Though data security has been one of the main obstacles of widespread cloud computing adoption for years, a new study by data management firm Colt found enterprises are ready to put data security concerns behind them and focus on other areas.
In a survey of 500 European IT decision-makers, 60 percent of respondents indicated they believe the cloud will be their "most significant IT operating method" by 2014. At the moment, only 16 percent of surveyed businesses have implemented company-wide cloud computing solutions. However, that percentage is slated to increase as more companies realize the cost and flexibility benefits of the cloud.
Though security is no small roadblock, the study did find that companies are less concerned with security than in years past. According to the report, 63 percent of U.K.-based organizations identified security as a concern, compared to 71 percent that answered similarly last year.
But rather than focusing on the cloud's perceived shortcomings, businesses are apparently more willing to look at its benefits. According to the report, ease of implementation and quality assurance were ranked as the highest enablers of the cloud, while many companies also cited costs as an important driver.
"Whist the absolute deployment of cloud service is very difficult to establish, the trend is clear," said Mark Leonard, executive vice president at Colt. "Companies are evaluating and deploying cloud services at a higher rate year-on-year, driven by the need to be more agile and responsive in today's business climate."
Though cloud adoption is on the rise, one point that has been particularly troublesome for European countries is data ownership. Many businesses store information in data centers located in foreign countries, which may subject the data to different standards based on that country's laws.
For this reason, many have called on more cohesive regulations regarding the cloud. For example, earlier this year, European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes asserted that public authorities need to be more involved in the cloud and have a role in establishing standards for the technology. This, she said, will help allay concerns about security and ownership and also allow the cloud market to grow.