State of the Cloud 2014: Only 6% of Businesses Cloudless

We see it every day, and it’s more than enough to make a grown man cry. Sadly, one out of every sixteen businesses has no access to the cloud. We must do something about this small pool of companies that can’t quite reach the cloud. Superb Internet is here to help, with a better understanding of where the cloud is headed via the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report.

The report is based on a survey that software-as-a-service company RightScale performed during February 2014. The software firm polled IT personnel throughout all types of industries about their organization’s usage of cloud hosting. Almost 1100 individuals – including executives, supervisors, and engineers – from small, medium, and large businesses completed the survey. (Notably, those who completed the survey were not all clients of RightScale, although 28% were. It can skew results when companies only poll their own clients in a survey, as seemed to be the case with a recent study from Microsoft related to cloud computing.)

Note the terminology used within the “Cloud Maturity Model” established by RightScale for each annual State of the Cloud Report, dividing the business world up into companies with clouds at various stages of development (and for the sake of space today, I won’t go into specific definitions for each because you can probably get the idea; although I will provide descriptions in Part 2, linked at bottom):

  • Cloud Watchers
  • Cloud Beginners
  • Cloud Explorers
  • Cloud Focused.

One of the key findings of the study directly relates to maturity. The research team found that there is a learning curve with the cloud that is eventually accompanied with payoff: cost-benefit gets better over time, and it becomes less difficult to implement cloud strategies and integrate them into the computer system and operations.

Cloud as the Standard Technology

Everyone in the cloud industry wants to discuss where things are headed, but the real stunner from this survey is not future plans of companies. It’s where they are now.

Omnipresence – As noted above, 94% of businesses are using some type of cloud service, with 87% accessing a public cloud. Just as it took many online businesses a while to figure out that mobile was the new standard for web access, it’s taking companies a while to figure out that cloud is the new standard for IT. Of course, desktops devices are still incredibly relevant, as are legacy systems for certain situations (basically if the hardware is owned and the money makes sense), but the cloud is now an accepted go-to choice for business hosting.

Enterprise acceptance – Enterprises with workforces of 1000+ are now more typically at the Cloud Beginner stage or above. Last year 68% were at or above that category, while this year that proportion grew to 84%.

Diversification – As companies grows more familiar with cloud, the different kinds of computer loads and general tasks conducted become more differentiated. For a sense of that end of the spectrum, let’s look specifically at the Cloud Focused group. Here are the types of applications that are most often used within a cloud environment by those “cloud-mature” organizations (with many using more than one of these):

  • Test Environments for Project Development – 85%
  • Web Apps for Customers – 78%
  • Web Apps for Internal Use – 70%
  • Batch Processing (processing huge groups of data at one time, often at the end of the day, such as the updating of user databases or the conduction of numerous transactions simultaneously) – 62%
  • Mobile Applications (54%)
  • Social Applications (18%).

Interestingly, the one type of application that had a significant reduction in deployments between the 2013 report and this one was social. Last year those apps (apps built for use with Facebook, Twitter, etc.) were using cloud scenarios with 23% of the Cloud Focused firms. It’s possible that the companies that took the survey are now focusing more on web applications for their own sites rather than ones for use with the social networks, but that’s unclear.

Security – As is expressed above, the cloud becomes more advantageous for organizations as they become more familiar with the technology. Cloud also proves less problematic as companies become more engaged in the cloud. Security is the problem that is listed most frequently by companies in the Watchers group (31%), while it is far down the list (13%) for companies described as Cloud Focused. Essentially, as the report argues, when companies become more knowledgeable about cloud security best practices, the less likely they are to view data vulnerability as an obstacle.

Also note that the other factor that I believe to be involved here, particularly with security, is that the landscape has changed. It’s not just that these companies have become more familiar with best practices themselves but that the security of all types of cloud services have generally gotten better over time (as understanding, technology, and skill have rapidly advanced). Furthermore, companies can deploy hybrid or private clouds as necessary for compliance and/or to further protect highly sensitive data.

Evidence that Hybrid Cloud is Reaching Liftoff

In the next part of this summary and analysis of the RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report (see Part 2, linked below ), we will look at the new focus on hybrid clouds, as well as a further, more strategic peak inside the Cloud Focused organization. We will also look at policy development and the diverse views of IT by company players.

About Superb Internet

Since we are so heavily engrossed with the cloud at Superb Internet, with a performance-guaranteed public cloud and cutting-edge services including hybrid and private clouds (both of which are also resource-guaranteed), this survey is incredibly good news. Chat with an expert today.

Note: For Part 2, Click Here – State of the Cloud 2014, Part 2: Hybrid Cloud Bonanza

By Kent Roberts

Image Credit: WIRED