

"Most of us are uncomfortable with the security aspects of all this," said this CIO. "How do you know there's really a firewall around your data? Who's responsible when it's breached?"

Oh, how I wish I had some reassuring news to share. But my CIO friend is in the IT professional majority when it comes to lacking confidence in the security of the cloud.

That's one of the major findings detailed in our cover story (" Why CIOs are Resetting Information Security Priorities") on the results of our 8th annual Global Information Security Survey, conducted with PricewaterhouseCoopers and CSO magazine. The two biggest concerns to emerge this year are business partners with questionable security practices and cloud practitioners with dubious risk controls. A sobering 62 percent of respondents had little to no confidence in cloud-provider security.

Feeling overclouded? Many CIOs feel the same


Another notable change we saw from last year's survey is your increased willingness to outsource management of your information security in order to address these concerns.

This survey is a monster in size, by the way, with 12,847 security and IT pros from more than 100 countries weighing in.

"You want to embrace cloud computing because it makes your IT operations leaner and less expensive," CSO magazine Senior Editor Bill Brenner writes. " have to be cautious."

That caution has to struggle against a rising tide of demand from your customers, all of whom want to go their merry way with mobile devices while counting on you to safeguard their privacy and secure their transactions. And business partners may be on shakier ground than you realize in the aftermath of the global recession. Some 77 percent of our respondents believe that their partners and suppliers are in a weaker position now than they were a year ago.

What's a CIO to do? Read our story and see how your peers are coping. Overclouded, perhaps, but with a chance of success.