According to a new survey from the Cloud Industry Forum of 450 organizations in the UK, almost half (48 percent) are already using cloud computing in some shape or form.
The survey showed high levels of satisfaction with cloud service providers, but lingering confusion about business interruption issues and the consequences of downtime.
The Cloud Becomes Mainstream
The survey suggests that cloud services are no longer a buzzword, but already in widespread practice. Not surprisingly, the private sector is leading the way, with far higher uptake of cloud services than seen with their public sector counterparts. Medium to large companies are at the forefront of cloud adoption, as opposed to the small businesses with less than 20 employees or the public sector.
The survey findings also show that the decision to migrate to the cloud is now predominantly made by the head of IT, rather than CEOs or managing directors (MDs). In smaller companies without IT departments, the decision is mostly taken by the MD or owner.
Cloud services are maturing
An overwhelming majority of respondents (94 percent) is satisfied with the use of cloud services and happy with the results of their use of the cloud. This definitely indicates that the market is maturing and service providers are successfully offering cloud services that are meeting customer expectations. Only a few mid- to large-scale enterprises mentioned difficulties with the migration to the cloud, which should not come as a surprise.
Increasing cloud adoption rates
Similarly, the majority of respondents expect their use of cloud services to increase significantly in the next 12 months, especially with email services, data back-up and data storage services. Also, one-third of those not currently employing cloud services claimed that they anticipated adopting them in the next year, and almost two-thirds believe that their companies will eventually employ cloud services.
Data security and location
Not surprisingly, many respondents claim that they are reluctant to move sensitive data to the cloud, especially employee information, account/financial data. Data security and data privacy were cited as the number one concern.
Also, the physical location of data and jurisdiction was another area of concern for cloud users, preferring to have the data stored in the UK or EU. This development is interesting as it reflects natural concerns driven by regulation and that national law provides a higher level of comfort to cloud users. Enterprise users clearly want to know where their data is stored in the cloud at all times and be aware of the legislation of the particular jurisdiction where the data resides.
However, as a sign of immaturity of the cloud market, only about half of respondents employing cloud services negotiated the legal terms of their contract with their cloud service provider (CSP), with larger organizations more likely to do so. Furthermore, the study reveals that users are in the dark over questions of liability, indemnity, insurance and ownership of content in the cloud. Some uncertainty also exists about the issue of business continuity and risk management. Forty-three percent claimed that their insurance covered business interruption from a disaster at the CSP’s data center or a data leak. Two-thirds believed this should be covered by the CSP – indicating an uncertainty of responsibility and accountability. Certainly this reflects the importance of establishing a wider insurance industry and best practices guidelines.
Flexibility is the primary driver
When it comes to the primary driver of cloud adoption the overwhelming reason is flexibility, according to 53 percent of respondents. Interestingly, cost savings were cited by only 16 percent as the primary driver for initial cloud adoption – a contradiction with the emphasis that cloud service providers have put on cost savings as the primary selling proposition. It seems that the cloud is affording businesses large and small, public and private, the flexibility they need to adapt to the ever changing business environment.