As the business environment continues to expand and become competitive with more firms entering the landscape, companies are finding they need to deploy innovative solutions to stay on pace with rival firms. These demands are pushing more decision-makers to implement the cloud and virtualization, as the technologies promise to reduce IT expenses, improve operational performance and keep up with consumerization trends.
Cloud computing perceptions change
CA Technologies polled 300 companies across the United States and Canada in late 2011 and found that more than half of American organizations plan to incorporate the cloud into their business continuity programs. While Canadian firms are less advanced than their counterparts, nearly one-quarter of decision-makers said they would leverage the cloud to enhance disaster recovery initiatives.
The need to have effective data loss prevention is growing more important each year as cyberthreats evolve and become more menacing. The study found that 100 percent of respondents experienced some form of information or application loss in the past year.
An IT system failure was the most common reason for data loss, as 76 percent of respondents experienced these problems last year. Other companies said human error and external cyberattacks were also issues they faced last year. However, CA Technologies revealed that only slightly more than one-quarter of respondents had sufficient data security tools in place.
In an effort to prevent similar instances from happening in the future, nearly half of American businesses increased their IT budgets to include cloud security programs and data privacy initiatives, CA Technologies reported.
"It is broadly acknowledged that cloud computing can offer many benefits to organizations that require more agile and cost-effective ways of delivering IT services," CA Technologies data management vice president Bill Mann said. "This survey reveals that one of those benefits is improved data protection – which remains a huge challenge in conventional, non-cloud environments."
Cloud initiatives vary between firms as confidence grows
The study revealed that 36 percent of U.S. companies and 28 percent of Canadian businesses have adopted the public cloud. Nearly three-quarters of all organizations leveraging the public cloud said they have high confidence in its ability to protect mission-critical solutions.
The private cloud, on the other hand, has seen higher adoption rates and is more widely recognized for its protective qualities. CA Technologies reported that 76 percent of firms in the United States and 45 percent of Canadian offices are utilizing the private cloud, with more than 80 percent believing it can safeguard confidential applications and information.
A similar study by Microsoft recently revealed that American small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, are experiencing data security improvements by leveraging the cloud. The report noted that 35 percent of companies said they experienced noticeably higher levels of protection after migrating information and applications to cloud-based environments.
"There's a perception that security is a barrier to cloud adoption," Microsoft Trustworthy Computing general manager Adrienne Hall said. "Yet when companies embrace and invest in cloud services, they find the benefits far outweigh previous concerns."
These newly recognized security benefits, in addition to the cloud's ability to cut IT costs, are causing more companies to increase their cloud spending. According to a report by IDG Enterprise, organizations will expand their cloud budgets by an average of 16 percent over the next year.
As the cloud matures and evolves, businesses will continue migrating sensitive documents to the hosted environments in an effort to remain competitive with rival firms without sacrificing data security or efficiency.
Cloud Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro