When the cloud first emerged within the private sector, decision-makers were instantly drawn to the hosted technology in an attempt to reduce IT expenses, enhance mobility and achieve a number of other goals on their to-do lists. At the same time, however, companies worried that the public cloud could not safeguard mission-critical applications and data as well as its private counterpart.
Organizations initially shied away from the public cloud and leveraged on-site environments more frequently, as the latter enabled IT departments to deploy robust data security tools to ensure sensitive records and solutions remained protected. The unstable economy, however, shifted business priorities and drove organizations to utilize tools with a lower total cost of ownership. As a result, companies started to use the public cloud more frequently and were surprised.
A new study by North Bridge Venture Partners revealed the increased adoption of the public cloud has led to an increased confidence in the cloud computing model. The survey, which polled more than 780 industry experts and users across multiple industries, found that roughly 50 percent of respondents now believe the public cloud is qualified enough to host mission-critical applications and data.
While the private cloud still has advantageous data protection qualities, hybrid models – virtual environments consisting of both public and private clouds – are becoming more popular. Roughly 40 percent of respondents are currently leveraging the public cloud, while approximately 36 percent are emphasizing a hybrid approach. Experts and users agree that this will increase in the coming years, as roughly 52 percent of survey participants said they will focus on hybrid cloud strategies in the next five years.
"The move away from internally hosted to public and hybrid clouds reflects the need and desire to integrate with other technologies, vendors and ecosystems," said Jay Lyman, senior analyst at 451 Group, which contributed to the study. "This year’s survey proves organizations want flexibility along with scalability."
In fact, the public cloud's scalability was ranked as the No. 1 driver for adoption, as 57 percent of survey respondents said flexibility was the technology's most advantageous quality. Another 54 percent said the cloud's ability to boost agility was another major driver.
"Our second annual survey has revealed that companies are growing increasingly confident in the cloud," North Bridge Venture Partners executive Michael Skok said. "While agility and scalability continue to be primary drivers for cloud adoption, IT decision-makers are beginning to trust the cloud with more mission-critical applications like ecommerce."
Despite the increased focus on the cloud, security concerns are still lingering. The study revealed that 55 percent of respondents said data security was the primary inhibitor to the cloud. Another 38 percent of users and experts said decision-makers are often worried the cloud will not be able to meet regulatory compliance standards, which could lead to fines or worse.
Companies considering implementing a public cloud environment need to complete an IT security checklist to ensure any potential vulnerability is addressed. According to a separate report by KPMG, the rapidly evolving IT landscape and the introduction of cloud computing, BYOD (bring your own device) and social media, among other IT trends, have led to an increased concern regarding data protection. KPMG found that data privacy and security was ranked as the No. 1 emerging IT risk. Cyberthreats, data loss prevention and compliance issues were also ranked as top uncertainties.
The advent of big data is also a major issue for many IT executives, as the massive volumes of information are often difficult to maintain and secure.
According to North Bridge Venture Partners, big data was another reason why companies are increasing their focus on the public cloud, as the highly scalable environments can host massive amounts of information. The cloud also enables decision-makers to leverage innovative analytic tools, allowing them to make sense of the data. The study found that 80 percent of respondents said big data was the sector most likely to be disrupted by the cloud.
SYS-CON Media recently interviewed Symform vice president of marketing Margaret Dawson, who said the cloud and big data go hand-in-hand. While the potential for big data has existed for some time, it has only recently begun to garner attention.
"We've always had the issue of trying to obtain intelligence from our data and somehow make sense from the chaos but now we are dealing with hundreds or thousands of terabytes of data, which makes this issue more complex and challenging to manage," Dawson said.
As big data, mobility and other IT innovations continue to emerge in the private sector, cloud computing will become a necessity. As this trend occurs, it will be important for decision-makers to implement robust data-centric security tools that ensure the protection of information, regardless of its location.
Cloud Computing News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro