In recent years, we have seen how cloud computing has significantly changed the way businesses use, rely on and interact with information technology. Cloud-based services are being adopted by all types of organizations, including enterprises, small-medium businesses and the public sector. This article takes a look at the trends in adoption of cloud services across the UK. The data presented here are gathered from a Cloud Industry Forum study conducted in January and February of 2011, with 450 senior IT and business decision makers from a variety of organizations located in the UK.
Cloud Adoption Trends in the UK
The organizations polled in this study include: IT and services; education; business/professional services; manufacturing; financial services; retail, distribution and transport; and the public sector. According to the survey, the term “cloud” was not considered an ambiguous or threatening IT buzzword, as previously believed. Rather, approximately 48 percent of all organizations already use cloud computing. The public sector lagged behind the private sector, which appeared to be at the forefront of the move to the cloud.
Other trends regarding cloud adoption decisions include:
- 65 percent of respondents revealed that the decision to move to the cloud is taken by the head of IT. Only a quarter of respondents reported that this decision was the responsibility of CEOs.
- Surprisingly, it is small and medium businesses, not larger organizations that are recognizing the benefits of leveraging cloud-based services. In the past, it was larger enterprises that would be first to integrate new technological innovations into their operations.
- 53 percent of respondents said the primary driver for using cloud-based services was the flexibility it brought to the organization. Smaller organizations especially valued flexibility, as it enabled them to compete in the wider market, without investing heavily in in-house technical resources. Flexibility was almost equally valued by both the public and private sector.
- Only 16 percent of respondents said that cutting costs was a primary driver for adopting cloud-based services.
Surprisingly, 94 percent of those polled reported that they were satisfied with the cloud services they were currently using. According to the Cloud Industry Forum, “This is an extremely high figure and is clear evidence that the market is not immature and that businesses that have embraced the opportunity perceive that they are reaping the benefits they sought.”
Regarding this section of the study, owners/CEOs of organizations were more likely to report satisfaction with their cloud service provider, whereas IT managers and IT specialists were slightly less satisfied (93 percent and 94 percent satisfaction, respectively). Furthermore, smaller businesses (those with fewer than 20 employees) reported they were completely satisfied with their services, while organizations with more than 200 employees reported 93 percent satisfaction. In any case, these are very positive results.
Given the already established use of cloud-based services and the high levels of user satisfaction, it is likely that these users will extend cloud provisioning throughout their organizations. According to the Cloud Industry Forum study, 85 percent of organizations currently using cloud services expect to increase their use in the next 12 months. Migration to the cloud typically centers on three core applications: email, data back-up/disaster recovery; and data storage services. Other services (in order of popularity) include:
- Collaboration services
- IT operations management
- Accounting and finance applications
- IT asset management services
- Managed IT services
- IT security services
- Unified communications
Organizations involved in the study that were not currently using cloud-based services reported that they would consider migration beyond 2012. In fact, 65 percent of such organizations reported that it was highly possible that they would begin using cloud services, while 15 percent of such respondents said they would move to the cloud at some stage. However, 12 percent stated categorically that they would never consider migrating to the cloud.
According to respondents that currently use cloud services, or that would considering doing so at some point in the future, the top IT services that they would never move to the cloud are as follows:
- Employee information (54 percent would not move this to the cloud)
- Accounts/financial data services (52 percent)
- Internal file sharing (32 percent)
- Client/third-party data (23 percent)
- File/print services (20 percent)
- IP/patent data (20 percent)
The study also looked at significant concerns regarding the adoption of cloud services. In this section, only those respondents that were currently using cloud services, or that were considering cloud services were included. Major concerns, in order are as follows:
- Data security
- Data privacy
- Dependency on internet access
- Confidence in vendor reliability
- Contract lock-in
- Cost of migration
- Contractual liability for services if SLAs are missed
- Confidence in choice of vendor
- Confidence in the business capability of vendor
- Confidence in the clarity of charges
- Lack of business case to need cloud service
This article takes a look at cloud service adoption trends across the UK. The data is based on a 2011 study conducted by the Cloud Industry Forum, which involved 450 respondents from a variety of organizations (including large enterprises, small-medium businesses and the public sector). The study takes a look at driving factors for cloud migration; satisfaction with current cloud services; future trends for cloud adoption; and concerns regarding selecting and relying on cloud services.
CCSK Exam Preparation
In preparation for the Certificate of Cloud Security Knowledge (CCSK), a security professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:
- Contractual Requirements (Domain 2)
- Enterprise and Information Risk Management (Domain 2)
- Third Party Management Recommendations (Domain 2)
- Provider Selection (Domain 8)
- Key Management Best Practices and Standards (Domain 11)