Reports: Cloud is an Emotional Roller Coaster

Cloud computing is a mixed bag. I think we all know that. But a couple of reports released in the last 30 days demonstrate the ambivalence IT decision-makers feel toward the technology, by the numbers.

  • Vormetric/Ovum – Cloud Half-Full & Half-Empty
  • Hacking Safeguards are the #1 Concern
  • NTT Communications – Cloud Turbulent at Lunch
  • 2015 Cloud Trends
  • Strategic Use of Cloud

Vormetric/Ovum: Cloud Half-Full & Half-Empty

Okay, so on-premise hardware is where you keep the important stuff, and the cloud gets all the development data and other low-risk information, right? Wrong.

A collaborative 2015 whitepaper by Vormetric and Ovum revealed that three in five American tech executives (60%) and more than half of IT directors worldwide (54%) keep private data (such as user details or trade secrets) on cloud VMs.

Although cloud seems to be widely trusted, it was at the top of the list for data vulnerability among the 800 executives polled for the report:

  • Cloud – 47%
  • Databases – 37%
  • File servers – 29%

“Cloud and big data concerns remain ‘genuine’ and ‘deep rooted’ according to the study,” explained James Bourne in Cloud Tech. “The numbers revealed worrying findings about why [organizations] were moving data into the cloud.”

He’s right, I guess: nearly one out of every two survey participants (46%) said they were shifting to the cloud to remain competitive in their industry.

Respondents were also asked what simple changes would make the cloud more attractive to them. The majority said they would invest more in the technology if it included:

  • Encryption managed by the client on-site – 55%
  • Encryption within the cloud itself – 52%
  • Acceptance of legal responsibility by the cloud company if hacked – 52%

Why are these companies so concerned? Well, simply put, they feel vulnerable. Two out of every five firms (40%) were either hacked or found to be noncompliant within the last 12 months.

Companies aren’t nearly as concerned with the thousands of North Korean cybersoldiers or international crime rings that take money straight from the till as they are with their own people. Almost all respondents (89%) reported at least some degree of risk from insiders.

Who is considered the most dangerous?

  • Users with elevated privileges – 55%
  • Providers of data services – 45%
  • Business associates – 43%

It’s good to know that our clients are more concerned with their own personnel than they are with us. That really is a weird vote of confidence.

Hacking Safeguards are the #1 Concern

Remembering that figure above about how many organizations had experienced a compliance failure or data breach in the last year (40%), it’s no surprise that hacking safeguards are the biggest concern of these decision-makers. Compliance is a lesser concern. After all, Vodafone, Target, and Sony had all passed compliance audits prior to their breaches.

The head analyst behind the report, Ovum’s Andrew Kellett, said that hope and fear surround the big data and cloud market. “This fear can lead to slow implementation of these platforms, which stymies innovation and growth,” he commented. “But there are steps enterprises can take and changes providers can make that will increase adoption.”

NTT Communications – Cloud Turbulent at Launch

In a second report, NTT Communications revealed that migration from legacy systems to the cloud were often rocky.

They also said that even though cloud is becoming a bigger slice of IT spending, executives commonly are unconvinced that the technology is meeting reasonable expectations based on the way services are marketed.

According to the study, enterprise computing environments are becoming progressively more sophisticated and more challenging to control.

“UK IT decision makers claim they have to support 250 applications on average, compared to 100 in the US … and 57 in Germany,” reported Bourne. “Globally, IT is having to deal with more than four clouds on average.”

2015 Cloud Trends

The whitepaper highlighted a few trends in the business cloud this year:

  • It’s unclear what types of software should go to cloud – respondents were (for the most part) evenly divided on the right environments for productivity suites, enterprise resource planning, and customer relationship management. However, the real answer apparently is that almost all should go eventually. Only one in ten applications (10%) will never be moved to cloud.
  • Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is not yet widely accepted. However, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) is used by nearly 50% of study participants.
  • The majority of respondents said that creating an easy-to-use bimodal infrastructure – essentially a hybrid of cloud and legacy systems, as promoted by Gartner analysts last year – is challenging. IT leaders say that there is little time left over for innovations and global fixes since keeping software running smoothly eats up so much of their schedules.

Strategic Use of Cloud

According to NTT strategic VP Len Padilla, cloud often doesn’t simplify the lives of IT executives as they had hoped.

“ICT decision makers harbour significant frustrations over cloud,” Padilla noted. “and there are no clear answers over which kinds of applications belong where.”

In other words, it’s easy for cloud to drive you crazy; but as described above, most companies are moving their apps there regardless.

The solution? Choose a full-spectrum hosting partner that provides transparent and expert consultation: Superb Internet.

By Kent Roberts